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Thursday, 08 October 2020

Three FEDER grants received: a story of successful collaboration between ICN2 researchers and the Business and Innovation Department

The Nanostructured Functional Materials group, led by Dr Daniel Ruiz Molina, has been recently awarded three AGAUR-FEDER grants – one INNOVADORS and two LLAVOR – to develop smart windows, photoactive inks and nanofilms for medical applications.

The ICN2 Business and Innovation (B&I) Unit seeks to act as a bridge between ICN2’s researchers and external stakeholders, with the goal to achieve beneficial transfer of knowledge and technology. Researchers are supported and advised along the process, starting from the definition of research results with potentiality to be translated into the industrial world, to the market scouting, the intellectual property protection, licensing and spin-offs establishment.

Recent stories of fruitful collaboration between the B&I team and ICN2 research groups should encourage researchers in our institute to take advantage of the resources and experience offered by the ICN2 business developers and technology transfer experts. This year 2020, for example, the Nanostructured Functional Materials (Nanosfun) group, led by Dr Daniel Ruiz Molina, has obtained three AGAUR-FEDER grants (NIRGLASS, NANOINKS, and TIRECAT projects) to which they applied under advice of the B&I Department.

The resources provided by these grants are allocated to further develop the submitted technology and explore the market sector in which it could find application, complementing what the ICN2 B&I Department can offer to foster in-house innovation. Transfer and commercialization of nanotechnologies requires high specialization in very concrete market sectors: the best providers of such knowledge are the firms operating in these very sectors. Thus, thanks to the AGAUR-FEDER grants, researchers will have the opportunity to be directly mentored by staff members of companies operating in the relevant market areas.

The NIRGLASS project, which received an INNOVADORS grant and will be led by Dr Claudio Roscini, will be able to count on the advice of Luca Venza, Director of Technology Innovation, Transfer and Acceleration of the IESE Business School of Barcelona (through the Barcelona Technology transfer Group – BTTG-IESE Programme). The project will focus on the application of a material responding to Near-Infra-Red (NIR) radiation to smart windows. Venza’s mentoring will facilitate the networking with the market leaders in this field and will allow researchers to fine-tune the technical requirements to be achieved for this technology to be transferred to industry.

Similarly, the NANOINKS project, recipient of a LLAVOR grant and led by Dr Alejandro Julià, will receive business coaching by Ferran Soldevila, Industrial Product Development Director at EURECAT, to finalize the development of photoactive switchable materials suitable for printing processes. The technology on which these two projects are based, in particular the luminescence modulation by NIR radiation achieved in solid materials, has been developed by the Nanosfun group in collaboration with researchers of the Department of Chemistry of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and is explained in a paper recently published in Advanced Optical Materials.

Finally, Juan Sagalés, President and General Director of Medcom Tech, will provide his advice to lead nanofilm technologies developed by Dr Ruiz’s team to the medical market. Specifically, the TIRECAT project, which received a LLAVOR grant and will be led by Dr Salvio Suárez, is devoted to in vivo studies – to be performed in collaboration with Sant Joan de Deu Hospital in Barcelona – to test the tissue regenerative capacity of these nanofilms. Upon successful completion of the tests, this technology will have the chance to be transferred to the industrial world through Medcom Tech.

As the AGAUR-FEDER grants, more funding opportunities are available for researchers aiming at increasing the readiness level of their technologies and pushing them to commercialization. By actively collaborating with the ICN2 B&I Department, our researchers can find the programme that better suits their needs and be advised and supported along the process. "We encourage all of our researchers to come to our office and discuss their goals with us. We will work together to go much farther in the development and application of their technologies,” explains Dr Claudia Nieva, Business Developer at the ICN2 B&I Department, "Let's write together your successful story of technology transfer.


FEDER Funds: These projects have been co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund ERDF (AGAUR-FEDER). Grant references: TIRECAT, 2019 LLAV 00074; NANOINKS, 2019 LLAV 00073; NIRGLASS, 2019 INNOV 00070.