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Early-stage researchers and doctoral students from the Baltic region are invited to develop research ideas

Early-stage researchers and doctoral students from the Baltic region are invited to develop research ideas

Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Knowledge Empowered Entrepreneurship Network (KEEN), and the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) present the online Ideas to Innovation (i2i) programme developed by the experts from the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Early-stage Baltic region researchers and doctoral students are invited to apply for the online 3-day intensive and international training, the first time organised for the researchers from the whole Baltic region.

The Ideas to Innovation (i2i) programme has led to the successful development and commercialisation of existing ideas. More than 2,000 undergraduates and graduates across 85 universities have so far taken part and many have gone on to careers that they secured because of the learning on i2i. The i2i programme involved over 300 facilitators. Most of the facilitators are coming from various backgrounds across academia, industry, and the investor community; they are business angels, entrepreneurs, academics, and industry experts. 

“i2i participants were able to stand out from the others because they had a new vocabulary of optimism and demonstrated a “can-do” approach. In addition, many of the graduates have also gone on to form teams and start new ventures. One of our outstanding alumni is Dr Prafull Sharma who co-founded Corrosion Radar with another PhD student Dr Mehrdad Silatani. They have a team of 15 people and after two rounds of funding they are growing their company in the oil and gas and petrochemical sectors,” says professor Dr Shailendra Vyakarnam from Cranfield University, UK.

Some of the participants and almost all of the facilitators have taken the training from i2i and made operational changes, and this has resulted in a multiplier effect of promoting a strong entrepreneurial culture across a wide range of organisations.

Unique Opportunity for Baltic Region Researchers 

The programme “i2i Baltic” will be organised online on November 24–26, 2021 and is based on experiential learning. It allows the participants to strengthen their internal motivation, acquire basic business development knowledge and skills necessary for the commercialisation of ideas, and apply gained knowledge and competencies to research idea development or start a new venture. 

i2i Experts/ Stars 

The training will be guided by i2i co-founders: enthusiastic professor Shailendra Vyakarnam (Cranfield University; previously – Cambridge University, UK), lecturer and researcher Orsolya Ihasz (Cranfield University, UK), a scientist, entrepreneur Liisa van Vliet from Cambridge University (UK). The cherry on the cake is a practical lecture about communication skills in both online and physical settings.

“For more than 20 years of experience of i2i I have seen that it helps to orient participants in new ways of thinking about their own superpowers, the possibilities of making a practical difference with their research and showing pathways to a future when the academic route no longer seems the only way ahead. Participants will also make connections with other researchers with entrepreneurial mindsets and gain self-confidence about their ability to make a difference,” highlights Prof Shailendra Vyakarnam.

„Facilitated by Knowledge Empowered Entrepreneurship Network (KEEN), i2i was first introduced to Lithuanian early-stage researchers and doctoral students in July 2020. Since then, we have a growing community of i2i inspired entrepreneurs, also a winner of the first place of Cranfield Investors Day/ Pitch competition Lukas Jasiunas, Ecorbio. This year we extend i2i beyond the borders of Lithuania and invite the researchers from neighbouring countries to enjoy i2i experience. International environment offers a great opportunity to test the aspirations for growth,“ says KEEN leader Professor Dr Asta Pundziene.

MITA encourages to participate life sciences innovators 

The Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) reminds that nearly half of the startups who took the opportunity to get feedback from the i2i programme professionals last year developed the ideas for innovations in life sciences. Life sciences are one of the most advanced industries in Central and Eastern Europe. For the second year in a row, MITA is implementing the project Promotion of Life Sciences Industry Development and contributing to the growth of this rapidly developing Lithuanian industrial sector.

The experience of the Agency’s consultants shows that for a researcher who is determined to commercialise an extremely promising idea, the lack of presentation skills can become an obstacle. Conversely, motivation and the know-how of essential steps of starting a new business can catalyse the implementation of an idea. Therefore, I encourage taking part in the “i2i Baltic” programme to evaluate the potential of your ideas and learn about the commercialisation opportunities,” urges Tomas Vitkauskas, MITA project manager.

All Baltics early-stage researchers and postdocs are welcome to apply for this programme. The selected delegates will be informed on MITA website by 19th November. The application selection will be done by MITA and KTU KEEN experts. 

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