Research Day-Agro Food | Scientific Platform
June 19, 2019
In an effort to bridge the gap between Industry and Research, and within our work of the Scientific Platform, an initiative by IRI/ELCIM organized the Industry Research Day - AgroFood on Wednesday, June 19. During this half-day session, leading Lebanese Researchers presented on examples of AgroFood researches.
From NDU, Dr. Layal Karam presented “Marination, a new treatment for chicken meat preservation” and Dr. Christelle Bou-Mitri presented “Nutrition and health claims status on Lebanese pre-packed bread in Mount Lebanon”. From USEK, Dr. Marc Bou Zeidan presented “The development of indigenous sourdoughs with potential applications in the baking industries” and Dr. Emilio Mouannes presented “Insights on cider production from locally grown apple crops in Lebanon”. Then from Balamand University, Ms. Maria El Deghel presented “Microbiological quality of refrigerated chicken meat in contact with cellulose acetate-based film incorporated with nutmeg essential oil”. Finally, from USJ, Dr. Mireille Kallassy Awad presented “The importance of micro-organisms in the industrial world”.
During the second part of the session, researchers and industrials took part in a round table to discuss the needs of the industrials and researchers and how to better serve both of their interests. One of the concerns raised is the cost-benefit of doing research. While the industrials are mainly concerned with profit, the researchers are more inclined to focus on innovation. In general, the three main issues identified are a lack of communication (i.e. understanding what the other party’s objectives and constraints are), a lack of trust (i.e. issues of confidentiality and sharing of information), and perceived low level of innovation (i.e. research centres are not at the forefront of new ideas).
Industrials tend to come to the researchers when they have a big and urgent problem they want to solve and they sometimes don’t understand that research takes time and money. So how do we find synergies between the researchers and the industrials when they speak different languages? Indeed, industrials require a timetable and a budget when it comes to research. But so do researchers? Industrialists are mostly market-oriented rather than idea-oriented as researchers are. As for researchers, their time is not 100% devoted to research as they often have other priorities such as teaching, mentoring and administrative tasks. They also rely on students who can sometimes be unreliable.
Though we have witnessed gaps between industrialists and academia, they are not insurmountable. The Scientific Platform was created to bridge the gap between industrials and researchers, to moderate the conversation and ease the communication between the two. The scientific platform will provide options for industrials to help them find researchers and direct them in the right direction. Today’s objective was to showcase research to industrials to start a conversation and begin to raise awareness. The next step will be to invite industrials to present their problems so that researchers can help them find solutions as well tackle the issues of IP and confidentiality.