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Lebanese American University taking research to the next level with a new partnership between LAU Fouad Makhzoumi Innovation Centre and UK’s Cambridge Enterprise

LAU’s FMIC will partner with Cambridge Enterprise to build an expert framework for developing the IP arising out of university research projects and boosting their overall technology transfer efforts, helping innovative research reach its fullest potential in terms of scalability, accessibility and impact.

Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge will form an expert panel alongside those who are leading LAU research projects, to present a plan and series of recommendations to LAU on launching a world class IP policy and technology transfer unit.

LAU’s President Jabbra described this initiative as “the cornerstone of LAU’s transformation”. The programme signals an important move and serious intent from LAU to advance its research capabilities and leverage its knowledge base to create real-world solutions, collaborating with highly experienced industry partners. By generating more know-how and patents and boosting the university’s technology transfer capabilities, President Jabbra states that LAU will “champion experiential learning and applied knowledge, attract top researchers and innovators and students complementing the mastery of theory with real life experience”.

This approach is also very much considered a means of preparing LAU students for the future labour market. Tony Raven, CEO of Cambridge Enterprise, said “We look forward to working with LAU on this transformational project. LAU is a respected Middle Eastern university with a strong history, a long-term vision and great ambitions. We are excited at this opportunity to support the university as it lays the foundations for a greater global impact”.

Cambridge University is a global leader in research commercialisation. It is renowned for its collaborative and flexible approach to IP ownership and commercialisation which was a key component in the creation of the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’, a highly successful cluster of technology-based businesses, science parks and innovation centres. British Ambassador to Lebanon Chris Rampling stressed that “this openness makes Cambridge University a perfect partner for LAU as they endeavour to develop their own innovation cluster and lead the way in re-imagining both Lebanon and the world”.

The joint working group will report its findings to the President’s office by mid-June with the aim of having a new IP policy rolled out by the Fall Semester. “The FMIC will translate the report findings into legal policies and the creation of an end-to-end technology transfer office within the center” according to Saad El Zein, LAU FMIC Director. A revamped IP policy comes hand in hand with the launch of FMIC’s Innovatus, an applied research commercialisation programme that offers LAU researchers access to key resources to advance their projects. First, early stage funding to prove their concept works and secondly the formation of multi-disciplinary teams (i-Teams) with strategic industry partners to develop commercial and manufacturing viability plans for their research projects. LAU has partnered with the UK Lebanon Tech Hub to develop and deliver the innovatus program, leveraging their extensive network of commercialisation experts both in Lebanon and the UK. “With an avant-garde IP policy, funding and industry partnerships to commercialize our applied research, I am reassured that LAU is on the right track” Jabbra said

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