A boost for innovation and industrial relations

In June, Dr. Matteo Sorci joined Idiap as Innovation Manager, bringing to the Institute his 14-year innovation expertise gained in the world of high-tech development and commercialization.

Matteo has a wealth of experience accumulated working with companies, from early stage start-ups to large corporations. As Innovation Manager, Matteo has two main objectives. The first is to identify paths to entrepreneurship for PhD students and researchers. The second is to scout industrial needs that can be satisfied by the outcomes of Idiap’s research programs and the expertise of Idiap’s researchers.

Creating momentum for research impact

Shortly after his arrival at Idiap, Matteo already supported the impact of a national research project led by Jérôme Kämpf, leader of the Energy Informatics group, - “We were coming to the end of this project where we were working on district heating networks. Unfortunately, it was not in the core business of our industrial partners to take over and give substance to our research. We created the engine, but no one could supply the rest of the car” says Jérôme. “After discussing it with Matteo, he quickly realized the industrial potential of our research” continues the group leader. Matteo was able to create the momentum needed to make the transition from research project to start-up possible. He then focused on the very concrete tasks to realize such an idea. He worked with the various industrial partners and guided the researchers in creating a clear pitch and business model that can help securing the necessary funding.
“Without him, we might not have come up with a solution. Because Matteo knows the language of both entrepreneurs and researchers, he can interface between these two worlds, which is ideal for us. As a result, with our industrial partners we now know exactly how to continue scaling-up our collaboration” concludes Jérôme.

From research outcomes to innovation opportunities

From coaching within the Institute to identifying and liaising with companies for large-scale research projects, Idiap now enjoys a new force to boosting the rich industrial ecosystem of the Institute. “My role at Idiap will strengthen the links between Idiap and the industry in Valais and well beyond” says Matteo.
Matteo joins a strong team supporting the Innovation mission of the Institute, which - on average – issues one technology transfer license every month. At the beginning of the year, two new members have joined the team of the Transfer Technology Officer, Joël Dumoulin. They are responsible for assisting Joël and the researchers throughout the entire process of transferring knowledge from research to industry. “The addition of an Innovation Manager is a further step in our drive to strengthen Idiap's activities in innovation and technology transfer, one of the Institute's three missions. Matteo's experience of the world of entrepreneurship and innovation will be an undeniable asset to the Institute” comments Joël.

If you want to know more about Idiap’s innovation initiatives, you can contact Matteo Sorci at matteo.sorci[AT]idiap.ch