One of the long-term goals of the agency CzechInvest is the support of international technological cooperation and facilitation of new partnerships. One of the successful case studies of this effort is undoubtedly collaboration with Colombia and mainly its university association ASCUN.
The relationship between CzechInvest and ASCUN started during the technology mission to Colombia in 2016, which was then followed by a visit of Colombian universities to the Czech Republic in 2017 (more information was published here). These steps have been quite logical as ASCUN largely focuses on the support of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology transfer from university point of view (see the network REUNE), while the Czech counterpart is a business development agency positioned on the verge of public and private sphere. Colombia is currently focusing on spurring its national innovative ecosystem as part of post-conflict reconstruction of the country and universities are obviously at its forefront. This dynamic environment offers many opportunities for extensive international cooperation, even on research projects as was suggested here (in Czech), or simply by sharing of practices and discussion.
This type of effort based on exchange of experience materialized in the recent webinar organized together by CzechInvest and ASCUN, with the technical support of Universidad de la Salle. The speakers from the Czech technology-transfer community provided their opinions on the support of innovation, mechanisms of technology transfer from universities and research centers, incubation and support of early-stage companies and the functioning of the whole ecosystem (see the program below). Through the virtual aula called VCEspresso within the network RENATA, around 30 participants had the chance to see the Czech presentations and participate in discussion. This mechanism proved to be very efficient given the virtually nonexistent financial cost of the event and low time requirements for the speakers and participants. Also, events like these can allow to reach more remote regions that would normally face obstacles to participate physically at events like this. The webinar provided an interesting learning experience for the listeners, speakers and organizers alike, so we hope to use this format in the future to promote international debate on topics like innovation and R&D. The cooperation with Colombia is a great example how bilateral events and long-term partnerships with thriving Latin American countries can bear technology-based fruit.
Programme of the Czech-Colombian webinar is available here.