Tec and UFRO join forces for innovation

Both institutions promote innovation and research projects to enable high-impact social and industrial ventures.
Representation of technology transfer with icons of biotechnology, physics, and informatics
Tec and UFRO join to promote research projects with technology transfer potential (Illustration: Victoria Fernández / TecScience)

The Tecnológico de Monterrey (Tec) and the Universidad de La Frontera in Chile (UFRO) have signed a collaboration agreement to cooperate on innovation, scientific research, and tech transfer. 

Eduardo Hebel Weiss, university rector at UFRO, explains that the agreement aims to promote scientific research with the potential to become technology transfer projects with social impact.

In the signing ceremony, both universities announced the creation of a mutual fund of $300,000 to support joint research projects. 

“The idea of this project is precisely to generate new ventures that improve people’s lives through research,” says Hebel.

The alliance is also promoting the strengthening of academic programs, and linking both communities with research stays for students and professors.

Tec and UFRO university alliance

Directives from UFRO and Tec revealed some of the institution’s strategic projects during the signing of the agreement. 

The Chilean university aims to create projects that transcend the university and are socially and industrially relevant in the region through a system connecting innovation and entrepreneurship.

Franklin Valdebenito, director of Innovation and Technological Transfer at UFRO, notes that bio-resources and social sciences are the two main areas they have developed tech transfer initiatives.

The UFRO’s Technological Transfer Unit was created in 2009. Chile acknowledge its national full recognition in 2017.

Meanwhile, Tec de Monterrey also has a Technology Transfer Office (OTT in Spanish), which between 2005 and 2020 assisted in the transfer of 49 patents. In 2021 it also assisted the creation of four companies (six more are still in process) and eleven licensing agreements.

“What we want to do is bring together the capabilities of both universities,” says Jorge Avendaño, Associate Director of Research and Technological Development of Tec’s OTT.

Funding for research and innovation

Both universities announced the creation of a $300,000 fund for a period of three years. During that time, joint research projects between researchers from both universities are going to be selected and financed.

Arturo Santos, Director of Technology Transfer at Tec, states that the funding for joint projects will focus on “Market Pull initiatives” that are strategies based on attracting potential consumers to a brand with quality content.

This type of research is carried out with the prior intention of solving a social problem, making it more likely to be turned into a tangible product or application versus a “Push approach” that prioritizes research before a real-world solution.

“We want to create an ecosystem that has a regional, national, and international presence and allows collaborators, who participate in research and entrepreneurship at both institutions, to easily bring their idea to the market”, points Santos.

In addition to the financial resources, the agreement includes mentoring and support throughout the transfer process, including idea’s validation, registration, prototyping, and market testing, among other actions.

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Asael Villanueva