Promoting collaboration between industry and academia is recognised as a key tool to foster innovation. As such, a key focus in Work Package 5 was to stimulate and promote the use of structural biology Research Infrastructures by Industry and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). The Work Package encompassed a wide range of activities including meetings with industry representatives, the design of an industry-specific brochure, and hosting workshops for Instruct staff on quality management in Research Infrastructures. In addition, Instruct-ULTRA developed an innovation management plan, which focussed on industry engagement as a means for Instruct to foster innovation. Alongside this document, a number of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were created to provide guidance on managing industry access.
A secondary aim of Work Package 5 was to boost outreach to new academic communities. ULTRA attended an extensive programme of conferences in areas related to but outside structural biology, providing excellent opportunity to promote Instruct to new communities. This was supported by Work Package 1, for which a range of dissemination materials was developed, including brochures, banners, and a slide deck.
As part of Work Package 5, Instruct-ULTRA organised an Instruct for Industry networking event in Oxford, targeting the relatively high density of SMEs in the area. The event, which was hosted at the Research Complex on the Harwell Campus on 24 June 2019, included a presentation about Instruct-ERIC’s services to industry from the ULTRA team, and an outlook for structural biology and RIs, presented by Professor Jim Naismith, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, a leading expert in structural biology and an advocate of Instruct-ERIC. During the networking time, posters disseminating research undertaken at the Instruct Centres were displayed to facilitate discussions about Instruct’s services. Importantly, the event facilitated two, new industry collaborations within Instruct-UK, and led to numerous new links with local and regional industry networks. A number of resources, such as event invitations (print, PDF, email) registration forms, Twitter advertisements, and follow-up emails, were created for the event, and these are available as templates for use by all Instruct facilities.