Speed-dating produced new forms of cooperation
Speed-dating has evolved into being much more than a search for a partner in life. In the darkest of November days, 24 researchers met from KTH and Karolinska Institutet in order to give one another four minutes of their undivided attention. The idea is that this type of intensive meeting should lead to new forms of cooperation.
The highly coloured assembly room at Flemingsberg stands in stark contrast to the dismal November day outside the window. Along one of the walls, several comfortable sofas are quickly occupied by the researchers who are arriving for the afternoon’s CTMH Speed Dating. A relaxed atmosphere takes over with spontaneous conversation.
One of the researchers, Kicki Groth from CSC, points to the advantages of meeting in this way:
“Other presentations have a tendency to be more homogenous. Here the researchers are participating from both KTH and KI which gives it all much more depth. And here there is also a greater focus on really talking to each other, with more time for it,” she says.
The meeting was initiated by Erik Pineiro, assistant manager at the Centre of Technology in Medicine and Health (CTHM):
“In Stanford, they have speed-dating without any particular theme, but I thought that the theme “From patient to model” would be able to link the presentations together better.
After that, things took off quite quickly. Twenty-four research projects were presented in less than three hours, with short breaks for a cup of coffee and to stretch the legs. A projects about cochlear implants was followed by microelectronics, cancer research and information systems.
“It was beyond expectation”
Most of the researchers complete their four minute presentations by emphasising what sort of cooperation they are looking for or what type of knowledge they lack. One of them concludes his/her address with 30 seconds to spare and receives praise from Erik Pineiro.
“People told me that the schedule would not hold. That there would not be enough time. But this was beyond expectation, he says with surprise.
CTHM is very close to the School of Technology and Health in Flemingsberg. The Centre plays the role of a network catalyst to promote contact between academia, the healthcare services and industry. CTMH runs a number of different projects where today’s speed-dating operates as the first stage in CTHM’s own innovation motor.
“If the researchers find new forms of cooperation through the contacts they make today they can then choose together what the next step will be to form smaller groups that cooperate further.
For this stage, which is called Crossroads, the objective is to extend cooperation within a specific project or to join forces in a new research application.
“So far we have carried out three Crossroads, all of which resulted in new research applications. In order for the work not to get caught up due to a lack of time or other reasons, every project is managed by somebody from CTHM, says Erik Pineiro.
Contacts gather pace
Professor Lennart Eriksson, at the Institute for Laboratory Medicine at KI, has just provided us with a four-minute summary of his research on cancer prevention.
“This is a fascinating way of meeting. And it is something which benefits the contact between my own area of research, KI’s laboratory medicine and KTH’s different technical skills,” he says.
When all of the presentations are over, the level of noise rises and the number of contacts being made gathers speed. Food is served and after a short while, we meet Lennart Eriksson again who tells us that he has developed two new contacts that can help him to improve the precision of his own research.
Even Wouter van der Wijngaart, researcher from the School of Electrical Engineering, thinks that the afternoon was of benefit.
“I am looking for a partner for our project on micro technology where we have several methods which may be of interest to use within the area of medicine. So far, I have booked in two meetings,” he says.
Text: Magnus Trogen