Researchers and students from the Federico Santa Maria Technical University had the opportunity to receive customized workshops on Intellectual Property, in order to apply to competitions like the VIU, as well as other funding. (more…)

The company Quempin stood out among one thousand applicants in the initiative developed by the TECLA Social Innovation Fund, thanks to the potential impact of its technological innovation in the bakery sector.

Quempin, a spin-off from the Federico Santa Maria Technical University, received a great motivation to continue contributing to the country’s sustainable development, as its impact on the reduction of contaminating emissions by the bakery sector recently won it first prize in the consolidation category of the Caja Los Andes Entrepreneurial Talent Competition (TECLA).

The third edition of this competition, which began last September and received close to one thousand applications, was focused on sustainability, circular economy and social impact. In this sense, the efficient gas burners developed by Quempin demonstrated sustainable potential in one phase of the initiative.

Nicolás Becker, a USM graduate in mechanical civil engineering and CEO of Quempin was very happy to receive the award -which consisted of 10 million pesos (CLP)-, and highlighted that in addition to being a huge economic support to take on the challenges faced by the company as a result of the social outburst and COVID-19 pandemic, the award is also a great emotional driver.

“It is really good to know that there is interest in eliminating wood-burning stoves from the bakery sector, and that society values technological innovations made in Chile, here at the Santa Maria University, in the difficult mission to transition towards cleaner energy. This is a good business, and it has a good purpose, which is to decontaminate our country,” he explains.

Becker also explained that in order to advance to the finals, they had to give a pitch on their business idea in 3 minutes or less. Once named among the ten finalists, they underwent a mentoring process in which the judges helped them scale their business. Finally, they had to prepare a 4-minute digital presentation to an expert panel of judges, including government officials and famous entrepreneurs.

Importance of spin-offs
“Quempin is a company that came out of USM, a spin-off, which started a couple of years ago. It now has a licensing contract for a patent in process for the development of technology,” explains Mario Toledo, professor in the institution’s Department of Mechanical Engineer and partner in the company, when asked about the relationship between the two. Ultimately, the spin-off develops and sells the technology created at the University.

However, another feature that links this technology developer to the University is its human component. “We have members from all different levels: professors, former students, academic support staff. We are a spin-off composed of the Institution’s human resources and graduates,” says Toledo.

In the same line, the company’s CEO states that, “USM has a lot of technologies that can be exploited commercially. I was really lucky to find my current business partners, who are faculty members and have supported me and given me all of the tools to develop this technology while it was still in its very early stages, and to work to launch it to the market. This is a success story for USM, and I hope it can inspire more people to do the same.”

“The importance of the Technology Transfer and Licensing Office in the protection process has been key, as they have helped us with technology oversight in order to apply for an invention patent to protect us in the event of a conflict of interest in terms of intellectual property. We are very grateful to them, and they also helped us sign an exclusive licensing contract for Quempin burners. With that signing, we made it official that Quempin Spa is a Spin-Off from the Federico Santa Maria Technical University. I am very proud to help in the technology transfer process, because there is a global trend of universities working towards the benefit of society,” Becker adds.

Finally, Professor Mario Toledo explains that this type of burner is designed and manufactured at USM, and is later installed in bakery ovens. “The burner is low consumption, very efficient, and primarily delivers heat through radiation, enabling us to eliminate the (highly contaminating) use of wood, without affecting the bread production quality. We have received great reviews from those who have made the change in technology, and there are places where we have been operating for over a year now.”
Due to the country’s current health crisis, Quempin is operating from a temporary workshop located in Quilpué, where it is developing its present and future projects. “We are also looking for new customers, new markets, like paper and paint drying,” says Nicolás Becker.



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The USM TTLO was part of a debate that involved nearly one hundred professionals from the area of technology transfer and innovation, generating valuable input from discussions on the four key pillars defined by the new Ministry for the creation of a Policy on Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation.

Within the context of this Workshop and the 4th Annual Corfo and RedGT Awards Ceremony, around one hundred members of the Network of Technology Managers (RedGT) were divided into ten work groups to offer ideas based on their professional career and experience in the following strategic pillars: the Future of Chile, Strengthening the Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Ecosystem (in the categories of R&D and Talent Development and Innovation and Technology); Institutional Capacities; and Outreach to Society.

Over a maximum of two hours, each group generated a report of conclusions and recommendations, which was systematized by each group leader for the purpose of being added to the platform “Let’s Think Together,” of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation (MinCTCI).

All of the ideas generated by each work group will serve as input for the first Policy being prepared by the Ministry on these topics. The goal of the new Ministry is to generate a participatory dialogue that includes both citizens and relevant players from the national ecosystem in these areas.

Gabriela Romero, executive director of the RedGT referred to the value of generating these types of encounters so that professionals from the area can make a relevant contribution.

“Part of our job is to facilitate opportunities to connect, like this one, in order to create public policies that help drive technology transfer in our country. Moreover, they help us share the lessons we have learned, proposals and recommendations.” She also added that, “maintaining these dialogue processes is crucial to establishing and fine-tuning a roadmap based on the experience of those that execute it.”

Ideas for advancing in science, technology, knowledge and innovation

The ten people that led each of the groups were: Varinka Farren and Fabián Celis were in charge of the Future of Chile. Javier Ramírez and Cynthia Torres for Institutional Capacities. Susana Rubilar and Fabiola Vásquez with Outreach to Society. And the leaders of the groups that dealt with the Strengthening of the STKI Ecosystem, in its two categories, were Christian Schmitz, Romina Hidalgo and Bernardita Araya, executive director of Hubtec, who commented, “the main topics discussed were the relationship between universities, the academic faculty and industry, with different ideas on how to strengthen these ties.”
Among the main issues addressed in this group were the need to promote and grant funding to strengthen the relationship between universities and companies, for example, through new lines of funding for collaborative work between the two sectors. Likewise, an increase in resources was proposed to benefit R&D collaboration with international peers.

Other relevant aspects in this group’s conclusions included promoting the development of regional science parks that recognize local capabilities; raising awareness on the equipment and infrastructure available in both academia and industry, through the insertion, for example, of professionals who want further training in the area of R&D+i; and promoting the early installation, permanence and mobility of advanced human capital.

The group also addressed the need to transform the education model for sciences in schools and universities, through advanced equipment for the development of R&D projects or practice- and evidence-based education, among other alternatives.
“It is important to discuss the minimum quality standards, so that knowledge is more easily adopted by industry,” said Romina Hildago, director of UAI+D at Adolfo Ibáñez University, who led one of the groups on the Strengthening of the STKI Ecosystem, and who also added that, “we must promote a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving and, before that, to the formulation of the problems themselves.”

Relevant topics such as these were discussed across the different work groups, generating through their conclusions, an important contribution to the country for advancing in the development of science, technology, knowledge and innovation.

Source: RedGT



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