ELTE innovations in use and up for grabs
In his welcome speech, Vice-Rector Lénárd Darázs referred back to the paradigm shift that took place 8-10 years ago, when, in addition to preserving scientific excellence, ELTE began to place greater emphasis on its economic integration.
Balázs Hankó, the State Secretary responsible for innovation and higher education at the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, presented the recently started János Neumann Program (NJP), which focuses on connecting universities, research institutes and the economy.
László Lengyel, the Scientific and International Vice-President of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (NKFIH) said in connection with the University Innovation Ecosystem program that the purpose of the application is to create result-oriented technology transfer; inculcating the business approach and entrepreneurial culture; promoting the business utilization of university scientific results and increasing the institutions' external income.
István Szabó, director of the Central Research and Industrial Relations Center of the ELTE Faculty of Science, spoke about the collaborations of a center that mediates research infrastructure. They can provide knowledge, instruments and tools that would not be profitable for a company to maintain on their own; their activities can be recommended, they are able to provide them to market participants.
Herberth Balázs and Fórizs Balázs represented Cantabio Pharmaceuticals, a company in close cooperation with ELTE Faculty of Science; their developments play a role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and diabetes, among others. The company's business center is located in Silicon Valley, California. In Hungary, their prominent academic partner is ELTE; they also highlighted the role of dean Imre Kacskovics in the presentation of their company's history.
The next speaker was Kenji Sato (CEO, Jasco Inc.), who came to our country for the ceremonial signing of the ELTE-JASCO utilization contract, and who first looked back on the past of their company. Japan Spectroscopic Company (JASCO) was founded in 1958 by renowned physicist Yoshio Fujioka to meet the growing demand for spectroscopes; among their colleagues they could count, for example, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Shinichiro Tomonaga. The Japanese manufacturer also plays an important role in the analysis of organic samples brought back from the asteroid Ryugu by the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft.
After Kenji Sato's presentation, an agreement was signed about the long-term cooperation between ELTE and JASCO for the use of the BeStSel (Beta Structure Selection) method in the evaluation software of high-throughput CD (circular dichroism) devices that meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. The market-leading instrument manufacturer uses the protein structure testing method of József Kardos and András Micsonai, researchers of the ELTE Department of Biochemistry, which is much more accurate than previous algorithms.
This software offers pharmaceutical and biotech companies opportunities to use BeStSel algorithm in a GxP environment that satisfies data integrity (DI) principles for ALCOA+.
The session after the break was opened by Dániel Magyar, director of the ELTE Innovation Center, who emphasized that an innovative process can also start from basic research, so for example the agreement signed today grew out of an OTKA tender for basic research. There is a great need for "proof of concept" type grants; even a contribution of a few million can help you enter the market. He mentioned that there are more and more ELTE patents, and about a third of them have actually entered the market. (You can also read about the developments taking place at the University in the ELTE Innovation Science 2023 online publication.)
Among the ELTE intellectual works, Csaba Romsics (ELTE Faculty of Science, Department of Microbiology) and Balázs Erdélyi, representing their business partner, Fermentia Kft., spoke about bioremediation, which is used to eliminate the burdens on the environment, such as soil pollution, with the help of microorganisms.
Gábor Vásárhelyi (ELTE Faculty of Science Department of Biological Physics) and Csilla Vitályos represented the CollMot company at the event, which deals with the industrial and entertainment utilization of drone swarms, in close cooperation with ELTE; their drones use artificial intelligence to imitate the flight of birds. In 2021, they received the ELTE Innovative Researcher award. They also created an open source software (Skybrush); drones operating on this basis are used, among other things, in agriculture.
Gábor Pál (ELTE Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry; EvolVeritas) talked about antiviral and anti-thrombosis drug candidates, their research on MASP-2 inhibitors, which also started from basic research, and in connection with which service inventions were born. Gellért Cseh, representing EvolVeritas, presented their projects from a business development point of view.
In the final part of the event, the attendees were able to learn more about ELTE innovations. Katalin Sinkó (ELTE Faculty of Science, Department of Analytical Chemistry) and her colleagues are working on the development of high-porosity aluminum oxide fibers, they were able to test their technology on satellites - the second such opportunity was realized last week in cooperation with the BME: on June 22, the MRC- 100 satellites.
Andrea Perlusz (ELTE Bárczi Gusztáv Faculty of Special Needs Education, Institute of Special Education Methodology and Rehabilitation) and Monika Dukic investigated the market integration of persons with disabilities; they developed a scientifically based attitude formation program, the results of which were proven with an impact assessment.
András Czirók (ELTE Faculty of Science, Department of Biological Physics) presented the activities of the BioPhys Concept company, which deals with research into cell and tissue cultures; to support their work, they developed an automation system that can also be used in other areas.
Veronika Konok (ELTE Faculty of Science, Department of Ethology; Alfa Generation Lab) presented ALFI, a family-friendly smartphone application that can be downloaded from Google Play, with which mobile and tablet use in young children can be stopped from becoming addictive.
Gábor Palkó (ELTE Faculty of Humanities, Department of Digital Humanities), project manager of the Digital Heritage National Laboratory, highlighted two areas of their AI-based services in which they would like to involve new partners: the construction of corpora and the web article archive. Their varied activities include, for example, participation in NAV's Easy to understand program.
Zsuzsanna Dosztányi (ELTE Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry) talked about the context-dependent analysis of amino acid sequences; a disorder prediction procedure was developed (IUPred), the license is already available for industrial users.
Finally, in the presentation of Dusán Péter Ispánovity (ELTE Faculty of Science, Department of Materials Physics), the participants could hear about micromechanical tests: deformations were investigated in the micron size range. The device they developed will probably be marketed by Semilab. They also measure acoustic emissions, whose behaviour and pattern are analogous to earthquakes.