Minhang helps commercialize local research achievements

District will connect universities and companies in effort to turn academic achievements into real money.

Minhang District has become one of seven national demonstration zones in China with a strong record of commercializing scientific achievements. And to spread its success, the district will establish a platform to connect academic institutions and companies, as well as an online database to share local research.

Minhang is known for its traditional heavy industries. Two top higher education institutions, Jiao Tong University and East China Normal University, also have campuses in the district.

But despite these advantages, the district had long struggled to turn achievements made on paper into real money.

“It is a global problem,” said Wu Bin, deputy head of the district. “We didn’t have a good channel connecting academia and the market, or a platform offering consultations.”

In 2016, the district built Neo Bay Park, an incubator of projects from local universities, along with Jiao Tong University and property developer Shanghai Land Minhong Group.

With resources and infrastructure provided by the local government, it became easier to connect investors with projects.

“The district will make full use of its advantage with top universities to cultivate more professionals who can master not only academic research, but marketization and branding,” said Wu.

Meanwhile, Minhang is also working with institutions and companies overseas. The district is supporting a joint project between East China Normal University and University of Haifa in Israel aimed at commercializing medical programs developed in academia.

Among the other demonstration areas, four are located in the Yangtze Delta. Zhang Quan, head of the city’s science and technology commission, said the four sites have their own characteristics but all promote regional integration.

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