the future of Tecnopuc
If people and creativity are the two critical factors of success in any human undertaking, why should it be any different when we speak of the development of an innovative ecosystem?
At Tecnopuc, this concept is aligned with the park's institutional values, establishing what it means to be a partner: to be a part of and a protagonist in this environment that seeks to help build a better society.
By understanding innovation as the successful application of new ideas, adding not only economic, but also social value in a certain context, the Park shows an utmost appreciation for people, whose training and development are precisely the reason for being of the University.
The combination of actions boosting the development of individuals, creativity and innovation is one of the key points so that PUCRS and Tecnopuc are able to meet the demands of the present and the future of society in Rio Grande do Sul and in Brazil.
This positioning is supported by the set of agents in Inovapucrs Network, where the Park stands out as a leader.
The consequences of the new positioning should be noticed in the short term in the performance indicators for higher education institutions. The current standard only takes into account the production in research. Entrepreneurship and innovation are still not duly ranked and measured.
“Once these are recognized, we hope to have an outstanding position in these rankings. It will be a great progress”, Moschetta says.
Tecnopuc is an ecosystem of innovation and excellence, recognized in the country and in Latin America. Its ascension covers over a decade of operations, many of which have risen through ideas encouraged by the Entrepreneurial Tournament or were incubated at Raiar. The combination of businesses of local and global reach increases the credentials of the model linked to the University.
“The most innovative enterprises, those that use the most pertinent management of knowledge, have in Tecnopuc an environment where they can grow”, says Eduardo Giugliani, Coordinator of Strategic Projects of Tecnopuc.
So far, the evolution can be summarized in two phases. The first Park – located at PUCRS' main campus – has a multidisciplinary DNA. It is composed primarily by the fields of Communication and Information Technology, Life Sciences, Energy and Environment and Creative Industry, and it was levered by the transformation of academic research and the qualification of an army of doctors.
The expanded Park – the Viamão extension – with the Creative Industry field as a guide, provides a strong expertise to the audiovisual, games and movie industries, in addition to creating more room for incubation and the establishment of innovative businesses.
The Enterprise Management Agency (AGE), created in 2013, is one of the foundations for the sustainability of this environment of innovation and research. Mre support will be made available for start-up companies, through the expansion of the physical space and the increase in tutorial and mentorship activities. Additionally, access to laboratories will be granted and the Fab Labs concept will be introduced. All this should bring economic resources for the institution and its partners to invest in the development area. In exchange, if the company is successful, it will provide funds for the University, and these can be reinvested in the environment of the University.
Without leaving out big companies, we looked for innovative start-up companies with a great chance of applying new knowledge and multiplying the capital invested. It is positive for entrepreneurs and for those who helped, like PUCRS”, says Roberto Moschetta, in consonance with Rafael Prikladnicki (Director of Tecnopuc) and Flavia Cauduro (Manager or Raiar Business Incubator).
To start a relationship with the market, the University deals with the capture of funds from venture capital or other modalities through AGE. There is also an ongoing program that connects potential investors of consolidated companies with many former students of the teaching institution and also with people coming from entrepreneurial families. This involves an assessment of the potential for new projects.
In 2015, Global Tecnopuc has risen as a new locus of open innovation in the Park. The new building is characterized by irreverence and creativity, qualities that led to a victory in a national idea competition. This made it possible for the park to apply for funds with Finep.
Architect Eliane Salvi, from PUCRS' Engineering and Architecture Division, explains that the building was designed on a diagonal axis, providing movement at right angles. This concept is embodied in the portico, which displays spaces arranged in volumes like construction toy sets, keeping the flow of information for everyone to see. The outside appearance of the building is transparent, and combined with the light, generates an interaction with the external surroundings, turning the building into a place of constant movement.
“The goal was to create a lively environment, which, supported by light, space and color, promotes interaction between the various groups of professionals working there, from whom the creative impulses stem”, she says.
Global Tecnopuc has common living areas and open innovation areas with classrooms, an auditorium and an external arena – a space equipped for meetings aiming at networking and co-working activities.
“We will not have companies in Global Tecnopuc, which will be more than just a building. There, we will have a place for interaction among all those who exist in our ecosystem”, says Eduardo Giugliani, Coordinator of Projects and Negotiation of Tecnopuc.
Research is the main area at PUCRS responsible for supporting and enabling the generation of innovative products and processes in the whole ecosystem surrounding the University, such as Tecnopuc itself.
“There is prior knowledge before innovation comes to life, and this knowledge stems from quality research”, says Carla Denise Bonan, Dean of Research at PUCRS and a full professor at the School of Biosciences.
In this context, three words can show the exact dimension of these efforts at PUCRS: internationalization, interdisciplinarity, and innovation – the three "I's" that are often used daily at the institution.
According to Carla, internationalization is more than just an option, it is a necessity. “Connections with other countries are important, because they qualify our work and enable researchers to have diverse approaches to solving a given problem”, she says.
At the institution, this has been stimulated by having professors improve their skills in other countries, as well as attracting foreign researchers to spend some time at PUCRS. The idea is that this exchange becomes increasingly a part of the University's routine.
Gathering researchers from different areas is also part of the strategy; thus, the Office of Research of the institution set up a team to deal particularly with interdisciplinarity.
If there is no one from the social field working in vaccination and awareness, the disease will never be eradicated”, says the manager. She mentions other examples, among which are the Institute of Petroleum and Natural Resources (IPR), which amasses knowledge in the fields of Geology, Geography, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Computer Science, and Engineering.
Gabriela Cardozo Ferreira, Dean of Innovation and Development at PUCRS, mentions initiatives that show the positive results of this vision in practice. The National Institute of Science and Technology in Tuberculosis (INCT-TB), for example, gathers professionals from the fields of Medicine, Biology, and Social Work. Carla also points out that internationalization and interdisciplinarity in research have a direct impact in innovation. “As time goes by, the University will be increasingly required to have a global interdisciplinary vision in order to ensure that research is in harmony with the needs of society, thus generating innovative products and services,”, she says.