The Unit of Technology and Innovation – UNITEC SENAI is responsible for managing the implementation of SENAI Institutes of Innovation (ISIs), and SENAI Institutes of Technology (ISTs), as part of the Support Program to Industry Competitiveness.
ISIs will be specialized nuclei in cross-cutting themes for applied research and pre-competitive innovation, once they are part of the connection between basic research and the launching of new products (innovation) by the industries.
The figure of such actor that connects university and companies does not have a great force in Brazil. Our idea is to expand and multiply this type of connection. Today we have in our scope 24 ISIs and 62 ISTs all around Brazil, which will be bridges between academia and industry. The Institutes of Innovation are more dedicated to this role of bridging, while the Institutes of Technology will offer technical services.
An example of technical service that we can cite is the case of the flex-fuel engines. The engines’ injectors were developed in Brazil, but before, they had to be sent abroad for quality tests. The ISTs exist to prevent this sort of bureaucracy, performing tests and technological services for the Brazilian industry. On the one hand, we see this as a problem, on the other, as an opportunity, since as the industry spends less resources with tests, it gains in competitiveness. In turn, ISIs help to develop new technologies, based on the main demands of the industries. If there is a demand for more efficient engines, for instance, it will help the industry to develop them.
Apart from that, we have 12 thematic networks that make the connections between correlated subjects. There is a chemistry network, for instance, that navigates within schools and universities identifying synergies and disseminating knowledge through seminars, workshops and construction of joint projects. We also have a department of technological innovation management, whose mission is to transform the provision of services to industry in a large network of technological innovation, working collaboratively towards the solution of common problems.
The “Grand Prix SENAI of Innovation” is a new mechanism and is in its first edition. Its ultimate goal is to give a first step in the insertion of SENAI in the ecosystems of innovation. We want to tell universities, companies, whether large companies or startups, and to society as whole that SENAI is now a player in open innovation, and that our doors are open: come and develop technology and innovation with SENAI. For that, we count with Wenovate, ITA, FGV, Politecnico di Milano and other supporters.
Another mechanism of support to innovation is the SENAI-SESI’s call for innovation, which offers 30 million and 500 thousand Brazilian Reais to foster projects.
During the Grand Prix SENAI of Innovation at OIW – Open Innovation Week, we will put this methodology to test during 72 hours and will identify adjustments so SENAI’s network of innovation may meet the demands from industry. The desired final result is that ideas that meet industry are transformed into concepts, that those concepts are possibly “prototypables” and that the prototypes are patentable. From this hypotheses we will try to seek the creation of new business models and, for that, we have the partnership with FGV. To close the cycle, we want to have those ideas and new models evaluated by a panel of ‘Angel Investors’.
At the end of the three days, we will have a bank of ideas, prototypes, concepts, proposals and, who knows, patents, which will be available for startups and entrepreneurs through a grant of patents or of ideas that will be presented in a second step, at the “Challenge SENAI of Entrepreneurship”, scheduled for the first half of 2014.
We want to mobilize everyone through this database of ideas, the creation of a challenge, such as the Challenge Brazil FGV, but also to foster the creation of ideas with a database of patents. The best solutions will receive a patent and, possibly, a grant to get out of a ground-zero phase and undertake a project.
SENAI will offer the necessary infrastructure for the company to set up, mainly at the laboratory part and especially for the Technology-based Startups. An important factor in this process will be the support of INPI – the National Institute of Patents and Trademarks during the GP.
As an experiment of Open Innovation, the GP SENAI of Innovation will help us understand what our role in this ecosystem of open innovation is. We thus hope to meet a demand from Technology-based Startups, inserting the SENAI Network of Innovation – with its Institutes and thematic networks – to the service of the Brazilian Industry of Innovation, supporting and increasing its competitiveness.