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Cambridge Enterprise partners IP build-out at Lebanese American University





Lebanese American University start-up team at the Fouad Makhzoumi Innovation Centre
Lebanese American University start-up team at the Fouad Makhzoumi Innovation Centre

The Lebanese American University (LAU) is partnering with Cambridge Enterprise to build an expert framework for developing the IP arising out of university research projects.

The commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge will form an expert panel alongside those leading LAU research projects “to present a plan and series of recommendations to LAU on launching a world class IP policy and technology transfer unit”.

“The primary driver for this project is that of knowledge exchange,” said Brian Corbett, the Cambridge Enterprise associate heading the project in Cambridge. “The International Outreach Programme at Cambridge Enterprise has been running for around 10 years now and its objective is to share the knowledge and experience of University of Cambridge’s research commercialisation activities with institutions in other countries, and especially where those countries are endeavouring to evolve a knowledge-based economy. Any secondary benefits such as research collaborations and IP sharing will be a bonus.”

The partnership offers a great opportunity for the university’s students. In a country which is currently struggling with an unprecedented economic and social crisis, empowering students and setting them on their entrepreneurship journey offers a road map to global markets.

Speaking of the development, Saad El Zein, director of LAU’s Fouad Makhzoumi Innovation Centre (FMIC), said: “The Lebanese American University is the second ranking university in Lebanon and is highly ranked worldwide,” says Saad. “There are seven different schools on two campuses - in Beirut and Byblos - including medical, architecture, engineering and business. We also have a headquarters in Manhattan, New York.

At the Lebanese American University from left are Saad el Zein, director of LAU’s Fouad Makhzoumi Innovation Centre; May Makhzoumi, president of the Makhzoumi Foundation; Dr George Nasr, LAU provost; Dr Barbar Akle, LAU associate professor /LAU assistant provost for strategic planning and special projects and Nadim Zaazaa, CEO of UK Lebanon Tech Hub
At the Lebanese American University from left are Saad el Zein, director of LAU’s Fouad Makhzoumi Innovation Centre; May Makhzoumi, president of the Makhzoumi Foundation; Dr George Nasr, LAU provost; Dr Barbar Akle, LAU associate professor /LAU assistant provost for strategic planning and special projects and Nadim Zaazaa, CEO of UK Lebanon Tech Hub

“The partnership with Cambridge Enterprise is about empowering students and, where they have ideas for start-ups, to set them on their entrepreneurship journey. It’s an incubator and an accelerator. The faculty has the option to turn applied research into viable solutions and commercial businesses. It exists to support the economy and provide the opportunity to grow through a seed culture of innovation for all stakeholders.

“We support transformation - we know that IP and patents are very important. The LAU didn’t have a very solid IP/patent policy and there was no advanced ecosystem. Change is needed and that meant having a partner with a strong track record and knowledge, and that’s where Cambridge Enterprise came in.”

The university initially has five teams of students participating in the project – in entertainment, healthcare, two in education and one in retail.

“These teams – our first batch – have presented their ideas, gone through training guidance workshops and boot camps plus the proof of concept stage,” says Saad. “The journey is for six to nine months. We might invest in some, others will fly on their own.

“The FMIC will translate the report findings into legal policies and the creation of an end-to-end technology transfer office within the centre.”

LAU’s President Jabbra described the initiative as “the cornerstone of LAU’s transformation”.

Tony Raven, CEO of Cambridge Enterprise, said: “We look forward to working with LAU on this transformational project. LAU is a respected Middle Eastern university with a strong history, a long-term vision and great ambitions.

“We are excited at this opportunity to support the university as it lays the foundations for a greater global impact.”



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