Scientific exchange is a two-way street

Delegation of experts from the fields of biotechnology and life sciences, Photo credit: @Christin Koh
Delegation of experts from the fields of biotechnology and life sciences
Photo credit: @Christin Koh

Getzersdorf/Lower Austria, April 9, 2018 - A delegation of experts from the fields of biotechnology and life sciences visited Singapore at the end of February to make connections in the country’s budding startup scene.

ERBER Group made it possible for an Austrian delegation to travel to Singapore for a second time since 2014. The delegation’s members were welcomed by representatives of government-related grant-making agencies and extramural research institutes.

This made a scientific exchange between both countries possible. The Austrian delegation learned about Singapore’s biotech scene and, on the second day, its members had the opportunity to present their research skills during a small symposium. The following scientists presented their current research projects: Dr. Georg Gübitz and Dr. Rudolf Krska, both members of the IFA-Tulln Department of Agrobiotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna; Dr. Angela Sessitsch, head of the Bioresources Unit at the Austrian Insitute of Technology (AIT). The Deputy Chair of the CDG Scientific Board, Dr. Andrea Barta, presented the organization’s funding models. The CDG, also known as the Christian Doppler Research Association, is located in Vienna and creates partnerships between researchers and businesses.

ERBER Group, whose core company, BIOMIN, specializes in feed additives, has noticed that the market in East Asia is booming. With its growing middle class, this region is particularly interesting for ERBER Group; it conducts its business there from its regional headquarters in Singapore. The Group’s founder and main stockholder, Erich Erber, is also Economic Ambassador of Singapore. Mr. Erber has been living in this city-state for some years now and has made connections in its budding startup scene.

“Compared to our visit four years ago, many things in Singapore have developed significantly. The state is investing heavily in R&D and is doing so using a top-down approach,” he notes. “The buzzword I keep thinking of is ‘translation.’ It refers to how the results of research translate into IP in business models. Singapore is still in the early stages of development in this respect, and bringing LaunchPad as a venture builder into the mix also proves this. However, knowing the country the way I do, I am very sure that it will develop a lot very soon. This was definitely the case in the past, and I don’t see why things would change in Singapore in the future. That’s why I support the ongoing dialogue about developments between the biotech scenes in Austria and Singapore,” says Erich Erber.