The world is facing a pandemic that is leading us to reflect deeply on the value of our jobs. Anna Amati, partner of EUREKA! Venture SGR shares her reflections on the importance of supporting and financing research in these uncertain times.
"These are strange days, on the one hand, my working life continues regularly: EUREKA! Venture has been entered in the register of Asset Management Companies under the number 180. Our first Eureka! Fund I - Technology Transfer has just been launched and we have already collected over 200 business projects, the calls are scheduled for the whole week.
On the other hand, there's COVID-19.
In between, there is time. Time to think, more than usual, no travels, no suitcases. This time to reflect on the true meaning of our work, the challenge that awaits us as investors, is valuable. It is useful to gain even more awareness of the meaning of the sentence "we invest in people that are capable of surprising us with solutions that solve real problems with a strong impact on society".
During the time of COVID-19, the purpose of investing to "improve people's quality of life"; takes on a deeper meaning, an even more responsible one. The real problem in this case is a terrible and unknown virus, while the people who can surprise us are the ones who find solutions, not only to improve but in some cases to save our lives.
Those solutions are able, for example, to reproduce in a few hours, thanks to 3D printing, the valves for the operation of an intensive care tool for the Brescia Hospital or to make us aware that the research and the knowledge are included in the design of respiratory equipment, in the development of diagnostic and screening tests or in the identification of innovative materials capable of filtering the infective particles.
There is another awareness, however, on what is happening. It is almost in these cases, that we turn to and clap for science, when the world does not know what else to do. When the lives of hundreds of thousands of people are threatened, and there is no solution.
EUREKA! That is, "I have found it!" Our fund's name has an even more important meaning today. We wish that an Archimedes of our day, somewhere in the world, could shout it out loud, right now!
It will take about a year, they tell us, to have a vaccine on the market and still a lot of finance to support research, the testing and experimentation phase.
Knowledge, time, finance are fundamental factors in developing and implementing solutions to real problems, all factors that cannot be underestimated. It would be appropriate, however, to insert another one, namely the vision. We feel the urgency to end this pandemic.
In two years of in-depth studies and scouting within universities and research centres to find partners of the Eureka! Fund, we talked a lot with researchers, teams, representatives for the Third Mission and Technology Transfer. People with incredible skills and know-how, with whom we haven't actually talked about viruses and vaccines. It is not the focus of our fund's investment. However, we have deepened research fields and entrepreneurial projects on "advanced materials"; capable of creating value, bringing innovation to sectors such as energy, environment, sustainable mobility, health. They have a strong impact on society.
It is sad to admit that it took COVID-19 to show how fragile we are and how necessary it is to invest more and more in knowledge.
We are lucky, therefore, to be here right now and scouting technologies but above all people motivated to contribute to find solutions to problems affecting millions, billions of people. We are proud if we think that we are able to contribute to improving the quality of life, with our commitment and our skills as Eureka! Fund . We are grateful for the availability and commitment of many researchers and teams to share their projects and amazed at their excellence, day by day.