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CIC nanoGUNE, cradle of disruptive innovation

04/11/2019

Organised by Innobasque, the Basque Agency for Innovation, a new edition of Global Innovation Day was held today at the Euskalduna Conference Centre in Bilbao. Disruptive innovation was the leitmotif of the conference in which nanoGUNE was also present with two of its business projects: Graphenea and Biotech Foods.

Disruptive innovation is that which generates new markets, in other words, the incorporation and entry into the market of a project that did not previously exist and which brings about revolutionary changes. We are talking about alternative forms of innovation that are more cost-effective and easier to use than existing products or services, are often produced by non-traditional players and are geared towards previously disregarded customers. That means recognising the importance of broader forms of innovation, such as innovation in organisational forms and business models.

Global Innovation Day 2019 focussed on innovations that currently remain hidden in our economy. It addresses small players with developing business models and technology that tend to be disregarded and which often come from people who do not belong to companies and who see different ways of doing things. During the conference six Basque organisations from heterogeneous sectors and sizes showcased their disruptive projects, those that have revolutionised the market and simultaneously created new niches in it. Two projects promoted by the Basque centre for nanoscience CIC nanoGUNE were among the six projects selected on the basis of their significant innovative value: Graphenea, nanoGUNE’s first start-up, and Biotech Foods, the technology-based company in which nanoGUNE has also participated.

Graphenea, nanoGUNE’s first start-up founded in April 2010 as part of a joint move with a group of private investors, has become a world leader in the production of high-quality graphene. Graphene is a strategic, rapidly-growing field of research that has major economic potential. Graphenea seeks to collaborate with the global scientific community, thus helping to drive forward the graphene industry. It is committed to innovation and invests constantly in developing new products that help its customers advance in their work. Graphenea focusses mainly on the production of high-quality graphene sheets obtained by means of CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) and also on the production of chemically exfoliated graphene oxide. On the one hand, Graphenea develops the potential of graphene sheets (obtained by means of CVD) in electronic systems, optoelectronics and sensors, and on the other, is developing a pilot industrial unit with the capacity to produce an annual tonne of graphene oxide in dispersion and powder formats.

The Basque company Biotech Foods, the sixth one in which nanoGUNE has a stake, has been up and running for two years and aims to produce and market cultured meat. Using a sample from a living animal researchers make muscle grow in a nanoGUNE lab for the purpose of producing cultured meat. The strategy of Biotech Foods includes collaborating with the food industry to bring products to the consumer. To the work involving industrial up-scaling and compliance with regulations have to be added the developing of end products in a range of formats such as sausages, meat balls or others, which is what the consumer will see at retail outlets. The aim is to be able to enjoy the advantages of these products from 2021 onwards.