3. The great debate: how to bring research to life
On the final day of this B·Debate, there was a free wrap-up session open to the public, discussing the importance of transferring this research to everyday life and how to do so.
"We have the tools, we already have very good biological products: why aren’t we already manufacturing them on a large scale?" asked Hannele Tuominen at this debate.
For van Vuure ─at least in the field of biomaterials─ it is a question of markets, because they are "highly conservative. It takes years for people to become familiar with the new product and generate demand for it."
– "But isn't that in part due to price?" responded Tuominen.
- "I don’t think so. I think it’s more a question of education. In fact, agriculture prices are more stable than oil prices, which is what most current technology is based on."
According to Núria Sánchez Coll, CRAG researcher and one of the scientific leaders of this B·Debate along with L. Maria Lois , "There is a problem. In the laboratory, it seems like the applications we are working on are very far off." Tuominen doesn’t think that is so important. The “line between basic and applied research is artificial: you never know what can be applied.” However, participants in general referred to the gap between researchers and industry. In this regard, Federico Witt recognized that the industry "resolves specific problems, but basic researchers won't change the line of research to offer it to a company."
"As scientists we have to take responsibility for calling attention to what we do, even in the media”
Tuominen brought up another problem: isolationism. “It seems like research is more concerned about biomedical issues: as scientists we have to take responsibility for calling attention to what we do, even in the media.”