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Elsevier People: Playing matchmaker with research and industry

For a society to prosper, academia, government and industry need to work together; using the right tools can make the wheels turn more smoothly

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Dante Cid is VP of Academic Relations - Latin America for Elsevier (Background image © istock.com/MATJAZ SLANIC)

Dante Cid is, in some regards, a matchmaker. As a member of Elsevier’s Academic Relations team, his role involves uniting industry and academia so each can benefit from the other.

“In many instances academia and industry are living in different realities,” he said. “What we show them – and what is really gratifying to see when it happens – is the way in which they can each develop further by working together.”

A great deal of Dante’s work is done in Latin America, a part of the world which is starting to forge its own identity in both research and industry. “Like much of the developing world, Latin America had a manufacturing culture,” said Dante, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Countries had become accustomed to the way things were done in previous decades, and industry in the developing world was centred on the idea of manufacturing goods cheaper than elsewhere, and then exporting them.

“That’s not enough anymore,” he said. Instead, countries and companies are placing greater emphasis on innovation. To achieve that, working with the research community is key.

“My role is often about helping people in industry understand that they can make good use of local research,” he explained. “When you think of the triple helix concept where the corporate sector, government and academia work together to enable innovation, I like to picture that Elsevier is the oil for that helix to run efficiently, because we help find the ways for all three parties to collaborate.”

Tools such as SciVal and Scopus, developed by Elsevier’s technologists, help identify experts in key areas, making it easier for companies to understand who they should be collaborating with in order to innovate.

“There’s a growing trend around commercial companies partnering with research centers at academic institutions,” Dante said. “It speeds up innovation and makes it more affordable. If a particular area of research is showing promise, a business doesn’t have to build an internal resource from scratch. It can leverage existing research centres and benefit from their expertise.”

That in turn benefits the research community, providing additional funding and opportunities to showcase the value of their work. “It’s not always easy to make the value of investment in science obvious,” Dante said. “When the government is looking at investing in education or roads, the benefits of investing in science are not always obvious, but it is essential for countries transitioning into a knowledge economy. Part of what we do is to show the difference that investment can make.”

As an example, Dante pointed to recent research published in Elsevier’s journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics, which shows how an immunochip can enable the early, effective diagnosis of the Dengue virus.

“Applied research can make a huge difference for society,” Dante said. “That’s something that’s always good to see. Any change we can bring to our society that will help make people’s lives better, or make society better, is really gratifying.”

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