Scientific Software: A Way for getting it to Market
- Software developed in science offers added value not only for other research institutes, but also for industrial usage. The project "SoftWert – Method kit for the Exploitation of Scientific Software" fundedy by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), DESY is working together with the Helmholtz Centre DZNE, the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ and the Saarland University to develop a modular method kit for the transfer of scientific software.
Development of a method kit for the exploitation of scientific software
- The development of software solutions in research is becoming increasingly important, especially regarding the increasing digitalization. Software developed in science does not only offer added value for the own research institution, but also for use outside of it. However, the distribution and use of software is often subject to a wide range of legal and ethical requirements, which makes transfer considerably more difficult. A lot of potential from developed software is thus lost and cannot be sufficiently exploited.
- In this context, the project "SoftWert – Method kit for the Exploitation of Scientific Software”, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), was launched. In cooperation with the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and Saarland University, DESY is developing a method kit for the transfer of scientific software from basic research to other research centers and application areas within research, but also to industry.
- In order to simplify the transfer of scientific software and guide scientists through the jungle of an increasing number of regulations (e.g. licensing laws, open source licenses and their compatibility, software patenting), the project aims to create methods, guidelines and strategies for software developers and transfer officers. New software solutions are to be designed systematically by developers in research from the very beginning and in accordance with the necessary legal requirements.
In order to transfer innovations from research successfully to industry and society, market acceptance and scalability are crucial. To ensure these, it is critical to have close collaboration with the industry from the early stages of a new technology's development. HI-ACTS networks stakeholders closely and early on to building trust, and sharing knowledge and competencies - which include market needs, technical performance parameters, and user interface. Through joint engagement, HI-ACTS aims to influence the shortening of "time-to-market" visibly. Many companies are already on board and the platform is open to the inclusion of other interested companies, experts or intermediaries.
Integrated "labs" - the combined expertise of all partners on a specific topic - develop processes to increase the "Technology Readiness Level" of an innovation, shorten "time-to-market" cycles, and thus close the gap between industrial implementation or participation and private investment. Focusing to work on technological and analytical solutions should facilitate the use of accelerators for industrial needs. In this case, the focus is cross-cutting fields, such as machine learning and the development of compact accelerators for industrial or clinical needs.
Accelerator technologies are used in industrial research (for example, drug development), in quality management (for example, microelectronics), or as a separate product (for example, in medicine or radionuclide production). Meeting the industrial quality and certification standards is a must for routine usage. HI-ACTS will develop a concept of what such standards should look like, and how they can be established. The platform will implement concrete activities in this field. Another goal is to build up knowledge on both sides about the highly complex systems and industrial needs and to establish a visible Helmholtz "single-access-point" for requests and services coming from outside of science.
HI-ACTS is to become the national "single entry point" for all inquiries from outside the scientific community. The Helmholtz partners are joining forces to bundle such requests, and find quick and suitable solutions. Commercial services for accelerator facilities will be jointly professionalized and further developed. These developments will also include training, to reduce barriers of information and knowledge.
A common brand-core, a strong and target-group oriented Internet presence, and further professional activities in marketing and communication support the presence and relevance of the national accelerator facilities in the industrial context. It is necessary to have contemporary human resources management that meets the increased demands of activities to develop and retain highly qualified talents. The platform will initiate a structured exchange between the HR departments of the corporate and Helmholtz partners to jointly develop and design contemporary career paths at the interface between science, industry, and medicine.