Amsterdam UMC publishes new position paper about valorisation

October 30, 2023

Amsterdam UMC has a lot of medical and health science knowledge and expertise in-house on a large scale. But what happens outside the organisation with all those insights: does society benefit sufficiently from them? There is still much to be gained here, as can be read in the brand new position paper Valorisation: from academic knowledge to social impact. The paper was written by the Amsterdam Valorisation Board on behalf of the Board of Directors of Amsterdam UMC.

Amsterdam UMC is the first academic hospital in the Netherlands to translate the great importance of social impact into a concrete board position: Arjen Brussaard has been vice dean of valorisation for two years. “That’s really a signal,” Brussaard said. “Amsterdam UMC thus shows that the translation of knowledge to society is a task to be taken seriously. Valorisation is our fourth core task besides care, research and education & training.” The definition of valorisation used by Amsterdam UMC is socially oriented and much broader than the usual “obtaining economic value. For Amsterdam UMC, valorisation means “transforming knowledge and expertise into impact for the benefit of society and the improvement of public health.

Thinking early on
To properly fulfill the fourth core task, ‘business and impact developers’ have been recruited, among others. Diane Schöller is one of them. “As an impact developer at research institute Amsterdam Public Health, I support researchers to pay attention to the social impact of their work on public health and healthcare. This is especially important given all the health challenges that exist today.” With workshops and 1-on-1 advice, Amsterdam UMC employees learn to think about valorisation and societal impact early in the process: ‘How can I organise or communicate my research in such a way that the results can actually be used by patients and citizens?’ In doing so, the business and impact developers further support their colleagues in specialized activities such as developing alliances, licenses and innovations.

Examples: RS virus, stroke, elderly clinic
There are many examples of projects from Amsterdam UMC that have great ‘valor’ (value) for society and the community. Such as an antibody that protects against the RS virus, which is life-threatening for newborn babies. This antibody, discovered by researchers at Amsterdam UMC, received a lot of attention in the (professional) media. It has now been approved as a medicine by the European Commission and the FDA. Or consider a partnership with industry in which a medical device was developed that uses algorithms to analyze brain signals so that the right type of stroke can be recognized at an early stage. Or consider the WijkKliniek in Amsterdam-Zuidoost, where elderly people receive low-threshold hospital care in the neighborhood. This concept could never have grown into the success that is now being emulated throughout the Netherlands if the initiators had not involved stakeholders from the very beginning, such as health insurers, healthcare professionals and, of course, the elderly themselves.

Fixed place in the organization
The examples show that it is not new for Amsterdam UMC to put energy into translating acquired knowledge into concrete improvements in healthcare. What is new, however, is that Amsterdam UMC is organising the activities more tightly and giving them a fixed place within the organisation. In the brand new position paper Valorisation: from academic knowledge to societal impact you can read how.

  • Read the position paper Valorisation: from academic knowledge to social impact in Dutch or in English
  • Read here the two pager of the position paper Valorisation (in Dutch)