Stanford programme SPARK provides a shimmer of hope for startup companies. Now, SPARK sets sights on Norway. What exactly is SPARK?
We live in a world where technological and innovative solutions in medicine and healthcare are steadily pouring in. Not to mention, these solutions have the power to completely transform the health-sector in pinpointing and curing diseases before they even take hold.
Why, then, is it that we have the power to revolutionize healthcare, but don’t see it happen?
The unfortunate answer lies in the explanation that most of these technological and innovative solutions have a tough time reaching the bedside from the bench. Reason being lack of funding, marketing or other important factors that help an industry flourish. How can we resolve this?
Enter SPARK: the Stanford programme that provides a unique partnership between the industry and university.
SPARK provides the necessary factors that help start-up and small companies to advance research breakthroughs. This is done by providing the education and mentorship needed to move the project along further.
More specifically, it works by providing graduate level courses about drug-development processes as well as “SPARK Scholars”—funding for project development and mentoring. This mentoring is provided by advisors who have expertise in product development, business, clinical care and generally preparing participants for generating research into therapies.
Coming to Norway
The University of Oslo : Life Sciences is planning to bring Stanford’s programme to Norway where two other European SPARK-programmes have visited Oslo in the summer to share their experiences. One of the univesity’s candidates has tested the programme at summer-school in Japan, as well.
Oslo Cancer Cluster has been an advocate for SPARK’s involvement in Norway, along along with the Norwegian Inflammation Network (NORIN), The Life Science Cluster and Norway Health Tech (previously Oslo Medtech).
Jutta Heix, the international advisor at Oslo Cancer Cluster, comments on SPARK’s involvement:
–The SPARK programme really fills a gap in the lively and growing biopharma innovation system here in Norway and will help to advance more projects and ideas from academia into innovative solutions for patients. In collaboration with SPARK Berlin and SPARK Finland, SPARK Norway will also contribute to building a European SPARK Network providing even broader support, exposure and collaboration opportunities for the academic innovators involved.