Who is Aiko Gryspeirt?

  • Scientific Advisor at Innoviris.
  • From Brussels.
  • Passionate about science, maths, applied research, human relationships and the relationship between science and society. 
     

The keyword

Synergies! If you had to resume Aiko’s profile with one word, it would definitely be synergies. The indispensable synergies between science, mathematics, bioinformatics and public health during her studies. Between different sectors of the Brussels economy. Between academic, industrial and hospital stakeholders for innovations in health, her core business.

A job all about innovation

Innoviris provides support for technological innovation, with grants for Brussels research projects that are conducted by businesses, research centres and non-profit industry stakeholders. As a Scientific Advisor, Aiko has a grassroots role.

She is tasked with analysing the projects that entrepreneurs and research centres submit to Innoviris. That implies a good knowledge of the various industries, as well as, and above all, meetings with project managers, whom she challenges, and with whom she defines and assesses the scientific risks, whom she provides with an academic framework, whom she helps to progress and whom she evaluates.

Thanks to her knowledge of the sector and her expertise, Aiko draws up and coordinates some of the calls for projects that Innoviris organises. They mainly act as a stimulus for R&D in Brussels, proposing relevant and pioneering themes to stakeholders in priority areas.

A project in the spotlight

Aiko works on calls for cooperative R&D projects, a programme designed as an incentive for certain industries of the future, while providing research funding for specific projects that are based on a collaboration between academia and the industry in the Brussels-Capital Region.

After two calls that focused on IT, the 2019 call for projects centres on another priority area for the Brussels-Capital Region, namely health. More specifically predictive medicine, a theme that implicates many stakeholders. Predictive medicine is a branch of medicine that aims to prevent and predict (diseases, epidemics, therapeutic responses…) rather than treat, as part of a vision for durable health. This indispensable evolution is the outcome of interactions between various innovative sectors such as biotechnology, IT, imaging, medical devices… Industries in which the Brussels-Capital Region has a wealth of academic and industrial competences.

Brussels, City of Innovators

Aiko lives in Brussels, where she also did most of her studies. “The Brussels-Capital Region is a good breeding ground for innovation, with its wide array of industrial and academic competences. The innovations in health are extraordinary, thanks to the synergies between various high-tech industries.”

Her career

Aiko has a rather diverse career, in science, applied research and the public sector. After obtaining a master’s degree in biology, and degrees in bioinformatics and public health, she did a PhD at the Faculty of Bioengineering at the Université libre de Bruxelles. She followed this up with post-doctoral studies in animal epidemiology and spatial epidemiology.

She then joined the Institut scientifique de Santé publique (Scientific Institute for Public Health, Sciensano) after which she went to work at the University of Namur as a Technology Transfer Officer (TTO). As of 2016, she is employed in the scientific department of Innoviris as a health and life science expert.

What she likes about her job

  • keeping up to date with the latest technological advancements
  • meeting and challenging project managers
  • the feeling of having an impact, participating in the innovation, development and valorisation of the Brussels-Capital Region
  • the vision on the evolution of society: science in a specific context, with stakeholders, beneficiaries and societal challenges
  • the diversity of the submitted projects

“I really like my job. I don’t spend time in the lab anymore but my curiosity is piqued every day. I have always liked seeing how research and innovation evolves and how it contributes to the development of society.”

3 tips for Brussels innovators

  • Surround yourself with the right people
  • A good preparation is everything
  • Be bold

Innovation & health in Brussels in figures

  • 23 hospitals, 9 of which have 500+ beds
  • € 37 million: the fundraising record, set by Camel IDS, a spin-off of the VUB
  • 1 Brussels incubator, BLSI, specialises in health and life sciences  
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