Investing in science to invent the future
Science has a transforming role in our world and R&D is essential to promote innovation and change. Companies and academy must collaborate, "the greater the risk, the greater the reward". Here's Bright Science's example.
From an early age, I have been firmly convinced of the importance of science in our development and, consequently, in that of human civilization. The more our scientific knowledge advances, the greater the technological advances and their practical fruits for mankind.
Science and the scientific method have enabled fabulous advances in many fields, from medicine to communications and construction, among others. If it were not for our collective intellectual effort, we would still be hunter-gatherers today, somewhere in the middle of the food chain.
But in the last 200 years, scientific discoveries in the fields of electromagnetism, relativity and quantum physics have opened a Pandora’s box. This is a technological leap unprecedented in the entire history of mankind.
Of all countries, the United States is the one that best understood how to exploit this knowledge as a factor of differentiation and development. By doing so, it achieved not only a military advantage, but also enormous economic gains, thus becoming the great world power we came to know.
In Portugal, much to my regret, companies and academia have spent too many years turning their backs on each other. The entrepreneurial spirit was also very limited in the last 50 years, especially in the 70s and 80s of the 20th century, when almost all relevant economic activity was nationalized.
Fortunately, today things are changing. The start-up ecosystem is more alive than ever and access to venture capital is also much easier. These are undoubtedly important steps for our future development. In academia, we are also witnessing a change in attitudes, with greater proximity to companies.
Bright Science: research and development as a catalyst for innovation
At ARQUILED we have always carried the innovation gene in our DNA. We develop our own solutions, fruit of our engineering, and always in close proximity and collaboration with the academic world. For these reasons, in 2018 we decided to found Bright Science, a company totally focused on research and development, something that is not very common in our country, to use a euphemism.
Bright Science is essentially dedicated to the development of technologies, solutions and products for smart lighting sector and infrastructures to support the management of cities. Of the present and the future. In times of pandemic, for example, the work developed in the company resulted in a Social Distancing Monitoring System. Bright Science has always several lines of research running in parallel and has already carried out several projects in collaboration with universities. Further strengthening ties with the academic world, we have been involved in supervising different thesis and papers that promote a virtuous exchange of experiences.
At the end of this year, our efforts were rewarded with the accreditation of our photometry laboratory, Bright Science’s Lab. This is a very important milestone that attests to the rigor and quality of our work in this field.
In summary, the Research and Development (R&D) process is not an easy road. It has many risks and uncertainties; in general, we navigate “seas that have never been navigated before”. But the greater the risk, the greater the reward. R&D is essential to develop and build a more prosperous future, capable of meeting global challenges. The path of importing solutions from outside is always easier and less risky. But, if we want to be unique and differentiate ourselves, we must invent our own future.
Miguel Allen Lima