Just taking a breath after a busy time at the 2017 R&D Management Conference in Leuven.

We had the pleasure to welcome 282 enthusiastic participants to the conference. A total of 194 papers and 9 workshops were selected, presented, attended and discussed. Two plenary sessions and 6 keynotes introduced major topics in current R&D Management research and practice.

Attendants from academia and business were able to challenge and discuss their insights and the many still open questions we face and dare to ask.

The Ph.D. Colloquium attracted 26 highly motivated Ph.D. students and a rich plethora of experts from academia and industry who engaged in critical but constructive discussions on their research ambitions. Bart Leten and Stijn Kelchtermans monitored the Ph.D. weekend with great success and enthusiasm.

During their stay, the participants were able to enjoy various social activities in the historic setting of the city of Leuven. The mix of research and social events proved to be an exciting and valuable one.

Many bonds grew across research interests and across continents. Amongst the participants, 31 countries were represented.

The papers and discussions focused on a broad variety of topics of interest to our community, such as:

  • open innovation
  • business model innovation
  • collaboration and networking
  • innovation ecosystems
  • technological trajectories
  • R&D management tools and practices
  • human resource issues in R&D contexts
  • university-industry collaborations
  • risk management and innovation financing.

This wide and diverse set of research topics offered fertile ground for enhancing our mutual insights into the many “knowns” and “unknowns” our R&D Management community faces.

The keynotes

The six keynotes were a perfect introduction to frame the paper sessions.

Ralph Katz (MIT) opened the conference and reflected on the unresolved questions in our field. He also pointed to the early insights that came along in the 1950s and 1960s and that may no longer receive the attention they deserve.

Roberto Verganti (Politecnico di Milano) continued with a rich and challenging reflection on how to effectively manage innovation in a world flooded with novel ideas in the digital era. The academic keynotes were followed by 4 industry keynotes.

Rudy Pauwels (CEO and founder, Biocartis) highlighted the challenges and opportunities facing a serial entrepreneur in the life sciences. He inspired all of us who study the intersections between technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Johan Cardoen (co-CEO, VIB) shared his insights on the critical success factors to be taken into account when building successful new business ventures out of curiosity-driven life science research.

Luc Van den Hove (CEO, imec) highlighted the technology revolutions in the world of nano-electronics, digital applications and Internet of Things. He impressed the audience with the yet unlocked technology potential in those digital times.

Dominique Leroy (CEO, Proximus) concluded the keynote lectures sharing her insights as to how a major telecom operator can thrive in a world marked by continuous technology and market turbulence and opportunity through an emphasis on open innovation and continuous business model innovation.

The keynotes were followed by a lively discussion that set the tone for the many parallel sessions that followed.


Click for photos on the conference Flickr page here.

Many thanks

Let me conclude this brief overview of an exciting 2017 conference by thanking RADMA and the R&D Management Journal, in particular Ellen Enkel, Letizia Mortara and Jeremy Klein for their continuous support and advice, all the reviewers and session chairs who were instrumental in bringing together a high quality group of researchers and papers, the Cambridge colleagues who enabled a smooth and efficient conference transfer, and last but not least, Iris Rademaekers, Stefanie Verbeeck, Dominique De Brabanter and Dani Vandepoel who ran an exemplary conference organization. They all did an excellent job and we are thankful to them.

So, we are ready to move to Milan. Looking forward to seeing you all in Milan next year. Success to the Milan team!

Post written by Koenraad Debackere on behalf of the Leuven Organizing Committee.