The Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre (S2BMRC) has a long name, which tells a short story: It is a research Centre dealing with science-to-business. However, it does not follow the push approach as in all previous knowledge transfer concepts (we, the university has something to give you), but a market and benefit-oriented approach (we, the university might have something you could potentially use for your success. Let’s see what exactly you need and we will try to deliver it), the pull approach of marketing. This customer orientation is new to the transfer business and turns it upside down, as universities do not traditionally think like this. Yet, the great successes of this approach continue to underline its validity.

The competences that the Centre has built up over the years since its foundation by Thomas Baaken target precisely these interfaces between science and business. It is those interfaces that are increasingly relevant for the welfare of Europe as it is here that innovation potential is developed.

This is one of the reasons why the European Commission has already twice awarded the contract for one of the world’s largest studies on UBC to the research Centre. In the 2017/18 study alone, 17.432 interviews were conducted in 33 EU countries in 26 languages; with researchers, university managers, transfer agents, company representatives … this did not only allow the Centre to draw a comprehensive picture of UBC in Europe, but also enabled potential and new approaches and tools to be identified and developed.

As a result, many universities from all over the world come to the Centre and seek advice on how to improve and make transfer work more successful; universities from all over Europe, Latin and North America, Asia, Australia. Together, they develop, test, and implement the necessary strategies and tools in public research funding projects (national and EU).

The international orientation of the projects is also reflected in the composition of the team: the approximately 30 employees come from >20 nations. They always include about 10 to 15 doctoral candidates who are doing their doctorates on precisely these topics. The Centre is largely third-party funded and has to prove itself in the competition for research funds. This also includes competitive scientific publications in international journals.

This special theme and unique focus, and the special spirit and momentum and successes associated with it, attract a very special type of employee. The Center receives applications and enquiries from all over the world, which are strongly driven by content and come from people who want to develop themselves and further drive these topics. Be it first as a partner in a project, or as a volunteer or visiting scholar or delegated by their government or university. Very often they stay longer than originally planned and work in S2B projects and on their PhDs. Sometimes they go back to their countries after a while to take the knowledge they have built in Münster with them and apply it. Sometimes they set up Spin Off to further use and valorise the knowledge. For example, UIIN and the ACEEU have emerged from the S2BMRC.

So it is mainly the people in S2BMRC who make the special spirit and momentum. Here, passionate people come together, who want to carry out their ideas and change the world. Everyone has many challenges that require commitment, dedication, creativity and enthusiasm. And everyone goes the “extra mile”, they always want to deliver their best. This usually involves finding unconventional, creative and courageous solutions and also making decisions.

Therefore, many Boundary Spanners have been and are represented here.