31 December 2022 | Münster

The Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre, based at Münster School of Business, celebrates its 20th birthday and looks back on many events and further ahead.

"The idea for a research focus on science marketing came about when I was Vice-Rector of FH Münster University of Applied Sciences and responsible for research and transfer at the university in 2002," remembers Prof. Dr. Thomas Baaken, founder of the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre (S2BMRC). The presidential border at the time took a new approach - from traditional transfer to research marketing: "The focus is on the customers and the companies in the region. The question was not: 'What can we offer them?' but 'What do they need and how can we support them and make them successful?'" says the marketing expert, who is still a senior professor for our university today. "We were able to significantly increase the number of projects with companies and the amount of third-party funding - as indicators of successful cooperation." The NRW Ministry of Science contacted him in 2001 and encouraged Baaken to submit an application for a research centre that would look more closely at this approach. This application was approved in 2002 and the Centre was awarded the title "Research Focus of the State of NRW". Accordingly, this marks the birth of the S2BMRC.

In the meantime, the research centre has grown to a team of 39 researchers from 13 nationalities. Already 16 doctoral students have successfully completed their PhDs at the S2BMRC. The team has held 17 conferences, for example in Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Japan, China and South Africa. The last one was recently held in Münster. With over 200 research proposals, it has raised a volume of about 10 million euros for our university - plus about one million euros in third-part funding from industry.

Photo: S2BMRC

The figures make Baaken and his team proud, but there is one thing that is even more important to them: "The cohesion of the S2B family is very special. We have an open-door policy, we get along very well. And if someone seeks help, everyone immediately raises their hand."

Acting-Prof. Dr. Sue Rossano-Rivero from Mexico, who currently leads the S2BMRC, adds: "PhD Candidates are treated as leaders here, which is something special. In the Science-to-Business family, everyone has space and freedom for themselves - for their own dreams and visions. This has created a very special spirit that makes us successful and that we pass on."

For Baaken, a highlight in all these years, apart from the move to their own premises in Johann-Krane-Weg in Münster, is also the commissioning of a Europe-wide study by the European Commission. "We measured the current state of science-business cooperation throughout the EU. To do this, we conducted 6,200 interviews in 26 languages. We gained an extremely high profile for this study all over Europe. The results were so convincing that the EU called us the next time and asked us to bid again for research on science-business cooperation," the senior professor looks back. The S2BMRC also received this assignment and conducted 17,500 interviews. Baaken: "The results have significantly influenced the Commission's policy in designing new measures."

In 2020, Prof. Dr. Thorsten Kliewe took over as director of the research centre. As Kliewe is currently on parental leave, Rossano-Rivero has been leading the institute since the beginning of 2022. Her vision for the centre is: "We want to contribute to a positive development of society and improve the world. As S2BMRC, we will continue to initiate and drive knowledge-based research on cooperation, sustainability, innovation, entrepreneurship, and diversity in education and science."

Baaken is pleased to have handed the S2BMRC over to new hands: "The potential in Germany and Europe is still immense and the need is great. The current leadership is pursuing new ideas and initiatives for this, has its own goals for the future - I am deliberately staying out of this. But I am very sure that a prosperous future lies ahead for the research centre."

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