When Laurent Miéville met one of his first mentors at Stanford University, he was told that Switzerland was about to become a hotspot for innovation and so he made the decision to return and join, in 1998, the University of Geneva where he set up the tech transfer office, Unitec.
He’s led the office ever since, and in that time saw the sector in Europe evolve into the profession it is today. He was president of ASTP from 2007 to 2009 and also found time to write a book, in 2010, looking at how corporations can better collaborate with universities. Over the past decade, that situation has improved in many regards, though Miéville laments the increasing legal complexities of licensing deals.
In this interview, he also talks about how Unitec helps refugees become entrepreneurs and reveals what sectors offer promising opportunities around Lake Geneva (spoiler: despite the abundance of banks in Geneva, fintech isn’t yet one of them).