Gaining perspective in Intellectual Property


Meet Dr Hélène Mainaud-Durand, Deputy Group Leader of the Survey, Mechatronics and Measurements Group, in this issue of our Knowledge Transfer spotlight series


Knowledge Transfer & Technology,portraits

Helene Mainaud Durand, Deputy Group Leader of the Survey, Mechatronics and Measurements Group (Image: CERN)

Over 25 years have passed since Hélène Mainaud-Durand started her journey at CERN, having recently graduated as a surveying engineer working towards a doctoral degree on new methods to align future accelerators. Upon completion of her fellowship, she went on to explore new opportunities in industry, first in an SME, focusing on the development of alignment sensors, followed by a position at a larger company to strengthen her skills within project management, quality assurance, reporting and scheduling of optic fibre infrastructure projects.

Missing the world of accelerators, Hélène joined CERN again in 2001, where she is currently Deputy Group Leader of the Survey, Mechatronics and Measurements group in the Engineering Department. Her responsibilities also include leading the section for High Precision Alignment Technologies, developing new procedures and instrumentation to perform high-precision, large-scale (geodetic) alignment and continuous position monitoring. The Group having positioned themselves at the forefront of technology in their field, laboratories and industry around the world are reaching out to get insights on their recent developments. In order to better understand how to collaborate with these organisations, Hélène and her team have been working closely with the Knowledge Transfer (KT) group.

Hélène’s first encounter with knowledge transfer was as a Project Coordinator for the PACMAN (Particle Accelerator Components’ Metrology and Alignment to the Nanometre scale) Project, an innovative doctoral programme network offering training to early stage researchers hosted by CERN with support from the European Commission. With CERN investing time in training its personnel on how to transfer their know-how to society, a workshop on Intellectual Property (IP) was set up in collaboration with KT. Experts from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and European Patent Offices (EPO) took part, together with PACMAN’s industrial partners, research laboratories and academic supervisors: “The workshop was very interesting, because we were sharing experiences and attaining new perspectives from different actors on how to deal with intellectual property”.

In order to be accurately recognised within the scientific community for one’s work, correct management of IP is key. Hélène and her team have been contributing with their expertise through a variety of technology transfer activities with external actors. Along the way, they have received support from KT on initial discussions with commercial partners, drafting collaboration agreements and various legal aspects. Their efforts have fostered collaboration and innovation across disciplines. Hélène emphasizes the importance of the Laboratory’s contribution to value-creation in other fields, and the impact it may have on people’s lives: “I think it is very important to share CERN’s developments beyond science”.