Spin off

Mesydel, a busy first year!


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Created in December 2017 following funding from the Walloon Region and several years of software development in the Spiral laboratory, Mesydel is the first spin-off from the Faculty of Law, Political Science and Criminology at ULiege. The company markets online participatory consultation software and multidisciplinary scientific expertise, promoting collective decision-making and the emergence of consensus around complex themes.

T

he spin-off Mesydel relies on the Delphi method, a technique that structures group communication to manage complex themes. After defining the problem and the panel of stakeholders consulted, a first questionnaire is sent to them, with open and closed questions. Each participant answers the questions anonymously. The answers to this questionnaire are analysed and synthesised by a member of the Mesydel team and serve as the basis for a new questionnaire. This second questionnaire allows each participant to learn about the answers of others, to position themselves in relation to the group and to refine their previous answers and ideas.

As Martin Erpicum, Mesydel manager and software developer, points out, "Mesydel is an extremely versatile tool, it can be used, for example, as a decision-making tool in organizations, as a consensus tool for representative federations, or in scientific research in medicine or engineering. We have recently worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build a scientific consensus on medical definitions related to tropical diseases."

Thus, after several years under university auspices, 2018 was the year of the great leap for Mesydel. A successful bet for this dynamic team that has just completed its first year without any public support with very positive results, many projects completed and the commercialization of the software on an international level.

The projects cover a wide range of areas such as energy transition, deployment of the blockchain for the aviation sector, anticipation of safety risks, development of a tool to reduce stress for surgical patients and identification of key agricultural research themes in a given territory.

Mesydel has collaborated with various research centres at the University of Liège, but also with other universities, such as those of Antwerp, Maastricht and Limoges. In parallel, Mesydel has also collaborated, in particular, with the Standard de Liège, the Roche company and the Walloon engineering sciences incubator WSL. For example, Mesydel carried out WSL, for a shared diagnosis of the needs of its start-ups and the satisfaction of alumni. The spin-off allowed the implementation of a tool for the evaluation of scientific articles by a committee of experts within the pharmaceutical company Roche. Mesydel also collaborated with the Standard de Liège to redefine, with the 64 fan clubs, the missions and functioning of the Famille des Rouches, the non-profit organisation that acts as a link between the fan clubs and the management of the Standard de Liège.

Mesydel has also been used in various public policy evaluations in the Walloon Region and in the Brussels-Capital Region, in order to co-construct with the actors involved findings and possible improvements. These evaluations made it possible, for example, to carry out a diagnosis of the functioning of the Actiris Anti-Discrimination Counter and the organisation of the steering and coordination of the Brussels Youth Guarantee scheme.

Finally, Mesydel has gone international: various universities and foreign organizations have purchased access to the software, notably in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, Spain, France and New Zealand. This represents about 40% of the spin-off's clients. Mesydel had the opportunity to participate in the Royal Mission to Portugal last October along with about a hundred other Belgian companies, anchoring this expansion abroad.

For 2019, things look equally positive: several projects are in the finalization phase, with Liège and international players, while new expertise missions are already planned for the first months of the year. 2019 will therefore be the year of confirmation for the young spin-off which will seek to increase its activities and invest in the development of its software offer.
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Martin ERPICUM

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