Industry-Sponsored Research Week
Industry-Sponsored Research Management

To foster closer research ties, John Deere ‘embeds’ scientists on ISU campus


By David Schwartz
Published: May 23rd, 2017

Recent industry-sponsored research arrangements at U.S. institutions show how close some schools are getting to their corporate partners, embracing varying versions of an embedding model that involves industry developing a branded presence on campus – often with corporate researchers working alongside faculty innovators or company-named centers for research collaboration.

In one deal, Deere & Company has opened a strategic technology office in the Iowa State University Research Park, growing its on-campus profile, it says, “in recognition of [ISU’s] world-class research, education and talent development capabilities.”

These deals can work well if both parties contribute equally and if each remembers its original mission, observers say. “There are quite a few potential pitfalls,” notes Jim Baker, PhD, CLP, executive director of innovation and industry engagement at the Houghton-based Michigan Technological University. “But my view is that this is generally positive under the right circumstances and when managed properly.”

Baker’s shop has used an embedding model a few times with early-stage companies, including MTU’s own start-ups, that leverage a research partnership with the school to enable them to conduct R&D without having to invest in extensive physical infrastructure. “It’s an advantage to us in that it increases the net utilization of our physical facilities and spreads fixed costs across a broader base of funding and utilization,” he explains. “Perhaps obviously, it’s an advantage to the start-up company, as it can defer infrastructure investment until its financial position allows.”

In the recent embedding arrangement between Deere and ISU. Teams working at the strategic technology office will focus on developing integrated solutions for John Deere’s Agriculture & Turf and Construction & Forestry Divisions. One key area of concentration will be precision agriculture technology.

Being onsite, the company says, allows it to leverage the work of ISU students to develop a talent pipeline in support of its business objectives. Says John May, Deere’s president of agricultural solutions and chief information officer: “This new office will conduct groundbreaking research, engage future leaders of our industry and add to the extensive innovation and research capabilities that John Deere has invested in around the world.”

Deere’s ISU office will collaborate with the company’s business units to complement Deere’s global network of technology and innovation centers. It also expands Deere’s work with ISU, which includes funding activities at the university’s research farm as well as philanthropy, workforce development, and a variety of advisory boards, guest lectures and sponsorships.

A detailed article on the “embedding” strategy appears in the May issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. To subscribe and access the complete article, and receive a $100 discount off the subscription price, CLICK HERE.

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CLICK HERE to save $100 on your subscription and get a free distance learning collection, “Best Practices in Forming and Managing Industry-University Partnerships”.

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Controversy flares at Dutch university over oil company influence on curriculum


By David Schwartz
Published: May 23rd, 2017

A new report has brought intense criticism to Rotterdam School of Management after revealing research contracts critics say give Shell and other big oil companies too much sway over university curricula and student selection. continue reading »

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Fostering University-Industry Alliances: Exploring the TTO’s Expanding Role


By David Schwartz
Published: May 23rd, 2017

In the not so distant past, the tech transfer office’s role was distinct and well defined: move disclosures through the pipeline to either licensing, start-up formation or to the storage shelf and obtain appropriate patent protection. Of course there’s so much more to it, but the broad outline was clear, with well marked borders.

But as more and more universities recognize the valuable linkages between the “old” role played by TTOs and the industry partners that have become vital sources of research funding, that role is expanding. Tech transfer execs that have embraced this broader vision are finding it offers both opportunities for professional growth as well as a huge trove of opportunities for the university research enterprise — funding opportunities, research partnerships, and regional business relationships.

But to meet the demands of these new opportunities, you and your office must be ready, willing and able to seek out and manage them. That’s why Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has scheduled this crucial 90-minute webinar, scheduled for June 21: Fostering University-Industry Alliances: Exploring the TTO’s Expanding Role.

For complete program and faculty details or to register, CLICK HERE.

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Harvard prof funds and launches new institute focused on ‘extracellular’ proteins


By David Schwartz
Published: May 23rd, 2017

Harvard University has launched the Institute for Protein Innovation to spur research into new antibody-based treatments. Its creator and leader is Timothy Springer, PhD, a professor at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, who is funding much of the research institute’s costs out of his own pocket from two major donors. continue reading »

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U of New Brunswick partners with Israeli companies on cybersecurity research


By David Schwartz
Published: May 23rd, 2017

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) signed a partnership with CyberSpark, a Beersheba, Israel-based cybersecurity initiative that acts as a central coordinating the cybersecurity industry. The deal is the first between CyberSpark and a Canadian school. continue reading »

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Managing Conflicts of Interest in the Commercialization of University Research


By David Schwartz
Published: May 23rd, 2017

Managing conflicts of interest (COIs) between funding sources, faculty researchers, and the start-ups they create is always a tough challenge for tech transfer, sponsored research, and compliance offices that requires much coordination and careful handling. Although tech transfer and research managers recognize that conflicts are a given during the process of transferring IP either through a license agreement, spinout, or partnership, managing and mitigating those COIs is a seemingly never ending battle — and it’s fraught with danger not only for the university, but also for its faculty.

That’s why we’re created the three-session distance learning collection Managing Conflicts of Interest in the Commercialization of University Research, to provide a solid set of guidelines and proven strategies to ensure COI issues related to commercialization activity are addressed effectively. These three programs are included in the collection:

  • Blurred Lines and Gray Areas: Managing Conflicts of Interest in University Tech Transfer and Sponsored Research
  • Ensuring Compliance with Financial Conflict of Interest Regs
  • Best Practices for Managing Conflicts of Interest in Faculty Start Ups

For complete program and faculty details, or to order, CLICK HERE >>

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U of Iowa gets extension from HyperSolar on novel solar power research agreement


By David Schwartz
Published: May 23rd, 2017

HyperSolar, Inc., developer of a novel technology to produce renewable hydrogen using sunlight and any source of water, has extended its sponsored research agreement with the University of Iowa. continue reading »

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Research consortium pledges to use universal SRA to attract industry sponsors


By David Schwartz
Published: May 16th, 2017

The Wistar Institute and a group of regional academic institutions involved in life sciences discoveries have launched the Philadelphia Research Consortium, a preclinical research network for facilitating easy access to the region’s “robust research enterprise.” A key component is a pledge consortium members have made to the start-up and biotech communities to use a universal sponsored research agreement with all potential partners. It’s a pledge the consortium members have high hopes for.

“We believe it will be a very attractive feature for potential sponsors, as they consider where to invest their resources in research,” says Greg Baker, director of the Washington, DC-based Children’s National Health System’s Office of Innovation and Technology Commercialization, a consortium member. “It will help streamline contracting because the industry partner is less likely to make major changes if it knows the universal SRA is essentially a standard template being adopted by all members.” The terms, he adds, are fairly consistent with the guidelines Children’s National already prefers to see in its sponsored research agreements — and they’re industry standard as well.

For many pharma, medical device and biotech companies, Baker points out, working with academia can be attractive and cost-effective — but working out the contractual details can be onerous. “Thus all members of the consortium instantly become more attractive research partners for industry,” he says. Members are not legally required to use the exact SRA, but he expects they’ll “make a good faith effort to do so,” adding that the consortium members hope “industry partners will recognize this value and come to the mid-Atlantic region more frequently to engage in sponsored research.”

Alan Snyder, vice president and associate provost of research and graduate studies at consortium member Lehigh University, adds that a standardized SRA lowers transaction costs for everyone involved. “Companies in particular that are working to move compounds through their R&D pipelines are sensitive to the time and effort required to get agreements in place,” he says. “A standardized SRA makes the terms clear in advance, saving both companies and universities the effort of arriving at workable terms for each individual partner.”

And by resolving the question of whether suitable terms can be reached with a given partner, a standardized SRA “frees companies and universities to partner according to best fit of needs, capabilities and research interests,” he emphasizes. “Rather than the question being ‘with whom can we come to workable contract terms?’ the question is: ‘which would be the most productive partnership based on the people, their interests and their capabilities?’”

Spearheading the consortium’s launch is Heather A. Steinman, PhD, MBA, Wistar’s vice president for business development and executive director of technology transfer. Her vision for the alliance is two-fold, she says: to enable “transformative, potentially lifesaving scientific progress” and to “catalyze productive, long-term collaborations between the Philadelphia academic research community and for-profit research and development partners, specifically targeting life sciences start-ups.”

A big component is the universal SRA, she emphasizes. “It’s a huge deal for the start-ups,” she comments. “Essentially, they can go from any member to another member to another research organization with a different area of expertise. It’s easy to plug into the entire innovation fabric of the Philadelphia region, based on their specific needs, without having to negotiate multiple agreements. There are no administrative barriers and no fees. Just a means to connect start-ups with the institutes they want to do research with.”

A detailed article on the consortium and the standardized SRA appears in the May issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. For more information on the publication and details about a $100-off charter subscription offer, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO GET A FULL-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION TO INDUSTRY-SPONSORED RESEARCH MANAGEMENT FOR JUST $297 (YOU SAVE $100) PLUS RECEIVE A FREE THREE-PROGRAM DISTANCE LEARNING COLLECTION OF BEST PRACTICES IN SPONSORED RESEARCH.

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Stanford’s Katharine Ku to detail best practices in cultivating research agreements with philanthropic organizations


By David Schwartz
Published: May 16th, 2017

Working with a philanthropic organization might sound like a walk in the park on a sunny day, but increasingly the research funding you receive from a “charity” comes with as many challenges and requirements as a VC investment or a licensing deal.

It used to be that these types of organizations offered grants and little in the way of oversight or management of projects. But times have changed, research is big business, and today’s agreements with philanthropic groups present unique issues and can be extremely difficult to manage without the proper terms and stringent reporting systems in place. It may seem counterintuitive coming from a philanthropy standpoint, but each organization has its own unique agenda and there are questions you must ask before diving in head-first: Are they looking for certain scientific outcomes? What are their interests in IP ownership, royalties and return on investment?

Our Distance Learning Division is pleased to announce Katharine Ku of Stanford University as the program leader for Cultivating, Negotiating, and Managing Research Agreements with Philanthropic Organizations, scheduled for June 14. Katharine has years of first-hand experience dealing with research agreements involving non-profits, and she is ready to present this practical session that will take a detailed look at specific issues to consider before entering into a partnering deal.

For complete details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Bosch invests in Chicago accelerator in effort to build out Internet of Things start-up ecosystem


By David Schwartz
Published: May 16th, 2017

The Chicago Connectory, a new 19,000 sq. ft. space on the 5th floor of the Merchandise Mart, is the first co-working space entirely devoted to Internet of Things start-ups and tech in Chicago. It was founded in partnership between tech hub 1871 and German technology company Robert Bosch, which is funding the space in hopes of getting ingrained in the growing IoT ecosystem in Chicago. continue reading »

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Study to examine impact of industry-sponsored project-based learning in engineering


By David Schwartz
Published: May 16th, 2017

A growing number of universities have implemented first-year, or “cornerstone,” engineering design courses, and increasingly these are incorporating industry-sponsored project-based learning (PBL) in order to give students a taste of the real world. But do these programs really work? continue reading »

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Survey report examines university export control compliance practices


By David Schwartz
Published: May 16th, 2017

The survey report US Export Controls Compliance Practices Benchmarks for Higher Education is a one-of-a-kind resource providing a rich set of benchmarks and data to compare against your own practices and procedures regarding compliance with U.S. export control regulations and related strictures. You’ll find detailed data on staffing, budgets, data protection, legal costs, compliance training, and risk assessment, along with invaluable peer advice from compliance programs at 21 universities.

This study is jam-packed with dozens of easy to scan charts and figures displaying critical data you can’t find in any other publication. Unlike any other available resource, US Export Controls Compliance Practices Benchmarks for Higher Education provides you with an in-depth look into key data so you can compare your practices and see how you stack up against other organizations — and use the data to point you to areas for improvement. For complete details, CLICK HERE.

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