Industry-Sponsored Research Week

UVA launches new industry partnership program for School of Data Science


By David Schwartz
Published: October 29th, 2019

The University of Virginia is looking for industry partners to help underwrite its brand new School of Data Science, just recently approved by the State Council for Higher Education. The Corporate Partners Program, which requires an annual membership fee of $35,000, already has three partners — Capital One, S & P Global, and LMI.

Defining and setting up the partnership program required “a very long listening phase,” says associate director of strategic initiatives Arlyn Burgess. “In anticipation [of the school being approved], we were really going around and talking to potential corporate partners about what kind of interest they had in participating; we knew data science moves at a different pace,” she comments.

UVA has had an industry advisory board since its Data Science Institute opened its doors in late 2013. “From there, the school grew a Master’s degree in 2014, and has graduated five cohorts,” she says. Given that history, UVA had already been in touch with companies as to what kind of talent they were looking to recruit in data science, and what connections they wanted to have with the university.

“With those connections we saw the opportunity to look for partnerships deeper than one-offs,” says Burgess. “We have a capstone program we run as part of our graduate school — real-world projects addressing questions from companies and government organizations. Students are put together on teams, and it’s been highly effective, but we also found that those projects were one-offs. Companies we have worked with a lot want to know how to develop something that will help them get a really strong foundation they can grow on, and Corporate Partners grew out of that.”

Industry partners in the data sciences, says Burgess, are looking for a talent pipeline, as graduates in this field are in great demand. “They’re also looking for upscaling, executive education for employees, and brand recognition,” she adds. “They want students and faculty to know they do this data science stuff and are excited about it, and that they’re looking to find ways and places for research programs partnered with academia. This partnership program gets us talking about things that are boiling up to the top.”

With a significant price tag of $35K, it’s naturally critical to outline exactly what the industry partner can expect to get for the investment. UVA spells it out with a detailed list posted on its website. “It outlines the things you get,” says Burgess. “Corporate partners want to establish that baseline and look for the opportunity to build off that base.”

The $35,000 fee is annual, she says, and is intended to initiate a number of conversations with, for example, the UVA career team. The engagement team also offers an updated resume book every quarter, so the partners know about talent available to establish a recruitment pipeline. Partners also get input into professional continuing education, as well as branding opportunities via social media and on the UVA website. In addition, partners are given priority to engage in school events, such a “Datapalooza” and “Women in Data Science.”

A detailed article on the UVA Corporate Partners program appears in the October issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE to save $100 on your subscription to University-Industry Engagement Advisor!

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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