Industry-Sponsored Research Week

U of Utah seeks to grow lifetime relationships with start-up companies


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

While the University of Utah has developed a well-earned reputation as a research institution, with more than $500 million in research expenditures annually, when it comes to being known as an “engine of innovation,” it would be fair to say “not so much.” That’s certainly the viewpoint of Keith Marmer, DPT, MBA, executive director and associate vice president for technology & venture commercialization. But he’s taking steps to change that, looking to the university’s own start-ups as a driver of future industry collaborations.

Increasing outreach to its start-ups is now a keystone to the university’s efforts to enhance industry engagement, he says, and another recent step was joining UIDP to get more involved in networking and gain know-how in crafting industry partnerships.

“The general concept evolves from a long history of doing start-ups at the university — and as it is with a lot of universities, the faculty remain an integral part of the work that gets done by the company, even after the technology spins out of the university,” says Marmer. “What a lot of universities are looking at and thinking about is how to engage more with industry. And when we look at industry, we certainly do work with and want to continue to grow with major corporations, but we have literally hundreds of companies that have spun out of the university.”

Accordingly, he continues, as opposed to thinking of start-ups as “transactional moments in time,” Utah thinks more about having a “lifetime relationship” with those companies. And how does that relationship evolve over time? “The support we give at the moment of start-up is really about getting structured,” says Marmer. “But what are their capital needs? Their ongoing research needs? Space needs in our research park, and [their need to] continue to grow through workforce development, jobs, and internships? An overwhelming majority of those companies stay locally in Utah. It’s a missed opportunity if we do not think of start-ups beyond the transactional moment.”

Marmer says he has been thinking about this approach and building on it for the last couple of years. “There is no system — no process where we can point to a diagram,” he admits. “It all starts with the relationship, then being in contact with the company and maintaining, cultivating, and growing it over time, so as the company’s needs evolve — and they never do in quite the same way — we are engaged and looked upon as a partner over time.”

For example, he continues, research is an obvious way in which the university can be thought of as such a partner. “Even when you just look at the research infrastructure, we have so many unique capabilities and assets,” says Marmer. “Even a growth company that is funded may not need to purchase a half million-dollar piece of equipment if it can come here and pay for access. So many companies who have spun out have not kept in touch with us for those purposes.”

A detailed article on the University of Utah’s approach to long-term engagement with its own start-ups appears in the February issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, click here.

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La Salle U and Merck partnership to create talent pipeline for life science jobs


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

La Salle University and pharma giant Merck have teamed up with Pathway for Patient Health (PPH) — a non-profit focused on improving healthcare quality — to offer a suite of new courses aimed at preparing undergrads for careers in the life science industry. continue reading »

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Navigating Foreign Relationships and Reporting Requirements in University Research


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

The crackdown on foreign influence in federally funded research is not going away – in fact, it just keeps getting more problematic for universities. In just the past few months, headlines have been filled with jarring stories about high-profile faculty arrests and more than a dozen major research institutions under investigation. Government agency reports are indicating a widespread lack of compliance with rules and regulations regarding reporting and internal monitoring efforts, and the feds say there’s much more to come.

Regardless of past miscues, it is becoming clear that the current state of a university’s compliance efforts and internal controls on foreign researchers will be considered in any future investigations and resulting penalties, so it’s time to make sure your house in order. That’s why Tech Transfer Central has teamed up with UT-Austin’s Export Control Officer and Export Compliance Counsel David Ivey for this critically important webinar: Navigating Foreign Relationships and Reporting Requirements in University Research. Join us on March 31 to receive a solid plan of action for both policy and real-world practice from a compliance veteran. For complete details and to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

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Fred Hutch, Lucid Diagnostics sign license and research agreement for cancer detecting biomarker technology


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

Lucid Diagnostics, a subsidiary of medical device firm PAVmed Inc. has entered into a sponsored research agreement with the University of Washington’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to evaluate biomarkers that are designed to monitor progression of Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), which can lead to esophageal cancer. The biomarkers will be used with Lucid’s EsoCheck Esophageal Cell Collection Device. continue reading »

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Kansas State forms Innovation Partners, merging tech transfer, corporate relations and economic development under one roof


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

Kansas State University has established a newly merged organization called Innovation Partners that takes a new streamlined approach to corporate relations, technology transfer and economic development, putting all three areas under one roof. continue reading »

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Pittsburgh becoming a model for innovation-based economic vitality


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

Those seeking a model for developing an innovation ecosystem that attracts companies need look no further than Pittsburgh. The former steel and heavy industry economy there has given way to innovation as its beating heart. Coming soon to add to the momentum is the UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center in Bloomfield, scheduled to open in 2021. continue reading »

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Best Practices for Bolstering Economic Development and Building Your University’s Innovation Ecosystem


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

Universities worldwide are being called upon like never before to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and the commercialization of research — and to demonstrate the results of their efforts in terms of economic impact. Jobs and regional economic growth have become some of the new metrics for tech transfer and industry engagement offices.

But large scale economic development initiatives come with equally large challenges, and that’s why Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has compiled best practice advice from six top university-driven economic development efforts in the practical collection Best Practices for Bolstering Economic Development and Building Your University’s Innovation Ecosystem. In this outstanding distance learning resource, you get these four programs plus more than 50 pages of program materials:

  • Session 1: Creating An Accelerator Furnace for University Technology: Arizona State’s Success Story
  • Session 2: How To Build and Nurture an Innovation District
  • Session 3: Start-Up Accelerator Best Practices: Speed the Launch of Sustainable Businesses
  • Session 4: Transform Your TTO Into an Economic Development Engine

Learn how leading universities have made big strides in boosting their regional economies, building out their innovation ecosystems, and getting more research out of the lab and into the marketplace. You get unlimited access for you, your staff and faculty. For complete program and faculty details and to order, click here.

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$1 million gift from Southwestern Electric to support engineering research at U Arkansas


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

Southwestern Electric Power Company has made a $1 million gift to the University of Arkansas to support electrical engineering outreach, improve undergraduate research opportunities, and provide upgrades to student facilities. continue reading »

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U of South Carolina partners with Prisma Health to drive healthcare innovation


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

The University of South Carolina and not-for-profit health organization Prisma Health have entered a partnership to encourage the development and implementation of innovative health care delivery models, medical devices, digital health applications, and disease treatments.

Under the deal, the university’s Office of Economic Engagement will assist Prisma Health — along with the U of SC Schools of Medicine in Columbia and Greenville — in developing relationships with industry partners and creating new technologies out of Prisma Health’s research.

“At Prisma Health, we strive to go beyond treating diseases or their symptoms and aim to find cures and to design medical devices and digital capabilities that allow us to restore and transform lives,” said Mark O’Halla, the company’s president and CEO. “Harnessing our expertise and that of the University of South Carolina together will help us accelerate our ability to address society’s most significant health challenges.“

The two partners will collaborate on patents and technology transfer support, operations development, cybersecurity, institutional insights, and strategic planning — all aimed at boosting research and innovation that results in improved treatments and health care delivery. 

The partnership will attempt to build on U of SC’s experience in delivering education, mentoring programs, and incubation asset development, as well as Prisma Health’s ability to leverage its clinical and non-clinical expertise  in the health care market, to drive innovations from benchside prototypes to clinical outcomes. 

“We are greatly committed to addressing the health needs of all South Carolina residents, and working together with Prisma in academics, research, and patient care will make a real difference,” said U of SC President Bob Caslen.

“We have an extensive history of facilitating and supporting innovation efforts across multiple sectors,” added Bill Kirkland, executive director of the school’s Office of Economic Engagement. “Through this partnership with Prisma Health, we will now apply our commercialization and entrepreneurial successes to healthcare and life sciences.  While this relationship will bear fruit for both institutions, the real winners are the people of South Carolina, who stand to benefit from better access to care, innovative treatments, and the latest applications of research.”

Source: The University of South Carolina

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Healthcare Sector is a 462-page book that provides a clear road map for nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit among clinical innovators and applying proven business principles to fast-track new ideas into the marketplace. It features specialized guidance for researching the competitive landscape, protecting intellectual property, developing the right business and marketing plans, getting funding, and going to market. For complete details, click here.

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Building contractor enters strategic partnership with Dundalk Institute of Technology


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) and leading Irish building contractor Walls Construction have signed a memorandum of understanding to further develop the relationship between both organizations. continue reading »

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UIDP30: Top national speakers. Timely topics, curated for you


By David Schwartz
Published: February 25th, 2020

Are you registered? Don’t miss the spring event for university-industry partnership professionals, with more than 60 presenters from academia, industry and federal agencies, including Anders Caspár, head of external research relations for Ericsson. Register now.

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Rice annual reports strengthen engagement with top industry partners


By David Schwartz
Published: February 18th, 2020

Glossy, highly polished annual reports that Rice University publishes and provides to its “Presidential Partners” — its most highly engaged industry collaborators — give those partners a detailed summary of the level of their engagement over the past year in each key area. Providing those reports, say Rice representatives, can give partners a sense of pride in their accomplishments, compare their level of engagement to those of competitors, and perhaps reveal areas where they not been as strong as they might have thought and thus consider additional engagement.

Rice engagement professionals are also convinced the reports serve to strengthen the companies’ sense of partnership with the university. The slick, four-color publication includes sections on:

  • Presidential Partners: The report defines “P2” as “a program that recognizes longstanding and committed corporate partners of Rice University.” This section includes a brief summary of the company’s engagement and a description of the Presidential Partners program;
  • Company/Rice Relationship: Biographies of the key industry contact and the university president;
  • Financial Investment: A graph detailing the company’s financial investment that year, broken down by type of engagement, along with one or more “highlight” stories;
  • Recruiting: A breakdown of different areas of recruitment and associated activities;
  • Engagement: A graph showing engagement in specific areas, and write-ups on activities in each of them;
  • Research: Summaries of projects and researchers.

“These reports have become an expected part of what we do and are so integrated that nobody can remember when they started,” says Leah Aschmann, director of corporate relations. In fact the office began producing the reports nearly a decade ago, in the 2011/12 academic year.

She suggests two main reasons the reports were created. “Some major corporate partners asked for points of interaction, to see what the relationship was like across campus, [and we also wanted] to get people across campus to understand the larger relationship we have with companies,” she offers.

A detailed article on the use and impact of Rice’s Presidential Partners annual reports — including sample pages and a link to a full sample report — appears in the February issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, click here.

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