Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Going beyond internships: Wichita State program puts students to work with industry partners


By David Schwartz
Published: October 22nd, 2019

University-industry partnerships often encompass some form of collaboration that focuses on preparing students for future work, be it through internships, co-ops, or capstone projects. But industry engagement leaders on the Innovation Campus of Wichita State University are taking it a step further: participating students spend part of each class day working for an industry partner.

For example, explains John Tomblin, WSU’s vice president for research and technology transfer, “we had to train the students in Dassault Systemes’ design software, and once they’re taught the language they can go and do lower level engineering work [for industry partners].” The software is an industry standard used by leading airlines and aerospace companies.

A Dassault senior level engineer is then linked with two to three students who function, for example, as draftsmen. “They go to school in the morning, from 8:00 – 10:00, for example, and from 10:00 – 2:00 they go to Airbus and work,” Tomblin says. This “applied learning” program can begin as early as the freshman year, he adds. “I train them — they’re on my payroll, not Airbus’s. The students are employees, and I ship them out to whatever company needs them in an applied learning environment. It’s like a ‘temp’ service — I pay them, then send Airbus a bill, so it’s different than a co-op.”

In addition to Dassault, which was the first industry partner to participate in this program, and Airbus, which was also there at its inception, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, Spirit Air, and most recently Textron Aviation are now on board, and Tomblin says he is “looking at probably half a dozen more now.”

Tomblin, who has been at WSU for 25 years, notes that after the Great Recession and the related downturn in aerospace in 2008-09, industry changed its vision of the type of students they wanted.

“Traditionally it takes about two years of investment from a company before the new employee is productive,” Tomblin relates. “Then, with their resume, they go job shopping around and jump [to another company]. [Industry partners] approached us and said they did not want to do that anymore; they wanted grads who were capable and who did not require this two-year start-up.”

A detailed article on Wichita State’s applied learning program appears in the October issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, CLICK HERE.

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U Alabama program seeks to build industry partnerships with standardized contracts and licensing


By David Schwartz
Published: October 22nd, 2019

The University of Alabama has launched what it’s calling the Tide Research Partnership Program. The program encourages companies to sponsor research opportunities at UA by establishing costs upfront for exclusive rights to possible intellectual property created by UA researchers, while also increasing the percentage that inventors receive of future royalty payments. continue reading »

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Financial Audits of Industry-Sponsored Research: What to Expect and How to Manage the Process


By David Schwartz
Published: October 22nd, 2019

With millions of dollars invested in research, industry sponsors need to ensure that all aspects of their projects are being managed with utmost care. In addition to scope of work, budgeting, and payment obligations, each project’s research agreement dictates specific requirements regarding financial management and reporting obligations. 

During the lifespan of the research, there may be times where a financial “health check” or audit is requested. It could come by way of routine request, or the sponsor may be observing red flags warranting further investigation. In either case, an audit doesn’t have to be a frightening or adversarial exercise. In fact, audits provide an opportunity for both parties to uncover issues, concerns and challenges encountered in the execution of a project. It affords the project manager, project sponsor and research administration team an interim view of what has gone well and what needs to be improved with the project to ensure it is successfully completed.

University-Industry Engagement Advisor has tapped a team of experts from the accounting firm Baker Tilly to lead this program, scheduled for November 13th, that will demystify the audit process so that both parties can come away with valuable insight into the financial well-being of a research project: Financial Audits of Industry-Sponsored Research: What to Expect and How to Manage the Process. For complete program and faculty details and to register, CLICK HERE

Also coming soon:

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Northeastern U launches Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things


By David Schwartz
Published: October 22nd, 2019

Last week Northeastern University launched the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things at the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex. The new institute will drive advances to change the way people are connected worldwide, predicted Tommaso Melodia, Northeastern’s William Lincoln Smith Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. continue reading »

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Swinburne U and IBM team up to provide FinTech students with AI skills


By David Schwartz
Published: October 22nd, 2019

With artificial intelligence machine learning skills in high demand, Swinburne University of Technology has partnered with IBM Research Australia to co-create a unit on AI technology as part of the school’s Master of Financial Technologies degree program. The ‘Artificial Intelligence and Insights’ unit will be offered beginning in the second semester of 2020. continue reading »

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Survey of Research University Leadership: View of Technology Transfer and Sponsored Research Offices


By David Schwartz
Published: October 22nd, 2019

The International Survey of Research University Leadership: View of Technology Transfer and Sponsored Research Offices includes 70 pages of in-depth commentary and analysis based on extensive surveying of 53 colleges and universities.

This one-of-a-kind resource provides a rich set of benchmarks and data to compare against your own university’s technology transfer and sponsored research efforts. You’ll find detailed data on promoting technologies, staffing, budgets, managing patents, obtaining research grants, promoting technologies, incentivizing staff for IP creation, and publicizing research achievements, along with invaluable peer advice. 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. For complete details, CLICK HERE.

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New U Cincinnati research center aims to safeguard electronic systems


By David Schwartz
Published: October 22nd, 2019

The University of Cincinnati is getting $4.5 million from the National Science Foundation, and membership fees from corporate partners, to lead a new research center focused on protecting electronics and networked systems from sabotage, hacking or spying. continue reading »

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ExxonMobil links up with IIT Madras on biofuels research


By David Schwartz
Published: October 22nd, 2019

ExxonMobil and IIT Madras, one of India’s premiere research institutions, have inked a master research agreement that will see the partners collaborate on energy and biofuels research. The five-year joint research agreement will focus particularly on biofuels, data analytics, gas conversion and transport, with a goal of developing low-emission energy solutions. continue reading »

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Programs seek to align industry engagement with corporate desire for inclusion, diversity


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

On the one hand, as universities and industry collaborate on diversity programs, the guiding philosophy appears to be singular: diversity is a clear benefit to the workforce and the companies that employ them, so let’s work together to increase the talent pipeline in ways aimed at securing that benefit. On the other hand, there is no “right way” to accomplish this, and U-I partnerships are becoming more and more creative as they seek to achieve this common goal.

For example, each of the following programs is focused at least in part on underrepresented populations:

  • Howard University and Google have partnered to create opportunities for students to participate in a program in Silicon Valley, being educated and trained not only with their Google partners but with exposure to the entire ecosystem of the area. The program has been so successful it has now been expanded to include other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and HSIs (Hispanic-Serving Institutions).
  • The Ohio State University has partnered with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to create the “Morrill Scholars” program, aimed at individuals who have made the world around them better. Chase has invested $2.5 million for five years.
  • Also at Ohio State, seeking an alternative to career days that can help identify diverse candidates for companies, the univeristy has shifted instead to more targeted “boutique” career-oriented meetings.
  • Drexel University has partnered with the City of Philadelphia for an intensive leadership development program.

For Howard and Google, “our shared goals were to get the students proximate, strengthen the relationship created between students and members of the Bay area, create a thriving community in the program, transfer curricula, and increase the number of Blacks in the industry,” says Alycia Onowho, Howard’s Program Director for “Howard West,” the Bay-area outpost which is now known as “Tech Exchange.”

“We’re very public about our diversity numbers. We want to increase representation in the technical workforce,” adds Shameeka Emanuel, Google’s Tech Exchange program lead. “More diversity leads to better performance.”

At Ohio State, “diversity inclusion is part of our DNA; we’ve been doing it even before we thought about it. We had some African-Americans here in the late 1800s,” says James L. Moore III, PhD, the school’s vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. Despite that proud tradition, Moore notes that the Chase gift underwriting the Morrill Scholars program “is transformative for us. This is the largest corporate gift our department has ever received.”

“From a diversity perspective, as we pull across different units and departments, we spark system change leading to a cross-sector community,” says Kristin M. Risi, MBA, PhD, assistant dean of corporate and executive education in Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, where its leadership development program, called Leading for Change, is run. “Many times, these individuals may have experience from the private sector; they may have been in industry and bring that perspective into the public sector. This may also bring us back to industry through collaborations, so it’s worthwhile to begin the dialogue.”

A detailed article delving into these diversity initiatives appears in the October issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, CLICK HERE.

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Cannabis courses and research sprouting on campus, and industry is taking note


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

Both hemp and marijuana businesses are taking careful note as professional cannabis courses and programs spring up at universities across the country. continue reading »

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Cannabis Research and Commercialization: Best Practices for University IP Protection


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

As cannabis becomes big business and has become legalized in many states across the U.S., a growing number of universities have opened research units dedicated to the study of cannabis and hemp. Research and commercialization activity is booming around medical applications, agricultural advances, and consumer product development. But many legal experts warn that the industry‘s rapid growth is outpacing legal protections for the IP involved and can complicate matters for the research itself.

Universities face unique challenges in protecting intellectual property surrounding cannabis created by its conflicting legal status between state and federal law. The continued criminalization of cannabis at the federal level obstructs strong trademark protection. It has the effect of simultaneously making the demonstration of novelty easier under patent law while making compliance with the written description requirement more difficult. In other words, protecting the IP that stems from cannabis research is tricky, but not impossible.

That’s why Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has scheduled this important webinar: Cannabis Research and Commercialization: Best Practices for University IP Protection, scheduled for October 29th. For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

Also coming soon:

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U Wisconsin-Madison moves to cut red tape in industry-sponsored clinical trials


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

Responding to pleas from Top of Formentrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders over what they viewed as an overly bureaucratic and slow clinical trial process, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has taken action to cut out red tape and make clinical trials more industry-friendly. continue reading »

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