Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Marquette employs structured plan in launch of corporate engagement office


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

It takes much more than a demonstrated need and a strong commitment to successfully pursue the creation of a new Office of Corporate Engagement — or to revamp an existing one, for that matter. As Marquette University has demonstrated, it takes a carefully structured plan — one that will not only lead to successful implementation, but will also lay the foundation for this, or any such office, to succeed in its mission.

“As a campus, we had a number of different colleges and business units engaged with industry partnerships for many years,” recalls Kristina M. Ropella, PhD, Dean of the College of Engineering. “But there wasn’t a lot communication between them, so sometimes we’d miss even bigger opportunities for working with the same companies — or even larger ones. We needed to be centralized to be the lens of the entire situation and see those opportunities.”

Accordingly, she says, the university president commissioned a task force in 2017 “to look at the situation, what the role of an office of corporate engagement would be, and how it would benefit the university.” They ultimately developed a strategic plan that outlined what they refer to as “unboundaries.”

The task force, says Ropella, involved 70 individuals across the campus, as well as corporate partners. “There was a smaller steering group, as well as a number of smaller working groups to look at what would be needed out of the office,” she adds. The steering group had “about a dozen” members, she says, and was comprised of the different colleges, corporate partners, and “one or two” trustees.

The smaller groups explored and discussed the ways in which the university interacted with industry in a variety of key areas:

  • Academic programs and executive education
  • Talent development
  • Corporate sponsored research
  • Technology transfer
  • Consortia and alliances
  • Corporate philanthropy and sponsorship
  • Contracts and service partnerships.

“We thought of all the ways in which we interacted and pulled faculty, staff, and corporate representatives into each of the groups,” Ropella says. “Each of them was given a couple of months to do a SWAT analysis and examine best practices and make recommendations for how the new office might best support existing activities and build on new opportunities.”

Task force members traveled to other universities for fact finding and benchmarking, she continues. “Some of them were centralized, while others were not,” Ropella shares. “We then considered the ones we thought did a really good job in corporate engagement and in the things that challenged our campus.”

How Marquette adapted the best practices it discovered — and how it chose to organize the new office — can be instructive to any university involved in industry engagement. “There were lots of reports, but we came out with the idea that while we needed some centralized functions, we also needed for some to be decentralized — not necessarily one or the other,” says Ropella. “There was value in some colleges being decentralized in some areas of industry engagement — maybe in the different types of jobs students get, or in research — but there was also overlap in customer relations, software, sponsorships, and career fairs. Those services are better managed centrally.”

A detailed article on Marquette’s new corporate engagement office appears in the August issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, CLICK HERE.

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Academia cautions FBI not to “violate norms of due process” in monitoring Chinese scientists


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

Twenty-two higher education associations and rights groups today have released a statement in response to a push by the FBI, the NIH, and other government officials to monitor Chinese scholars working at U.S. universities. continue reading »

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Creating Win-Win Incentive Plans for Tech Transfer Staff: The Emory University Model


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

While incentive and bonus plans have become more commonplace in TTOs, they are still the exception rather than the rule, and those who have implemented such plans have looked to Emory University for guidance and best practice advice.

Emory’s plan was designed to further motivate the OTT staff to support faculty development of marketable technology with the goal of increased licensing revenue. The metrics and weighting have been adjusted some over the years to ensure performance milestones are met before a pay-out can occur, but the results have been, and continue to be, a slam-dunk winner for the staff and the university.

That’s why Tech Transfer Central, in partnership with Todd Sherer, PhD, Emory’s Associate Vice President for Research and Executive Director for the Office of Technology, has scheduled this insightful and detailed webinar: Creating Win-Win Incentive Plans for Tech Transfer Staff: The Emory University Model, scheduled for September 12th. For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

Also coming soon:

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Harvard and Merck collaborating to discover new immuno-oncology targets  


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

Harvard University and Merck are launching a collaboration that will provide research funding for up to four years to support immuno-oncology research led by Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD, at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Sharpe, who chairs the HMS Department of Immunology, will collaborate with researchers at Merck on a major project aiming to discover novel aspects of the immune system that could be targeted in cancer treatment. continue reading »

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APLU designates U Mississippi an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

The University of Mississippi has been recognized for its leadership in fostering economic growth, prosperity and innovation by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The APLU named Ole Miss an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University, a designation that recognizes the university’s commitment to economic engagement and its work with public and private sector partners.

“The Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation validates the key role that UM is playing as a leader in innovation and economic engagement,” said William Nicholas, director of economic development. “We are committed to working alongside entrepreneurs, industry leaders and government officials as an engine of economic opportunity.”

The university became one of just 60 schools to achieve the APLU recognition after an application process that includes an extensive self-study. Nicholas, along with Allyson Best, director of the UM Office of Technology Commercialization, co-chaired a 10-person steering committee formed from the offices of Development, Diversity and Community Engagement, Information Technology, Marketing and Communications, Technology Commercialization and Insight Park, the university research park. The committee met regularly to provide overall guidance and evaluation of the university’s self-study in economic engagement activities.

“The university is committed to turning discoveries into jobs and companies,” Best said. “Part of our mission includes growing economic prosperity including providing opportunities for the people of Mississippi and beyond through excellence in learning, discovery, health care and engagement.”

Industry engagement is a big part of the school’s focus. “We are establishing partnerships and providing support to business and industry in the state and Mid-South region with an eye toward spurring growth,” said Josh Gladden, vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs. “This designation will help Ole Miss grow and strengthen our activities and partnerships which foster economic prosperity in the state through both research and innovation as well as experiential education opportunities for our students”

Among highlights of its activity is the university’s Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Initiative at the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, which works to increase entrepreneurship and promote economic development in rural communities. Ole Miss is also home to a The Innovation Hub at Insight Park, a 62,000-square-foot building that serves as the gateway for Insight Park and offers custom space, shared equipment and flexible leasing agreements. It fosters industry engagement, collaborative research and student internships with partner companies.

Source: University of Mississippi News

Just published: The Tech Transfer Book of Best Practices, jam-packed with more than 700 pages of proven strategies, case studies, and expert guidance. For complete details, CLICK HERE.

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UPenn in partnership with AC Immune to research neurodegenerative disease target


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

Swiss biopharma company AC Immune SA has signed onto a partnership with leading scientists in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania focused on studying the pathological mechanisms of a specific protein seen as a potential target for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. continue reading »

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Yale teams up with CureVac to develop mRNA-based lung therapies


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

Yale University has inked a Collaboration Research Agreement with Germany-based CureVac focused on developing therapies for lung diseases. continue reading »

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Trends in Invention Disclosure Report Filings: International Survey of Engineering Faculty & Administration


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

This one-of-a-kind resource provides a rich set of benchmarks and data to compare your program’s invention disclosure filings with 50 university engineering programs worldwide. With this all-new report you’ll find detailed data on the percentage of faculty and staff who have ever filed an invention disclosure report, the number filed in the past two years, and the expected number of filings in the next two years.

Trends in Invention Disclosure Report Filings also presents data on the catalyst for invention disclosure report filings, pinpointing influences such as professors and colleagues, technology transfer administrators, and other influencers. 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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Alfred U and START-UP NY partner with energy storage and generation company


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

Alfred University is partnering with MicroEra Power, Inc., which is slated to become the first START-UP NY firm to be located at the AHEAD Energy facility at Metro Park in Rochester. continue reading »

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UC-Davis enters corporate partnership for cannabis research


By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

The University of California, Davis is partnering with a federally approved pharma company “to analyze the chemical and biological profiles of cannabis for the benefit of law enforcement, health care providers and scientific professionals,” the school announced. continue reading »

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Emory takes novel approach to engaging industry in “living lab”


By David Schwartz
Published: August 12th, 2019

The Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub is certainly not the first example of a major healthcare center launching an ambitious undertaking in the pursuit of innovative healthcare solutions, but its leadership insists its approach is nevertheless unique.

A lot of medical centers have set up institutes and other different structures, but what we envisioned was a real novel approach,” says Will ElLaissi, managing director of the Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub. “Even though we had great faculty and staff and a very robust clinical staff, it was not enough to develop and scale healthcare innovation. That need existed but was not created before standing up a hub that brought industry to the table as partners in an innovation ecosystem with us.”

Industry partners, he notes, have the resources to not only build things, but to build them the right way. “We’ve run into a lot of opportunities where we might have been able to get a couple of pilot projects off the ground, but when we wanted to get to scale we’ve always run into problems if we did not have the robustness of industry at the table. They have the scale and different channel plays to help reach market potential,” he explains.

Industry partners that help comprise the hub’s “ecosystem” include Konica Minolta Healthcare, Novo Nordisk, Royal Philips, Stryker, and Sharecare, a digital health company that was the first industry partner in the innovation hub.

All of the other assets of the ecosystem are incorporated into Emory, says James Lewis, CEO of 11/TEN Innovation Partners, whose Demand Driven Innovation™ model “helps identify improvement opportunities through the eyes of the user,” according to Emory. The Emory system, Lewis notes, “includes a school of public health and all of the other schools and academic centers, medicine, and other surrounding institutions like the CDC.”

The “full-blown” ecosystem, if you will, “is made up of user-experienced researchers, solution designers and systems integrators, as well as strategists and VCs who can create the entire perspective for not only how to design and develop solutions, but also how to commercialize them,” says Lewis. “If you think about that talent and link it with the clinical and research resources of Emory and the expertise of our partners, that is the efficient ecosystem that we refer to.”

“From our side, our desires and needs very much mirror what Emory wants to accomplish,” adds Kirsten Doerfert, senior vice president of Konica Minolta Healthcare. “We want to develop new solutions to solve real problems in the world and also make them scalable, to take them out of our institution and [see them] scaled across entire healthcare system.”

Doerfert says that looking at what Emory offered in the hub gave Konica that ability. “Ours is a world-class company collaborating with a world-class healthcare enterprise that’s so much more than just a hospital or a clinic,” she notes. “It’s an opportunity to collaborate, and to drive and validate solutions.”

The other attraction, she says, was the ability to collaborate with the other industry partners Emory was bringing in. “We can jointly solve problems we might not individually solve or recognize,” she says. “The magnitude of problems or solutions multiple companies can bring together is very much in alignment with our core strategy.”

A detailed article on Emory’s “living lab” and its industry partnership strategy appears in the August issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, CLICK HERE.

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Wayne State set to launch Center for Advanced Mobility


By David Schwartz
Published: August 12th, 2019

Wayne State University will launch its Center for Advanced Mobility this fall in partnership with the Michigan Mobility Institute, creating the ”world’s first holistic, advanced mobility curriculum.” continue reading »

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