Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Ohio University introduces three “flexible options” for sponsored research


By David Schwartz
Published: December 2nd, 2019

Seeking to avoid the inevitable consternation that lengthy negotiations produce among industry partners, Ohio University has introduced what it calls its “Flexible Options for Sponsored Research,” which offers three distinct tiers of engagement from which partners can choose. Tier One, with “traditional” IP terms, offers a non-exclusive royalty-free license with an option for exclusivity. Tier Two, which the university calls “Risk Managed IP Terms,” offers an exclusive license with a pre-set royalty rate. Tier Three, or “Industry IP Ownership,” involves assignment with prepayment.

“We’re trying to give partners more options because negotiations take forever, and while you always end up getting where you need to people get upset,” says Bob Silva, director of technology transfer. (Research agreements at the university are handled by the TTO and by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.) “We knew we should be doing something a little different, and when IP Promise came along, that kind of forced us to do it on an accelerated schedule. So, it wasn’t anything new in our minds, but it developed very quickly — and in that respect it was a good thing.”

The Ohio IP Promise, developed in consultation with the Intra-University Council (IUC) of Ohio, includes as members all 14 state universities as well as two private schools, which have agreed to use it as the starting point for their commercialization processes.

The group came together around a set of guiding principles that obligate the participating schools to ensure that they are:

  • providing flexibility or choices to potential partners for accessing university IP or sponsoring research;
  • being transparent about what the commercialization process will involve and what the terms are up front;
  • providing simple and fair guidelines for start-up creation;
  • communicating licensing processes in a clear and prominent way on university websites;
  • making it easy for all stakeholders — including businesses, entrepreneurs and investors — to engage with clearly defined entry points.
  • eliminating impediments that can slow the pace of commercialization.

(A detailed article on the Ohio IP Promise initiative appears in the October issue of UIEA’s sister publication Technology Transfer Tactics. An excerpt can be seen at https://tinyurl.com/y3rrr4o5.)

None of the universities, Silva says, wanted do things the same way as any other, and “we did not want someone telling us we have to use these terms, for example, but we agreed to be more flexible, more transparent, have simple processes, and be clear and easy to work with.”

Silva says the University of Cincinnati came up with its own version of tiers, but not everyone bought into it. “We adopted the framework of the tiers, but not word for word. We customized them for our needs and took bits and pieces from a lot of programs. We did not see any need to re-invent the wheel.”

A detailed article on the contracting tiers used by Ohio U appears in the November issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, CLICK HERE

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With no federal guidelines, Canadian universities grapple with Huawei funding


By David Schwartz
Published: December 2nd, 2019

Chinese telecom giant Huawei funds more than $50 million dollars in technology research in Canada, and that has some tech and national security experts alarmed. It’s also sparking a national debate over the lack of federal guidelines on reporting and tracking the use of industry-sponsored research. continue reading »

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SBIR/STTR Policy Changes: New Challenges and New Opportunities


By David Schwartz
Published: December 2nd, 2019

This summer the Small Business Administration released an update to the SBIR/STTR policy directives, and the final version contains significant policy changes that affect data rights and protections, data marking, rules related to multiple public funding sources, expanded opportunities with Phase III awards, and relaxation of rules related to multiple research institute partners.

Coupled with the National Science Foundation’s new requirement of “project pitch” before submission for an award and the NIH’s updated FOA, there are lots of new and important moving parts for TTOs, start-ups, research managers and partners to maneuver through — and one misstep can jeopardize your entire award status. At the same time, the new rules introduce valuable opportunities for expanded funding and new partnerships.

To clarify the various agencies directives and give you clear guidance on how to navigate successfully, our Distance Learning Division teamed up with SBIR/STTR experts Kristen Parmelee, President of PCG, Inc., and UNeMed Business Development Manager Joseph Runge, JD, MS, to bring you this detailed webinar: SBIR/STTR Policy Changes: New Challenges and New Opportunities. Based on rave reviews from attendees and continuing high interest in the topic, we’re offering an opportunity for those who missed the original program by hosting this pre-recorded encore presentation, scheduled for December 19. For complete details and to register, CLICK HERE.

Also coming soon:

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Birmingham ‘innovation hub’ targets clean energy globally, with link to China


By David Schwartz
Published: December 2nd, 2019

British and German experts from both industry and academia are creating a new ‘Innovation Hub’ based in Birmingham, UK, to develop new technologies focused on clean energy and waste management. They researchers are linking their efforts with a Chinese research institute in hopes of expanding the impact of their efforts across the globe. continue reading »

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UT-San Antonio partners with Noblis on cybersecurity research


By David Schwartz
Published: December 2nd, 2019

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), through its National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC), has entered a research partnership with Noblis, a leading provider of science, technology and strategy services to the federal government. Their research will focus on cybersecurity technologies. continue reading »

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


By David Schwartz
Published: December 2nd, 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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Industry engagement brings high-tech picnic table to Central Michigan U


By David Schwartz
Published: December 2nd, 2019

Industry engagement takes many forms, and sometimes it’s hard to predict the results. At  Central Michigan University, you’ll excuse research leaders if they didn’t predict the new gift from DTE Energy: A high-tech, solar-powered picnic table. continue reading »

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Industry engagement managers plan ahead to help maintain continuity


By David Schwartz
Published: November 26th, 2019

There is no guarantee of continuity when it comes to university-industry partnerships. Strong interpersonal relationships can be erased almost without notice with a personnel change, and longstanding research partnerships in specific spaces can suddenly cease as a corporation decides it must “shift gears.” Engagement managers say that while these unexpected changes cannot be avoided, there are strategies you can employ to help “cover your bases” — although some of these strategies emerge only after learning the hard lesson of reality.

“When I took over the relationship with the first corporate tenant on Centennial Campus, I was totally set on developing a relationship with the site lead,” recalls Leah Burton, director of Centennial Campus Partnerships and Industry Alliances at North Carolina State University. “But every one or two years they were replacing [the lead person] — moving those people to different responsibilities. When they left, I was starting all over again — it was like Groundhog Day,” Burton says.
“After this happened two or three times it became obvious to me that I was going about it in the wrong way; I’d spend a lot of time developing a relationship and in two years they moved on,” she continues. “I also saw it was becoming more important to develop relationships with the resource organization, the human capital organization, and even regional researchers.”

And for those who think her story is unique, Burton has five words: “It happens all the time.” Take, for example, the experience of Caroline Wood, executive director of corporate relations at Georgia Tech. “We have the Ford Environmental Science & Technology Building on campus,” she says. “In the late ‘90s they ended up committing $10 million over five or six years to name the building. We had a solid line, from the recruiter and campus coordinator all way up to the C-suite — but within less than a year of the announced building everybody but my campus coordinator was gone — and that was tough.”

Fortunately, Ford stayed good on its promise to fulfill the pledge. “But a lot of times when a company has complete regime change, they leave; lesson learned,” says Wood. “I’d love to tell you I never made that mistake ever again.”

In the case of Ford, it was also fortunate that the campus coordinator was an alumnus who had been with Ford their whole career and knew a lot of people. “They were able to help us network into a variety of different areas over time,” says Wood. “It’s very important to understand who you’re working with and what divisions could be of interest to the university, and really diversify the portfolio within the company as much as possible — because you never know.”

Recognizing that these kinds of changes are inevitable, Burton has explored different options for minimizing the potential harm they pose for the overall partnership. “I’ve found the most effective strategy is to establish multiple contacts within the company at different levels,” she shares. “It should be driven by the relationship manager, but that does not mean they should hold all the contacts.”

“I think it’s important for us all to remember with these partnerships that they are ephemeral,” she adds. “We are not dealing in the realm of partnerships like those with a supplier for the institution, although we’d like to establish and grow in such a way that we become very important to the company.”

“It’s truly about the relationships,” adds Wood. “The more relationships you can [have] within a company, the better you are when people move.”

A detailed article on strategies for maintaining continuity in corporate partnerships appears in the November issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, CLICK HERE.

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Purdue partners with AT&T on 5G test bed


By David Schwartz
Published: November 26th, 2019

Purdue University’s College of Engineering is working with AT&T to create a test bed for 5G-technology. Located in the Purdue Research Lab with the newly launched Indiana 5G Zone, the research effort is focusing on solving societal challenges like disaster recovery in rural areas as well as emerging 5G applications such as smart cities. It will also conduct research into edge computing. continue reading »

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Empowering and Supporting Women and Underserved Populations in University Innovation and Entrepreneurship


By David Schwartz
Published: November 26th, 2019

For TTOs and university research in general, the benefits of inclusiveness and diversity are clear — more ideas emerge, more IP is created, and a wider swath of your community becomes part of the innovation ecosystem. Clearly, encouraging a shift toward parity in research commercialization is more than just the societal right thing to do — it promotes economic growth. But how? Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has secured leaders from two of the most successful university programs designed to bolster inclusiveness and diversity for this strategy-filled, eye-opening webinar: Empowering and Supporting Women and Underserved Populations in University Innovation and Entrepreneurship, scheduled for December 17th.

Kathy Sohar, PhD, Director of the Women’s Collaboratory for Innovators with UF Innovate at the University of Florida, and Nichole Mercier, PhD, Assistant Vice Chancellor at Washington University in St. Louis and the Managing Director of the Washington University Office of Technology Management, will discuss their respective programs, how they are bringing underserved communities to the commercialization table, and bringing positive change to their campuses — and how you can too.

For complete program details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Intel adds big companies to Neuromorphic Research Community  


By David Schwartz
Published: November 26th, 2019

Chip maker Intel is continuing to expand its efforts in what is known as neuromorphic computing, announcing the first corporate members of the Intel Neuromorphic Research Community (INRC), which already includes a variety of university members. continue reading »

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U Alberta gets $1.25 million from Scotiabank to support AI research


By David Schwartz
Published: November 26th, 2019

Scotiabank is donating $1.25 million to the University of Alberta to fund artificial intelligence research in the school’s Department of Computing Science. continue reading »

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