Industry-Sponsored Research Week
University-Industry Engagement Advisor

For those who’ve done it, co-location is a winning partnership strategy


By David Schwartz
Published: February 12th, 2019

Co-location is a growing trend in university-industry collaboration, but to make it work most effectively is more challenging than simply putting people together in a shared space, and those who’ve done it offered their models, strategies, and lessons learned in a series of interviews.

Sometimes co-location is not the result of a company looking for a new facility, but rather the natural evolution in a long-term relationship. That was the case with the relationship between Kansas State University and the agricultural firm TopCon Agriculture.

“When we work with companies, we address three main areas — talent, innovation, and professional development or training,” says Rebecca Robinson, director of economic development and corporate engagement for the KSU Institute for Commercialization (KSU-IC).

“When we began conversations with TopCon there was already some initial research activity happening. That’s the start of a transactional relationship, but the more we explored a move to that more strategic level, things opened up and we started to explore any other ways of engagement that would add value to TopCon’s mission and activities.”

The pair’s relationship soon expanded, including contracts that allowed for a university-wide engagement MRA and service agreement, “and we began to talk about those other buckets.”

Those “buckets,” adds Kent Glasscock, president of KSU-IC, “included how TopCon could engage engineers to increase its pipeline, classroom activity in the sense of education about brand, and how students would think of Topcon as a place to work. On the professional training side, [it included] how to utilize the capabilities and knowledge our faculty members had to explore professional development — continuing education, or advanced degrees. In addition, the partnership began to look beyond that — how to engage the market together, how to think about procuring their products differently internally. It became deep and broad.” In fact, so broad that co-location as a possibility entered the picture.

“For us it was perfect timing,” notes Brian Sorbe, vice president of global product solutions at TopCon. “We are a fairly large company, but the ag business we’re part of is not that large; we did not have the resources to be dedicated to fostering a university relationship. But we were at a crossroads of whether to go private [for additional resources] or to try a university. We were looking for something where we could have a little more value from a university — a deeper level, and more focus.”

While there was no shortage of universities that wanted to engage, he adds, “what Kansas State brought was they were truly trying to bring together a comprehensive partnership – bringing all the other ancillary services to the table.”

At K-State, “the way we engage companies in strategic partnership development is to lay the complete picture out of what kinds of partnerships are available,” Robinson explains.“They could have continued to have a transactional relationship or consider a strategic one. If that’s what they were looking for, then a physical presence would have a particular value we felt they should consider. We brought all the partners together to help convey that message; if this company wanted this level of partnership there were certain benefits to be derived [from co-locating].”

A detailed article on co-location appears in the February issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisorr. For information on subscriptions, CLICK HERE

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Georgia State partners with big law firm on legal analytics


By David Schwartz
Published: February 12th, 2019

Georgia State University’s Legal Analytics Lab is partnering with Atlanta-based Alston & Bird, a major national law firm, to help the firm gain expertise and knowledge in data analytics and related tools such as machine learning and text mining. In return, the firm’s attorneys will guest lecture in graduate-level classes and participate in analytics programs on campus. continue reading »

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Impact Convergence: A New Model for Building Scalable Relationships between Industry and Universities


By David Schwartz
Published: February 12th, 2019

The Office of Industry Engagement & Commercial Venturing at Brown University has built a successful model for industry engagement using a scale-up concept called Impact Convergence (ICON). There are several layers of the ICON experience, beginning with ICON Exploration, moving to the ICON Challenge Hub, and ultimately to ICON Impact. Hyundai Motor Company is the first company to enter a new relationship with the university under the ICON model.

University-Industry Engagement Advisor is sponsoring this practical webinar that will take an inside look at Brown’s new scale-up model and address common issues that face these complex relationships, as well as best practices for impact-driven alignment between industry and universities. Join Tracey Dodenhoff, head of strategic industry engagement at Brown University and Principal of Onovo, Inc., on February 27 for Impact Convergence: A New Model for Building Scalable Relationships between Industry and Universities. For complete program details or to register, CLICK HERE.

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UT-Dallas becomes first U.S. university to partner with Blockchain Research Institute


By David Schwartz
Published: February 12th, 2019

The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The University of Texas at Dallas has inked a partnership with the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), marking BRI’s first relationship with an American university. continue reading »

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Finland universities building an ecosystem around autonomous technology


By David Schwartz
Published: February 12th, 2019

Finland is cementing plans for a 2020 launch of a research cluster which the government hopes will give the country a strong foothold in the booming autonomous technology marketplace.
The Research Alliance for Autonomous Systems (RAAS) is an effort to build an ‘innovation ecosystem’ around autonomous technology that brings together research universities, corporations, and other stakeholders to develop “new, cross-sector solutions.” continue reading »

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


By David Schwartz
Published: February 12th, 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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Student training in data science the focus of U Oxford partnership with drug discovery firm


By David Schwartz
Published: February 12th, 2019

Insilico Medicine, a Rockville, MD-based company using artificial intelligence to enhance drug discovery, is partnering with a new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) at the University of Oxford. Their joint training initiative at doctoral level students is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. continue reading »

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Ben-Gurion U in three-way partnership with Bayer and Netafim to optimize drip irrigation


By David Schwartz
Published: February 12th, 2019

BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), announced a three-year research collaboration with Bayer and Netafim to improve delivery of Bayer’s crop protection chemicals using Netafim’s novel drip irrigation technology. continue reading »

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Don’t let details of visiting scientist agreements get lost in the shuffle


By David Schwartz
Published: February 5th, 2019

While leading an interactive discussion on visiting scientist agreements at the recent UIDP27 meeting in Chicago, Carolyn M. Brougham, JD, senior contracts officer in the Office for Sponsored Research at Northwestern University, noted that “the big question we dealt with is how the ‘sausage’ is made, and who quarterbacks for the university?”

As with many of the key elements the session addressed, Brougham says there are a variety of answers to both questions. For example, she says, some universities turn the lead over to the office of general counsel, while other options can include the sponsored research office, the research Dean’s office, or even the TTO.

“There’s not a clear winner of who takes point,” she summarizes. However, adds Brougham, “to me it does not matter so much who is the right person as much as it is who knows what to do.”

At most universities, she continues, there is not one single office that does a great job playing QB. “My office helps negotiate contractual terms, but it also needs input from the TTO if we have to negotiate IP terms, or HR for visa requirements,” notes Brougham. “You need to make sure the PI knows exactly what the parameters are; that the [Office of General Counsel] knows what sort of liability there might be; that risk management makes sure the insurance is sufficient.”

Some universities, she adds, do classified work. In those cases, they may need to run things through the export control compliance office. “They would be another key player in the massive universe of the stakeholders who need to be consulted,” she observes.

“Our agreement and the signing thereof now resides on the regulatory side,” reports Melissa L. Matsil, JD, director of the Office of Corporate Contracts at Rutgers University (it used to reside in her department). “The signatory is our export control officer; we force the discipline by making the signatory be a regulatory officer.”

Her department always has the option of contacting the regulatory office for export control regulations when reviewing an agreement. “Everything must be screened,” she explains. “If it is a foreign visitor here on a visa and they are from an embargoed country, they will likely not come.”

However, she adds, if they are not on an embargoed list, there is still a list the federal government reviews with more careful scrutiny, especially in light of recent disputes with China regarding IP and trade. “We receive visiting scientists from China all the time; for this particular company we have had visitors, but from now on they’re on a very high security list,” says Matsil.

Would Rutgers accept a visiting scientist from that company today? “Right now we would,” she says, “but we may have to create a technology control plan — a blueprint for what they would have access to. And the mentoring faculty will have to take responsibility for ensuring that the plan is executed properly.”

A detailed article on managing visiting scientist agreements appears in the premiere January issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For information on a subscription and how to save $100 on the subscription price with our charter subscription offer, CLICK HERE

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Stony Brook’s reorg signals a ‘new era’ in economic development


By David Schwartz
Published: February 5th, 2019

In a move designed to better align its structure with its parent SUNY system’s strategic goals of advancing innovation and entrepreneurship, Stony Brook University is consolidating its Office of Economic Development within its Office of Research. continue reading »

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Case Study of the University at Buffalo UB Swift Program: Drafting Sponsored Research Agreements with Industry-Focused Terms


By David Schwartz
Published: February 5th, 2019

Taking cues from the University of Minnesota’s MN-IP program, The University at Buffalo has created UB SWIFT — Sponsorship With Industry Focused Terms — an option to sponsor research at UB through an agreement including preferred licensing terms for IP resulting from the project.  The UB SWIFT approach allows both entities to set research and licensing terms at the project planning stage, providing financial certainty for both parties, eliminating ongoing and costly negotiations and drastically reducing transaction time.

Reaction from industry has been overwhelmingly positive, and that’s why Technology Transfer Tactics, in partnership with University-Industry Engagement Advisor, is sponsoring this valuable webinar that will dissect the UB Swift model and offer you guidance on how to incorporate their best practices into your future partnership negotiations: Case Study of the University at Buffalo UB Swift Program: Drafting Sponsored Research Agreements with Industry-Focused Terms, scheduled for February 21.

For complete program and faculty details or to register, CLICK HERE.

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Baton Rouge software firm making big investment in SLU students with new Innovation Lab


By David Schwartz
Published: February 5th, 2019

A software company in Baton Rouge has a long history of investing in software development education at Southeastern Louisiana University, and now it’s upping the ante. continue reading »

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