Industry-Sponsored Research Week

UofSC partnership with IBM seeds an entire ‘partner network’


By David Schwartz
Published: April 6th, 2021

A detailed article on the “partner network” born out of an initial partnership between IBM and the University of South Carolina appears in the March issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here. 

The announcement of a recent partnership involving the University of South Carolina, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Yaskawa Motoman, and Siemens tells the story of a collaboration between a university’s faculty and students and several industry partners to develop an innovative pharmaceutical solution. But this collaboration, impressive as it is, tells only part of the story.

The full story begins several years ago, with UofSC beginning what would become a complex strategic relationship with IBM. “IBM is one of our big partners,” shares Bill Kirkland, executive director of the UofSC Office of Innovation, Partnerships, and Economic Engagement (OIPEE). “On the IoT side, that partnership formed with them about six years ago.” Soon after that, the university and IBM broadened their collaboration to open the $25 million Center for Applied Innovation to develop solutions for predictive analytics and maintenance. Then, in 2018, the 15,000 square-foot Digital Transformation Lab was created — an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) research lab for real-world applications in areas such as robotics, visual inspection, autonomous drones, and smart home appliances.

Today, Kirkland says, 150 people from IBM work on campus. But beyond that, IBM has introduced the university to a number of its own industry contacts — including Siemens. “As you can imagine, IBM and Siemens work together,” says Kirkland. “That got us two separate things: We formed a partnership with [Seimens’] academic business unit three or four years ago; they donated in-kind software with commercial value of $628 million. From that, it was integrated into our College of Engineering and Computing” in a collaboration headed by mechanical engineering professor Ramy Harik, PhD. “We also expanded the Siemens partnership to include equipment donations — part our Digital Transformation Lab.”

That lab, he continues, includes among its partners IBM, Yaskawa, and Samsung. “IBM again helped us team in Japan for partnership with Yaskawa, specifically the Motoman group in America, which at one point donated robots worth millions of dollars,” says Kirkland.

All of this led to what Kirkland calls a “partner network” in which the university plays the role of a solution development lab. “If a company is involved in manufacturing [and has a problem], we build a solution,” he explains. “Companies [introduced to UofSC by IBM] are briefed and then we have them come down to our lab, where we provide real-life demonstrations.” Before COVID-19, he says, three or four companies a month would come to the executive briefing center and then to the lab.

“Ramy then develops solutions,” he continues, adding, “we are a referral university. IBM brings a partner in and we build a solution. When IBM sells to the market, we get a percentage of the total value to market; it’s another way to get research dollars into the university.”

As a team, Kirland says, “Ramy and the students build real-life solutions for the market, focused on advanced manufacturing, aerospace, automotive. We also now have partnerships with Boeing, BMW, and a number of other companies.”

“The partnership is somewhat of a perfect match,” adds Harik. “The university, in its own wisdom, decided we needed to do groundwork with industry and engage them in a very meaningful way. We did not just want our graduate engineers to be good in the theoretic world, but to make sure they were job-ready from day one. Bill brings in the contacts, discusses issues, thinks about strategic planning, and what’s happening in South Carolina. These things trickle down to, ‘okay, engineering school, can you attack this problem? Who on the faculty can do this?’ I’m in the manufacturing faculty; when that word comes to me, we take the challenge. Together we try to create a theme and a solution to a real industrial problem. We’ve done for so many industry partners.” Harik adds that smaller companies are also now part of this integrated partnership.

Click here to continue reading this article with a subscription to University-Industry Engagement Advisor. Already a subscriber? Click here to log in.

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

Nova Systems, U of South Australia collaborate on boosting capabilities in key technology areas


By David Schwartz
Published: April 6th, 2021

Engineering services provider Nova Systems and the University of South Australia (UniSA) have committed to explore collaboration in an effort to support Australia’s growing space, defense and national security capabilities. The two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding last week to partner over the next five years on building industries critical to the Australian economy. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

Best Practices for Licensing Research Tools and Materials


By David Schwartz
Published: April 6th, 2021

Mouse models, cell lines, data, reagents, software…. Your university has a vast inventory of research materials and tools — and these tools have significant licensing potential. The challenge is to find, categorize, and market them to create a new or expanded revenue stream from your existing research assets.

These tangible research materials, whether biological, chemical, physical, or otherwise represent significant untapped revenue. The key is identifying these materials and making them readily available for licensing via click-thru licenses for immediate revenue, and understanding the structure and negotiation strategy required for larger or bundled licenses.

To ensure you get maximum value from your research tool assets, Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has partnered with attorney and UNeMed Business Development Manager Joe Runge for this detailed webinar: Best Practices for Licensing Research Tools and Materials, scheduled for April 21st. For complete program details or to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week, Webinars

PA hands out $2M in research grants and builds links to manufacturers


By David Schwartz
Published: April 6th, 2021

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Manufacturing PA initiative has awarded 29 grants totaling $2 million in an effort to bring together government, industry and higher education in holistic collaboration to spur new technologies and processes in the manufacturing sector. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

Swinburne and health insurer Medibank extend first-of-its-kind partnership


By David Schwartz
Published: April 6th, 2021

Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology and Medibank – a major health insurance company in that country — have renewed their three-year partnership, which has been focused on providing health services to the Swinburne community. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

New report: Strategic University-Industry Partnerships and Holistic Corporate Engagement


By David Schwartz
Published: April 6th, 2021

Strategic University-Industry Partnerships and Holistic Corporate Engagement is a 98-page resource that’s chock-full of proven success strategies for using a holistic approach to expand your valuable industry relationships.

It features 25+ case studies on how to structure, manage, and grow your collaborations beyond one-off deals and embrace a vision — and a set of best practices — for expanding partnerships to touch every area of the university, from research and talent development to philanthropy and corporate training.

Strategic University-Industry Partnerships and Holistic Corporate Engagement is available now in digital format for immediate delivery, and a print version is also available. Click here for complete details.

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

Howard U inks expanded research deal with government consulting firm LMI


By David Schwartz
Published: April 6th, 2021

LMI, a consulting firm focused on government clients, is expanding its partnership with Howard University to pursue academic research that supports the needs of the company’s government customers. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

Come one day or stay all week — don’t miss UIDPVirtual 2021


By David Schwartz
Published: April 6th, 2021

April 12-16 | 90+ Speakers | 50 Sessions

Where else can you ask the NSF director questions about university-industry collaboration and participate in a session with two former NSF directors — all in one day?

Meet the speakers and see registration options today, so you don’t miss a minute of UIDPVirtual 2021.

  • Timely insight to help you address a range of university-industry collaboration challenges.
  • All-day networking room for drop-in virtual discussions throughout the conference day, so you can grab a quick conversation when it fits your schedule.
  • Personalized conference experience with an agenda you can search and sort for sessions that align with your role: contracting, workforce development and student engagement, government engagement and economic development, and partnership management and research administration.

Click Here to register today, and don’t miss a single session of UIDPVirtual 2021!

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

Dalhousie revamps industry engagement office, embraces transparency and standardization


By David Schwartz
Published: March 30th, 2021

A detailed article on Dalhousie U’s reorganization of its industry engagement office and its use of business process mapping appears in the March issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here. 

“Streamlining” may be an easy term to describe the recent changes made by Dalhouisie University’s Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement (OCIE) — changes that include its current name and a revamping of its website. But its leaders note that it was the transparent sharing of those changes, enabled by the redesigned website and the standardization of the ways the office approaches industry engagement, that truly embody the transformation of the office.

Formerly known as the Industry Liaison and Innovation (ILI) office, the corporate engagement unit of this Canadian university undertook a strategic review of operations in order to improve efficiency and enhance transparency around processes, procedures, and timelines. “The overarching goal is to continue to grow industry-sponsored research,” says Stephen Hartlen, assistant vice president for industry relations. “We’re all very busy, and there was some question as to whether we were as productive as we could be. We embarked on an exercise — pre-COVID — addressing processes and procedures to make them as streamlined, efficient, and transparent as possible.”

It was, he admits, tougher than he had anticipated. “Business process mapping is complicated,” he says.

Although challenging, the exercise was well worth it, notes Jolene MacEachern, manager of agriculture and aquaculture. “Knowing the process and having it work for you is so important; it gives you more time for liaison [with industry],” she says.

Before COVID travel restrictions were put in place, Hartlen recalls, the senior management team made “road trips” to McMaster University and the University of Toronto, which had much larger teams but had already embarked on business process mapping exercises. “We looked at how they mapped and the tools they used,” says Hartlen. “Then we looked at their websites and at what information and processes you were able to [view] online.”

They also reviewed the approaches at a number of other schools and incorporated “a little bit of everything from everywhere.”

One of the challenges, notes Hartlen, was that many of the processes in place had been there for a long time. “I heard ‘this is the way we’ve always done it,’ a lot,” he says, adding that one goal of the revamp was to simplify processes. “The biggest example was that all the managers seemed to have different processes they followed to do the same thing; there was no consistency in the office,” he observes. “Some were more productive — they had quicker ways of doing things — while others followed the way they were taught.”

The team hired an external consultant to help with the business process mapping. “We (a team of 10, plus Hartlen and the consultant) basically took a dozen or so business processes that we manage,” Hartlen reports. “We interviewed all the people associated [with the processes], including people outside the university, like partner organizations, as well as departments in financial services, legal associates, and marketing communications. Once the third party collected the information, we all sat in the board room and knocked off one process at a time, each of which typically took half a day.” Some of the items reviewed included NDAs, license agreements, research contracts, and CRAs.

One of the areas that stuck out, says MacEachern, was the signature and review process. “Everyone was doing it differently; legal would have to come back and ask clarifying questions,” she recalls. “Now, we have a checklist of all the things we have to review.” What the list includes, she explains, may not be as critical as its mere existence as a time saver. “It’s so simple; it seems minute, but it makes such a difference for the volume our legal folks see,” she says.

According to MacEachern, the process could be summarized as “the act of going through everything and checking all the bases. It seems so simple, but the value add was sitting at the table and learning, ‘Oh, that’s how you do it.’” Another benefit of the process, she notes, is being able to communicate and share these standards with new people as they are onboarded.

Click here to continue reading this article with a subscription to University-Industry Engagement Advisor. Already a subscriber? Click here to log in.

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

Drexel opens medical cannabis research center and signs $15M partnership agreement


By David Schwartz
Published: March 30th, 2021

Drexel University is jumping on the boom in medical cannabis research, signing an eight-year, $15.5 million partnership agreement with Chester, PA-based Agronomed Biologics and gaining approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to conduct research on medical cannabis grown by the company. In conjunction with those moves, the school has just opened a new Medical Cannabis Research Center (MCRC), where it will conduct evidenced-based research on the effects of medical cannabis on patients with specific medical and behavioral conditions. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: Uncategorized, University-Industry Engagement Week

Best Practices for Licensing Research Tools and Materials


By David Schwartz
Published: March 30th, 2021

Mouse models, cell lines, data, reagents, software…. Your university has a vast inventory of research materials and tools — and these tools have significant licensing potential. The challenge is to find, categorize, and market them to create a new or expanded revenue stream from your existing research assets.

These tangible research materials, whether biological, chemical, physical, or otherwise represent significant untapped revenue. The key is identifying these materials and making them readily available for licensing via click-thru licenses for immediate revenue, and understanding the structure and negotiation strategy required for larger or bundled licenses.

To ensure you get maximum value from your research tool assets, Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has partnered with attorney and UNeMed Business Development Manager Joe Runge for this detailed webinar: Best Practices for Licensing Research Tools and Materials, scheduled for April 21st. For complete program details or to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week, Webinars

U Edinburgh leads new supercomputing center offering industry support


By David Schwartz
Published: March 30th, 2021

Two leading supercomputing facilities in the UK have joined forces to create a national computing competence center as part of a Europe-wide network. continue reading »

→ No CommentsPosted under: University-Industry Engagement Week