Industry-Sponsored Research Week
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GEDI: A powerful connector to industry engagement opportunities at U Waterloo


By David Schwartz
Published: October 16th, 2018

When Canada’s leading university in innovation launched a new program called the “Global Entrepreneurship and Disruptive Innovation initiative,” the name itself seemed, well, short on innovation. So, they nicknamed it GEDI (pronounced Jedi). “Obviously, Star Wars is a big favorite of a lot of people,” said Rob Esselment, associate vice-president for government relations at the University of Waterloo. The name stuck and is now the commonly used name of the initiative.

The GEDI concept grew out of a challenge posed by the Ontario government three years ago. The province asked the University of Waterloo to propose a way for the university to drive economic development in the area. “We put forward a whole bunch of incremental suggestions,” says Esselment. “The pushback was that it was all incremental and that it was nothing new.”

The university president responded by creating the GEDI initiative, a comprehensive approach to industry engagement that provides a clear structure and pathway for companies to access research and other resources within not only U Waterloo, but other universities in the regional “innovation corridor” as well. The GEDI website promises the effort will “make access to disruptive innovation faster and easier.” The site’s description continues: “Innovation solutions will be available through a single pathway with access to multiple programs and streams. These include working with both current students and recent graduates, developing customized research teams, connecting with other industry corporate partners and a growing pool of technology-enabled and social-driven start-ups.”

Industry engagement and innovation have always been important to the University of Waterloo, which was established in 1957 to fill the need to train engineers and technicians for industry. Today, through its cooperative education program, it places more than 20,000 co-op students with thousands of companies around the world every year — the largest such program in the world. About 30% percent of the university’s research funding — $55 million last year — comes from industry partnerships.

The university has an intellectual property policy that awards all IP to the creator, which encourages innovators from within the university to commercialize their technologies. The school boasts 30 entrepreneurship programs, including Velocity, which is the largest free start-up incubator in the world.

With all that going for it, the university decided it still needed to do more. “What we realized is that although we are proud of doing all those things independently, we hadn’t created any sort of structure,” said Esselment. “How would an industry partner or external partners gauge the university as a whole, not just with these individual components?”

A detailed article on the GEDI initiative appears in the October issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. To subscribe and get the full, plus the publication’s entire archive of best practices and strategies for industry engagement and building corporate partnerships, CLICK HERE.  

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UC San Diego launches blockchain laboratory with help from tech giants 


By David Schwartz
Published: October 16th, 2018

UC San Diego has launched a laboratory to study the implications of fast-developing blockchain technologies, with most of the funding coming from large tech companies. continue reading »

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Blurred Lines and Gray Areas: Managing Conflicts of Interest in University Tech Transfer and Sponsored Research


By David Schwartz
Published: October 16th, 2018

Managing conflicts of interest (COIs) between funding sources, faculty researchers, and the start-ups they create is always a tough challenge that requires much coordination between departments at the university. Although TTOs and research managers recognize that conflicts are a given during the process of transferring IP either through a license agreement, spinoff, or sponsored research arrangement, managing and mitigating those COIs is a seemingly never ending battle.

Very seldom do COIs involved clear lines – more often gray areas that are fraught with hazards that can lead to bad publicity, loss of funding, and legal consequences. That’s why we’re hosting an encore presentation of one of our most highly rated webinars: Blurred Lines and Gray Areas: Managing Conflicts of Interest in University Tech Transfer. This one-hour distance learning program pools the knowledge of three highly experienced COI veterans to analyze and provide solid guidance on COIs.

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

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South Korea investing $2 billion in bid to compete for artificial intelligence market


By David Schwartz
Published: October 16th, 2018

When it comes to competing for the artificial intelligence market, South Korea is playing for keeps. The country’s ministry of science and ICT recently announced a $2 billion budget for AI research and development to develop its workforce and leverage its strong university-industry links in a bid to become a global AI powerhouse by 2022. continue reading »

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University College London and Pall Biotech partner on research and training center


By David Schwartz
Published: October 16th, 2018

Pall Corporation and the University College London (UCL) Department of Biochemical Engineering department have jointly launched the UCL-Pall Biotech Centre of Excellence (CoE) for research and training. continue reading »

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Best Practices for Bolstering Economic Development and Building Your University’s Innovation Ecosystem


By David Schwartz
Published: October 16th, 2018

Universities worldwide are being called upon like never before to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and the commercialization of research — and to demonstrate the results of their efforts in terms of economic impact.

But large scale economic development initiatives come with equally large challenges, and that’s why Tech Transfer Central’s Distance Learning Division has compiled best practice advice from six top university-driven economic development efforts in the practical collection Best Practices for Bolstering Economic Development and Building Your University’s Innovation Ecosystem. In this outstanding distance learning resource, you get these four programs plus more than 50 pages of program materials, with unlimited access for you, your staff, and faculty:

  • SESSION 1: Creating An Accelerator Furnace for University Technology: Arizona State’s Success Story
  • SESSION 2: How To Build and Nurture an Innovation District
  • SESSION 3: Start-Up Accelerator Best Practices: Speed the Launch of Sustainable Businesses
  • SESSION 4: Transform Your TTO Into an Economic Development Engine

Learn how leading universities have made big strides in boosting their regional economies, building out their innovation ecosystems, and getting more research out of the lab and into the marketplace. For complete program and faculty details and to order, CLICK HERE >>

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Rayence sets up industry-academia research center with Yonsei University


By David Schwartz
Published: October 16th, 2018

South Korean x-ray equipment maker Rayence and Yonsei University have signed a joint research agreement to develop a next-generation sensor technology within a new jointly operated research center. continue reading »

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UC-Irvine, diagnostics firm form “unique” relationship in new collaboration


By David Schwartz
Published: October 9th, 2018

Press releases about new and different discoveries or strategies often contain the word “unique,” and those accustomed to reading them learn to take the claim with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, representatives of the University of California-Irvine and Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, Inc., make a good case that the relationship they have established is distinctly different from other corporate/university collaborations.

“We and our broader parent, the Danaher Corporation, wanted Beckman Coulter’s academic relationships to be a little more than us giving them money and them giving us IP,” says Fiona Adair, PhD, vice president of strategy and innovation. “We really wanted to create more of an in-depth relationship.”

So Beckman Coulter created a “short list” of universities they thought had research and IP activity in areas broadly of interest to them and started to meet with them. “It’s easy to identify academic institutions active in those areas, but it’s harder to find those with an appetite to truly collaborate and see the value we could bring to the relationship — knowledge of markets, trends in healthcare, and at the same time someone who really had mechanisms for cutting edge research and encouraging start-ups with their students.”

“We’ve had a longstanding relationship with them through an NSF Center on campus, but they were looking for a next-level of engagement with a university and we were also looking to engage industry in a deeper alliance — not just interaction-based — so the timing was perfect,” adds Nancy Kim Yun, senior director of strategic collaborations for UCI Applied Innovation, the school’s commercialization arm.

Carolyn Stephens, associate director of UCI Applied Innovation, notes that the partnership is focusing on broad access to research at the university. “We are now a portal to help Beckman Coulter access a wider reach of university research,” she explains. UCI is the first of several such partners Beckman Coulter hopes to select.

One of the unique aspects of the relationship is that Beckman Coulter will be “living” on campus — in fact, as a “neighbor” of UCI Applied Innovation. Beckman will join AI as a resident of “The Cove,” a 48,000 square foot collection of technological facilities and office space that serves as the headquarters of Applied Innovation. “We will be placing one of our associates into UCI’s Cove, starting off on a three-month period with someone rotating through 12 months,” notes Adair. “We will have a seat in their innovation center – truly be partners.”

Of all the aspects of the partnership, she says this is “one of my favorites. They hold all kinds of different events at The Cove — conferences, students making pitches — it’s a very dynamic place. Having a person there gives us a way to sit and be seen and interact in a day-to-day way.”

A detailed article on the UCI-Beckman Coulter partnership appears in the September issue of Industry-Sponsored Research Management. To subscribe and get the full article, along with the publication’s complete archive of case studies and best practices focused on building strong industry partnerships and engagement, CLICK HERE.  

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U of Houston signs long-term strategic partnership with Humana


By David Schwartz
Published: October 9th, 2018

Health giant Humana Inc. and the University of Houston have entered a long-term strategic partnership focused on training future health care leaders, with a specific emphasis on advancing population health, improving health outcomes, and expanding the use of value-based payment models. continue reading »

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Patenting Machine Learning and AI Innovations: Strengthen Your Claims to Avoid Rejection


By David Schwartz
Published: October 9th, 2018

Machine learning and artificial intelligence innovations are quickly becoming commonplace in the life sciences, informatics, automotive, security, and medical device fields just to name a few. Many universities are dedicating research centers and funding dollars to support these inventions, but risks abound in this emerging market and legal landscape — and ensuring valid and enforceable patents is a must.

Already this fast-paced innovation sector has become a hotbed of patent protection controversy. USPTO is providing some guidance, but as is often the case there is room for interpretation — and confusion for patent applicants. As we see with many software claims, the key appears to be in the description.

To help TTOs best protect their growing portfolios of machine learning and AI technologies, Technology Transfer Tactics has tapped Gregory Rabin, senior attorney with law firm Schwegman, Lundberg Woessner, to present the practical webinar Patenting Machine Learning and AI Innovations: Strengthen Your Claims to Avoid Rejection, scheduled for October 16.

For complete details and to register, CLICK HERE.

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Cybersecurity firm Sevatec partners with George Mason U to promote IT skills


By David Schwartz
Published: October 9th, 2018

George Mason University and cybersecurity firm Sevatec have entered a new partnership through the school’s career services office that is designed to help prepare the next generation of students for careers in information technology. continue reading »

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U of Saskatchewan signs deal with Sundial to research effect of cannabis on dementia


By David Schwartz
Published: October 9th, 2018

The University of Saskatchewan has inked a research deal with a Canadian cannabis company to study whether medicinal cannabinoids could help improve quality of life for people with dementia. continue reading »

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