Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Oklahoma U proposes changes to conflict of interest policy in wake of federal investigation


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

A widening investigation into IP theft and foreign influence in U.S. research institutions involving as many as 77 universities nationwide has prompted Oklahoma University officials to push changes to its conflict of interest policy. continue reading »

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MIT is reviewing its relationship with AI start-up SenseTime, a newly blacklisted Chinese tech firm


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology said it is reviewing the university’s relationship with SenseTime, one of eight Chinese tech companies placed on the U.S. Entity List last week for their alleged role in human rights abuses against Muslim minority groups in China. continue reading »

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2020 edition of Export Controls Compliance Practices Benchmarks for Higher Education released


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

The just-released 2020 edition of Export Controls Compliance Practices Benchmarks for Higher Education contains a wealth of data and in-depth analysis that’s become more critical than ever in light of intense scrutiny of foreign influence in research activity.

This one-of-a-kind resource provides a rich set of benchmarks and data to compare against your own practices and procedures regarding compliance with U.S. export control regulations and related strictures. You’ll find detailed data on staffing, budgets, data protection, legal costs, compliance training, and risk assessment, along with invaluable peer advice. This 92-page 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 and to order, CLICK HERE.

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Funding controversies continue as Koch-funded center at U Pittsburgh sparks debate


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

The University of Pittsburgh is the latest school to get negative headlines over a research-related donation from a controversial source, in this case the Charles Koch Foundation. continue reading »

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Syracuse U and Microsoft form “Smart Cities” collaboration


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

The School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University has entered a collaboration with the City of Syracuse and Microsoft that will create a hub for Smart Cities technology development, research, and training. The city is hoping the effort will result in improvements in energy use, public safety, job creation, and economic development. 

Under the umbrella of the City’s “Syracuse Surge” initiative, the collaboration has already explored projects in education and training; public safety and security; accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities; and economic development and job creation. The partners will work together on projects in those areas over the next year while also considering other project possibilities.

Representatives of all three organizations met recently at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters to explore the arrangement and to outline specific ways they’ll work together.

Arthur Thomas, associate dean for academic affairs at the iSchool, described the collaboration this way: “While our students learn the principles of such transformative technologies as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), and data science in our courses, this opportunity will help students across Syracuse University to gain new levels of career experience through application of these technologies in real-world community projects. Having Microsoft as a continuing partner and working closely with City project clients, our students will have a unique opportunity to prepare themselves for their future careers while contributing meaningful solutions to community issues that will bring about the digital transformation of the City of Syracuse.”  

Microsoft’s Jack Ryder, a financial exec who sits on the Board of Advisors for the iSchool, commented: “The mission alignment of Syracuse University and Microsoft make a clear case to leverage Microsoft cloud services to enable experiential learning and 21st century skills development for student success in the modern workplace. We are thrilled to partner with the University and the iSchool to establish an AI center of excellence that empowers the next generation of leaders in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The iSchool and Microsoft have a strong partnership history, including the company’s recruitment of iSchool graduates and attendance at iSchool career fairs. The iSchool has also worked previously with the city on through its faculty-led and student-worker based iConsult Collaborative.

Source: GlobeNewswire

Effective Models of University-Industry Engagement: Case Studies in Success is a strategy-filled distance learning collection featuring four leading universities that have used innovative strategies to achieve robust relationships with corporate partners. For complete details, CLICK HERE.

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U Washington and T-Mobile partner on 5G Open Innovation Lab


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

The 5G Open Innovation Lab, a partnership between with Bellevue-based T-Mobile, the University of Washington,and the City of Bellevue, will connect 5G start-ups with investors and technology labs to test their products. continue reading »

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Canadian AI institute enters research partnership with Cerence


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

AI company Cerence Inc. has become a resident partner of Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, an academic institution dedicated to supporting researchers working to develop deep learning technologies. continue reading »

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Wayne State opening Mobility Center with focus on skills development for industry


By David Schwartz
Published: October 8th, 2019

Wayne State University is partnering with the Michigan Mobility Institute (MMI) to launch the “Center for Advanced Mobility,” which will begin operations this fall. The center is described by the partners as “the world’s first holistic, advanced mobility curriculum.” It represents in part the expansion of the WSU College of Engineering’s cyberphysical systems programs, but it will also offer additional degrees and certificates in areas such as autonomous driving, connectivity and smart infrastructure. The school will also be offering a Master of Science degree in robotics in fall 2020.

MMI, explains Executive Director Jessica Robinson, is an independent non-profit “focused on accelerating the number of people who have the skills for new mobility careers.” The institute, incorporated in January 2019, has a goal of “bringing together folks from industry who have a perspective on the skills necessary to work alongside education partners to close the gaps.” She left her prior role at Ford to help launch MMI, “and in spring and summer we started deepening our relationship with Wayne State — and so far, it has culminated with the announcement of the center.”

“We are in the heart of Detroit, and a couple of years ago we found out that autonomous driving was the trend,” adds Weisong Shi, associate dean for research and a professor in the College of Engineering. Talks about creating a center around mobility began early this year, he continues. “We want to work together to make Detroit the center of mobility,” Shi asserts. “[The MMI] knows what industry really needs but is missing.”

Already, says Robinson, “we’ve been working together to review their engineering curriculum inside the College of Engineering to ensure students have the opportunity to learn those skills currently in demand when they enter the workforce.”

Robinson points to three key efforts that will expand what had already become a strong educational program at Wayne State. “They have had a College of Engineering for years, and their researchers were already doing some of this work,” she notes. “But we’re excited to bring a new focus across campus on mobility degrees. We’re working together on degrees and certificates that fall into several pillars of mobility careers — electric vehicle design, vehicle or network connectivity, autonomous driving, and smart transportation. In those pillars we know there are existing courses within the Wayne State catalog that apply, but in some places we’re looking at creating new courses as well.”

The second key step, she continues, was the acquisition of the Industry Innovation Center, or ICC. Wayne State acquired the 45,000 square foot facility, which holds laboratory and demonstration space, last year. “This is a purpose-built facility for smart R&D and smart mobility research that is now part of the campus,” Robinson explains, noting that it will be used for industry engagement and student research.

The third key, she says, is the Masters program in robotics. “That degree is industry standard for people who want to work in autonomous systems design,” she asserts.

Shi and Robinson note that the partners are already interfacing, and will continue to working together, in a number of ways. “For one, we will have a very flexible education program, so we can train the workforce for industry,” Shi says. “In the Metro Detroit area, industry will either need re-education of employees or the hiring of new people who can do the work they need, so we can close the gap between what industry wants and what we can offer.”

Adds Robinson, “We’ve looked across the mobility ecosystem to make sure companies that do the hiring have a voice and a seat at the table. We are focused not just on cars, but on other future technologies.”

A detailed article on the new mobility center at Wayne State appears in the September issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, CLICK HERE.

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Sackler family’s donations to universities are the latest in string of funding controversies


By David Schwartz
Published: October 8th, 2019

This seems to be the year of funding-related controversies for universities. Research funds and partnerships with Saudi Arabia, Huawei, Jeffrey Epstein, and casino magnate Stephen Wynn have all come under intense scrutiny over scandals and unsavory conduct allegations, and now the Sackler family — owner of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma — is getting painted with a similar brush. continue reading »

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Financial Audits of Industry-Sponsored Research: What to Expect and How to Manage the Process


By David Schwartz
Published: October 8th, 2019

With millions of dollars invested in research, industry sponsors need to ensure that all aspects of their projects are being managed with utmost care. In addition to scope of work, budgeting, and payment obligations, each project’s research agreement dictates specific requirements regarding financial management and reporting obligations. 

During the lifespan of the research, there may be times where a financial “health check” or audit is requested. It could come by way of routine request, or the sponsor may be observing red flags warranting further investigation. In either case, an audit doesn’t have to be a frightening or adversarial exercise. In fact, audits provide an opportunity for both parties to uncover issues, concerns and challenges encountered in the execution of a project. It affords the project manager, project sponsor and research administration team an interim view of what has gone well and what needs to be improved with the project to ensure it is successfully completed.

University-Industry Engagement Advisor has tapped a team of experts from the accounting firm Baker Tilly to lead this program, scheduled for November 13th, that will demystify the audit process so that both parties can come away with valuable insight into the financial well-being of a research project: Financial Audits of Industry-Sponsored Research: What to Expect and How to Manage the Process. For complete program and faculty details and to register, CLICK HERE

Also coming soon:

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U of Illinois partners with FoxConn Interconnect to create $100 million smart technology center


By David Schwartz
Published: October 8th, 2019

The University of Illinois is creating a $100 million center for smart technology on its Urbana campus in partnership with FoxConn Interconnect Technologies (FIT) and the university’s Discovery Partners Institute (DPI). continue reading »

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Ohio U launches corporate engagement office


By David Schwartz
Published: October 8th, 2019

To build greater capacity for corporate engagement and grow corporate relationships, Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis created the Corporate Engagement Task Force earlier this year. In order to help advance the task force’s recommendations, Nellis has announced the creation of the university’s new Corporate Engagement Office, which will serve as a central location for personalized and accelerated matchmaking and navigation services for corporate partners. continue reading »

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