Industry-Sponsored Research Week

U Kentucky collaboration with Lexmark to boost innovation, economic development


By David Schwartz
Published: March 30th, 2021

The University of Kentucky and printing and imaging company Lexmark International are building on their longstanding partnership through a new agreement designed to accelerate innovation and spur economic growth. Lexmark will also sponsor a new scholarship program for women and minority engineering students under the new agreement. continue reading »

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Best Practices in Gaining SBIR/STTR Funding for University Technologies


By David Schwartz
Published: March 30th, 2021

The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs can be critical and significant sources of funding for university innovations and start-ups. With nearly $2B in funding being awarded each year, faculty innovators, start-up founders, TTO staff, and sponsored research managers must understand how to ensure their applications stand apart from the herd.

That’s why we’re offering this two-session distance learning resource: Best Practices in Gaining SBIR/STTR Funding for University Technologies. It includes these two outstanding, strategy-filled programs:

  • Dispelling SBIR/STTR Funding Myths and Misconceptions for University-Based Innovations. Many myths and misconceptions persist regarding how to apply, who can apply, what technologies are eligible, and how funds are awarded. SBIR/STTR funding consultant and former NIH scientific review officer Geoffrey White, PhD, dispels the myths and offers solid guidance on successful applications.
  • SBIR/STTR Funding: Strategies for Submitting a Winning Application. Knowing the critical factors that lead to success can make a huge difference in determining whether you get funded — and ultimately in whether your research or early-stage venture ever makes it to the commercial marketplace. This session identifies the four primary components to getting funded through these two highly competitive programs. It also addresses the key challenges facing SBIR/STTR applicants and offers expert guidance for planning ahead to ensure successful completion of major steps within the application process.

For complete details, click here.

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Wageningen U partners with Current to research lighting for greenhouse crops


By David Schwartz
Published: March 30th, 2021

Lighting and energy management company GE Current has extending its already vibrant global horticulture lighting research initiative, signing a new partnership with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands. The new study, led by WUR’s Dr. Leo Marcelis, will focus on determining the value and uses of interlighting for greenhouse vine crops like tomatoes, using both Current’s specialized LED products. The research aims to provide growers with better guidance on the position, type and intensity of interlighting, in combination with LED top lighting, to maximize yield volume and quality. continue reading »

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UW-Madison launches internal fund to support internships, industry collaborations


By David Schwartz
Published: March 23rd, 2021

A detailed article on UW-Madison’s Promoting Industry Collaboration funding initiative appears in the March issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here. 

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has started a new fund, with a total of $2 million initially available, to support research collaborations with industry and internships for graduate students. The initiative, called Promoting Industry Collaboration, is being funded by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the university’s tech transfer and commercialization arm. The grants, available in increments of $50,000 to $200,000, can be used for projects of one or two years, in addition to internships associated with the projects.

“When I became vice chancellor, we started looking at industry research funding and it was not as high as that of our peers — which was kind of surprising, notes Steve Ackerman, vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “Over the years there have been a variety of activities we’ve worked on to try to make collaboration easier. We’re now at the point where we’ve said, ‘Okay, we’ve removed some roadblocks; let’s see if we can inspire new collaborations with industry,’ and part of that is to try and seed-fund relationships.”

“The other aspect of the initiative is the training of graduate students, giving them more opportunity to get an idea of what it’s like to be in industry,” adds Cynthia “Cindy” Czajkowski, associate vice chancellor for research in the biological sciences. “It gives them experience in the private sector, they develop professional skills, good lab practices, and good manufacturing practices. You can’t get that in our labs.”

Proposals for funding can focus on fundamental research in science, engineering and technology; developing applications for university-industry cooperative research centers; and pilot studies for future proposals that specifically target partnerships between UW-Madison and industry. The initiative also supports semester or semester-plus-summer internships for PhD students with dissertator status. IP related to the projects must be assigned to WARF.

The awards can’t be used to fund industry personnel, but they can be used to fund services and products. Some level of matching support is required, and the cost of industry personnel is expected to be covered by the industry partner, although it can be applied as matching funds. One key exception, notes Czajkowski, is that funds cannot be used by faculty to support their own start-ups.

Ackerman emphasizes the fact that this initiative is totally internal. “We’re a little unique in our office; we get up to $60 million or so from WARF, which can be used to invest in research across campus,” he explains. “What we typically do is have initiatives, trying to seed funds into new research in new areas; this year’s strategic initiative is working with industry.”

There was not a huge amount of input from industry partners into the development of the fund, he continues, but adds it was launched out of a pre-COVID conversation with some biotech industry professionals in Madison. “They said, ‘Hey, we need to find some way to work together in developing more collaborations,’” he recalls. “COVID hit, but we still had it in our minds to work this problem, so we launched it off.”

Ackerman adds that when he first began focusing on designing the fund, he had reached out to some other Big Ten universities to see if any of their research offices had done something similar. “Nobody responded that they had,” he shares.

“NSF and NIH do have some funding for university-industry collaborations — especially in clinical research, developing new instruments for medical use,” adds Czajkowski. “That’s the template of this idea. But an initiative where as a university we supply dollars and industry supplies dollars? That is unique.”

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

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Ford partners with University of Michigan on robotics research lab


By David Schwartz
Published: March 23rd, 2021

Ford Motor Co. and the University of Michigan held a grand opening last week for a four-story, $75 million complex that will house a robotics and mobility lab – the first such lab for the automaker on a university campus. The top floor of the building is reserved for Ford researchers and engineers, who will work with U-M faculty to develop robots and roboticists. continue reading »

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Non-Disclosure Agreements in University Research and Commercialization: Drafting Strategies for Maximum IP Protection


By David Schwartz
Published: March 23rd, 2021

When working with collaborators, potential licensees, investors, and others outside the university, poorly drafted NDAs can put your valuable IP in grave danger.   

In academia, NDAs are used to protect patent rights from public disclosures that threaten patentability. But just as importantly, NDAs used in partnerships, co-invention, licensing discussions, and investment negotiations prevent others from co-opting your researchers’ valuable innovations. In a worst-case scenario, you can literally lose the rights to the patent, as has been made painfully clear by the courts in recent cases.

Given the huge stakes, it’s imperative that universities understand the implications of a poorly drafted and executed NDA — and make sure these documents anticipate every twist and turn along the way. That’s why Tech Transfer Central has scheduled this detailed and practical webinar: Non-Disclosure Agreements in University Research and Commercialization: Drafting Strategies for Maximum IP Protection, scheduled for April 13th. Our patent attorney-TTO executive faculty team will discuss NDAs, their use in academia, and the key legal issues around compliance and enforcement.

For complete program and faculty details or to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

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Australian study examines success factors in university-industry partnerships


By David Schwartz
Published: March 23rd, 2021

As Australia continues to strive for more effective translation of research into commercialized products and companies, a team of researchers from three Australian universities has published a study that may help explain why the country has not seen better results. continue reading »

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Predictiv AI partners with U of Waterloo to accelerate artificial intelligence innovations


By David Schwartz
Published: March 23rd, 2021

Artificial intelligence software company Predictiv AI Inc. has forged a new partnership with the Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute (Waterloo.AI) at the University of Waterloo. The deal will allow Predictiv AI’s subsidiary, AI Labs Inc., to leverage Waterloo.AI’s resources as an extension of the Predictiv AI team. continue reading »

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New reports on research, funding, and patent activity in four key technology sectors


By David Schwartz
Published: March 23rd, 2021

In partnership with Primary Research Group, Tech Transfer Central is offering four new reports filled with detailed information on research activities, funding, contracts, patents in the fast-moving fields of Solar Energy, Alzheimers & Dementia, Unmanned Aerial Systems, and Water Desalination & Decontamination.

If your organization is involved in any of these dynamic research arenas, you won’t want to be without these important resources that can help you navigate the current research and funding environment and gain critical insight into current developments. Each study is jam-packed with dozens of easy to scan charts and figures displaying data and analysis you can’t find in any other publication. Click on any of the titles below for details and tables of contents:

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Johns Hopkins and UroGen Pharma ink sponsored research agreement around use of hydrogel in brain cancer treatment


By David Schwartz
Published: March 23rd, 2021

Johns Hopkins University and UroGen Pharma Ltd. have entered a strategic, exploratory immunotherapy sponsored research agreement to study the potential of checkpoint inhibitors combined with RTGel™ in glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, an aggressive and difficult to treat brain cancer. continue reading »

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Heriot-Watt U links with ASML to develop new laser technology


By David Schwartz
Published: March 23rd, 2021

Heriot-Watt University in Scotland has agreed on a five-year partnership with semiconductor lithography equipment giant ASML in a combined effort to commercialize new laser sources. continue reading »

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Ford and Ford Motor Credit join growing list of companies in HBCU Partnership Challenge


By David Schwartz
Published: March 23rd, 2021

Ford Motor Company and Ford Motor Credit Company last week became the latest in growing list of companies to sign onto the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Partnership Challenge of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus. The Challenge is designed to promote more corporate engagement with HBCUs, develop new career possibilities for students, and improve diversity and inclusion across industries. continue reading »

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