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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Program seeks to convince UNM grads to ‘boomerang’ to hometown jobs


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

Sometimes, it seems, you can almost do “too good a job” at helping tech-oriented university graduates pursue successful careers. The problem you see, is that many of the high prestige universities where graduate school can lead to desirable jobs may be in another state, creating a “brain drain” back home, and losing the potential benefit of a large number of innovators and start-up founders.

Maggie Werner-Washburne, PhD, regents’ professor emeritus in biology at the University of New Mexico, not only recognized the problem but also decided to do something about it. The result is her highly successful STEM Boomerang program.

“I had been to Stanford and worked at Harvard and MIT, and I knew what it took for young kids to go to elite schools,” she says. “I had a lab, and did a very successful mentoring program — we taught emotional intelligence, and building and sustaining teams.”

She was proud of her “great students,” but during a local business reception two summers ago she listened to complaints about a lack of potential high-tech employees in the local workforce. “I had people all over the country who were really great, but these people did not know them,” says Werner-Washburne. “Ours was actually an inverted brain drain state, and I realized I had actually contributed to that because I wanted the students I worked with to have every opportunity. They went to these great labs, moved up, and have done very well.”

She decided to conduct a survey, using the database she had created of all the students (over 400) who had been in her program. “We had stayed in touch for 10-15 years,” she notes. “I asked, if we did this event, would you want to consider New Mexico for a career? Would you come back? Once we hit 80, I thought it was a good number (about 200 people responded in all). I knew what the students did … and I knew that 50% were interested in getting jobs then or in a year.”

One of her goals was to make sure the event would be a benefit to all who showed up — her former students and the businesses and national labs in the area. In order to do that, she started working with all the economic development groups she could find to get to meet businesses. “I had federal money for programs, but I also had money from the university, which I used for the first year,” she says. “We brought back 115 young STEM professionals — 75% from out of state. We had 34 companies including national labs.”

One of the people she reached out to was Elizabeth (Lisa) J. Kuuttila, CEO and chief economic development officer of STC.UNM, the tech transfer arm of The University of New Mexico.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Kuuttila says. Very often, she notes, these students actually want to be in their home state. “They’ve been somewhere else, they realize how great New Mexico is, but they have no clue how to search for STEM opportunities they’re well suited for,” Kuuttila observes.

To say the initial program was a success would be understating it, reports Werner-Washburne. “It ended up being a two-and-one-half-day ‘Woodstock,’” she says. “I knew they’d fall in love with our young STEM professionals. These were PhD students; picture something that happened in San Francisco happening in New Mexico – growing in a way that maintains who we are, what is precious to us. We needed to seed these people into the highest levels of management in the state.”

A detailed article on the boomerang program appears in the January issue of Technology Transfer Tactics. To subscribe and access the full article, along with our entire 11-year archive of best practices and success strategies for TTOs, CLICK HERE.

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U of Arizona launches research corporation to provide solutions for national security


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

The University of Arizona (UA) has launched a new corporation aimed at solving complex problems related to national security. The UA Applied Research Corp. (UA-ARC) will seek to commercialize security-related applications from the university’s advanced research in optics, hypersonics, quantum information science, artificial intelligence and other fields. 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 Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 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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MUSC tech transfer office taps outside company for commercialization help


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) tech transfer office is teaming up with biomedical tech company Cumberland Emerging Technologies (CET) to help the TTO assess and develop new biomedical innovations. continue reading »

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New accelerator aims to increase life science start-up activity and research funding in Maine


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

A new innovation hub in Maine will help researchers, entrepreneurs and investors bridge the gap between the lab and the marketplace. The Driven Biomedical Technology Accelerator Hub will provide funding, mentorship and other resources that are crucial to commercializing life science innovations and launching start-ups. continue reading »

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Purdue researchers aim to save lives with new design for fire-fighting robots


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

Researchers at Purdue University are developing a design for robots that could make firefighters’ jobs less dangerous. continue reading »

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The Strategic Negotiator: A comprehensive manual for negotiating deals at the highest level


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

The Strategic Negotiator breaks the mold on negotiation treatises, taking a singularly practical, real-world approach that you will refer to again and again as you prepare for critical dealmaking activity. In this 800-page resource you’ll find powerful negotiation lessons delivered through case studies and examples that make complex concepts not only clear but interesting and readable. You’ll find virtually every situation you’ll encounter covered in this comprehensive resource by expert David Wanetick, CEO of the Institute of Strategic Negotiations.

Here are just a few of the critical areas covered:

  • how to create leverage
  • how to properly sequence contentious issues
  • how to negotiation around valuations
  • how to use agents effectively
  • how to manage concessions
  • how to overcome deadlocks and impasses

Tech Transfer Central is offering a $300 discount on this new resource. For complete details and a complete table of contents, CLICK HERE >>

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U of Georgia lands license agreement for poultry vaccine


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

The University of Georgia (UGA) Poultry Diagnostic & Research Center has entered into a second licensing agreement with ECO Animal Health Ltd. to commercialize a new vaccine for poultry.

Under the terms of the agreement, ECO has the rights to further develop, register and commercialize the Mycoplasma synoviae vaccine, which was developed by UGA researchers.

“Mycoplasma synoviae is a bacterium that affects predominantly commercial layers and breeding birds worldwide, resulting a five to ten percent loss in egg production and lower egg quality in affected flocks,” says Peter Lawrence, non-executive chairman of ECO’s parent company, the ECO Animal Health Group.

UGA researchers have successfully concluded preliminary proof of concept efficacy and safety studies on the vaccine. “We look forward to working with ECO Animal Health to help further develop this Mycoplasma synoviae vaccine into an approved product,” says Naola Ferguson-Noel, a UGA professor and researcher at the Poultry Diagnostic & Research Center.

Source: Business Wire

University-Industry Engagement Advisor is the first and only how-to newsletter devoted to helping universities expand holistic industry engagement efforts and attract more corporate partnerships. For complete details, CLICK HERE.

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U of Maryland researchers develop fabric that automatically regulates warmth based on conditions


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have developed a fabric that can automatically adapt to its environment in order to keep the wearer comfortable. The fabric is made from a specially engineered yarn coated with a conductive metal. When conditions are warm and moist, the fabric allows infrared radiation (heat) to escape. When conditions become cooler and drier, the fabric reduces the heat that escapes. The reaction is so immediate that, before people even realize they’re cold, the fabric could already be warming them up. continue reading »

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Indiana U launches new start-up accelerator for faculty and staff


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

IU Research and Technology Corp. (IURTC), the tech transfer arm of Indiana University, has launched a new center to support entrepreneurship among faculty and staff. The Quarry will leverage university assets, such as the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund and the Innovate Indiana Fund, to support start-ups launched by faculty and staff. The Quarry will also identify mentors, commercialization partners and potential customers for the start-ups. continue reading »

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U of Delaware researchers secure $200,000 to develop high-tech ankle brace for children with cerebral palsy


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

A University of Delaware (UD) research team has received nearly $200,000 in funding to develop a motorized ankle device that helps children with cerebral palsy (CP). continue reading »

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Comings and goings


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2019

Tucson-based Association of University Research Parks (AURP) has chosen Brian Darmody, current vice president of corporate engagement at the University of Maryland, to serve as CEO.

In his new role, Darmody will promote AURP’s mission of fostering innovation, commercialization and economic growth through academic and industrial collaboration. Darmody plans to expand AURP’s outreach to state governments, research universities, historically black colleges and universities, federal labs, corporations and other communities to promote and build new research parks and innovation districts.

“Universities are developing mini research parks on campuses with research facilities that incorporate space for private companies, student start-ups, and recreational and retail amenities,” says Darmody. “This is an exciting time of change for the research park community.”

Darmody will phase out of his current role at the University of Maryland. He has worked as an administrator at the university for 37 years.

Source: Washington Business Journal

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