University-Industry Engagement Week

U of Toronto activates new search tool that introduces its faculty to the world


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 28th, 2023

A detailed article on the University of Toronto’s new DiscoverResearch portal and its potential to enhance industry engagement appears in the November issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here.

In a move that’s expected to enhance its already robust infrastructure for corporate engagement, sponsored research, public-private collaboration and problem solving, the University of Toronto has activated the DiscoverResearch website, populated with a growing and granular list of faculty profiles that can be accessed with a few key words and the click of a mouse.

A few years in the making, the high-tech search engine scrapes scholarly information from trusted and predesignated internet sites and automatically updates the profiles with detailed information on academic and creative works, patents, research, and leadership. The profiles also include biographical information showing a scholar’s academic and non-academic positions, education, and availability. In essence, the profiles furnish everything a potential partner needs, at least in the early stages, to make an informed decision about who they want to work with on their project, whether it’s a six-month collaboration or a long-term, strategic agreement.

Launched in June, the portal is stocked with more than 2,200 profiles and has already generated 50,000 unique visitors and over 300,000 unique views. The U of T — top 3 in the world for research citations — wants to eventually populate the portal with more than 5,000 profiles, displaying the full might of the university’s capabilities, including researchers at the affiliated hospitals in the Toronto Academic Health Sciences Network (TAHSN), and develop a set of metrics that don’t just measure the site’s traffic, but the results it generates.

Now that DiscoverResearch has been implemented, the five-year agreement with third-party provider Symplectic Elements — which constructed the site — will begin to transition into the maintenance phase as more faculty profiles and more information, like patents and IP, flow into the system.

Before undertaking a project of this size, expense and complexity, U of T had to justify it in terms of its benefits to the research enterprise. While the information DiscoverResearch brings to bear is expansive and its ability to drill down into the sprawling landscape of academia is impressive, the reasoning behind installing the system was quite practical. Leaders there cite their reasoning and expected benefits as follows:

Why it was needed:

— U of T is massive and decentralized, and it can be difficult to quickly find people and expertise.

— That difficulty can be expressed is numbers: 16,500-plus faculty members, many conducting research across three campuses, 17 academic divisions and over 200 units, and several affiliated hospitals.

— Access to untapped potential, a need to further connect U of T researchers with the world.

Value add:

— Value will come from connecting U of T faculty with the audiences that find them through the tool. Intended audience is anyone looking for an expert — media, prospective graduate students, industry, community partners, and fellow academic collaborators.

— Business Development Officers across U of T will use DiscoverResearch to quickly connect industry with relevant experts.

— The site allows industry to self-serve and find relevant expertise.

— It brings significant benefits to faculty members and staff at U of T to leverage data for CVs, support grant applications, internal reporting, and quality assurance.

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Ohio State U partners with Honda to launch advanced battery technology lab


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 28th, 2023

Ohio State University (OSU) has partnered with Honda to launch a new battery cell research and development center.

Located in OSU’s innovation district, the lab will accelerate the domestic development of battery cell materials and manufacturing technologies. It will also provide hands-on learning to aid the development of the advanced battery technology workforce, as well as create a hub for academic and industry connections.

In addition to Honda, OSU’s partners in launching the lab include Schaeffler Americas, JobsOhio, and various state and congressional leaders, including Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who helped raise $4.5 million in federal funding for the project.

“When presented with an opportunity to take the lead in battery innovation, particularly with reputable Ohio employers such as Honda and Schaeffler, it is wise to capitalize on that potential,” says Husted. “Establishing this battery technologies innovation center on Ohio State’s campus will play a key role in ensuring that we continue to be pioneers in automotive and sustainability advancements.”

Peter Mohler, acting president and executive vice president for research, innovation and knowledge at Ohio State, comments, “Ohio State’s commitment to research, innovation and bringing solutions to the world is at the heart of our land-grant mission. We have more reach and impact when we work with our partners at the local, state and federal levels and we join industry-leading partners like Honda and Schaeffler.”

Bob Nelson, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., adds, “We have had a long-standing relationship with Ohio State that goes back more than 30 years, and this new facility is an extension of that great partnership. This facility will be a great resource to train the next-generation workforce in advanced manufacturing technologies.”

Source: Ohio State News

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Webinar next week: University Collaborations with Hemp/Cannabis Companies


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 28th, 2023

Universities like Florida State, Oregon State, Tennessee State, and Cornell University just to name a few, have established hemp-focused research centers that encourage interdisciplinary research and corporate partnering. Education, policy awareness, and the rapidly changing cannabis industry are also driving innovation as well as VC interest. At the same time, medical applications involving cannabinoids are rapidly advancing and gaining research funding as well as investor dollars. 

The industry is growing and opportunities for partnerships abound, but challenges remain.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Robin Pate, Chief Marketing Officer for Green Point Research, K. Lance Anderson, partner at Dickinson Wright PLLC, and Frederick Cawthon, president of the Hemp Alliance of Tennessee and a Member of the Hemp Roundtable for this 60-minute distance learning session: University Collaborations with Hemp/Cannabis Companies: Dispelling Fears and Highlighting Opportunities for Research and Tech Transfer Partnerships, scheduled for next Tuesday, December 5th.

These experts will delve into the unique challenges associated with hemp and cannabis research, including limited funding sources, regulatory compliance issues, and variations in state regulations. They will draw from real-world experiences and explore how university partnerships have, and continue to, contribute to fundable and scalable research results in a wide variety of industry sectors. For complete program details or to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

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Caltech gets historic $400M gift to fund scientists


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 28th, 2023

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has received a $400 million pledge from alum Ross M. Brown, who founded Cryogenic Industries, a massively successful company that developed equipment for cryogenic gas processing.

Caltech will use the gift — one of the largest in its history — to establish the Brown Institute for Basic Science. The institute will oversee and administer the Ross Brown Investigators Award Program, launched in 2020, which identifies promising mid-career chemistry and physics researchers and provides them with a $2 million award extending over five years.

Using the $400 million gift, Caltech will now grant a minimum of eight Brown Investigator Awards per year.

“The Brown Institute for Basic Sciences will be an important source of support for some of the nation’s most outstanding chemists and physicists,” says Caltech Provost David Tirrell.

“The awards program intends to provide these researchers with the financial resources, and the freedom and flexibility that comes with such support, to carry out this work,” says Brown. “I’m really interested in getting research done, and I think that this is a way to really make that happen in directed manner.”

Source: Forbes

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NYU Langone Health partners with Philips to accelerate health tech innovation


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 28th, 2023

New York University (NYU) Langone Health is partnering with Philips to enhance patient care through innovation and technology commercialization.

The eight-year strategic partnership will enable NYU Langone clinicians to collaborate on health technology projects in real-time, with the support of Philips’ innovation and leadership in the field.

Specifically, clinicians will have access to the company’s IntelliSite Pathology solution, enterprise informatics, AI-enabled diagnostic imaging technologies, and the Philips Capsule Medical Device Information Platform (MDIP), which will enable them to simplify workflows and unlock the power of health data.

“Access to transformative health care technologies developed by Philips will provide our researchers with countless opportunities to advance knowledge and develop new diagnostic and treatment modalities that enhance patient care, safety and outcomes,” says Dafna Bar-Sagi, NYU Langone’s chief scientific officer, executive vice president and vice dean for science.

In addition to the technologies being made available to NYU Langone, the two organizations have also deepened their existing partnership through the development of new research programs initially focused on a roadmap for the future of digital pathology, patient monitoring, ultrasound, and MRI.

“NYU Langone has always been a trailblazer when it comes to technology adoption and providing world-class patient care,” says Julia Strandberg, Chief Business Leader of Connected Care for Philips. “With the adoption of these technologies, they are at the forefront of leveraging a new enterprise monitoring platform and business model to help enable a better patient experience, improved staff productivity and reduced cost of care. At the same time, they understand the real value of technology allowing clinicians to focus on what matters most — providing the best care possible to their patients.”

Source: Philips

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Corporate Tiering Strategies: Identifying and Nurturing High-Value Industry Partnerships


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 28th, 2023

The landscape for corporate partnerships is vast and wide, while industry engagement and corporate relations staff members can usually be counted on one hand. That makes efficiency of effort critical. Time and resources spent marketing to new potential partners and nurturing the relationships you already have must be laser-focused on where you can realize the greatest return on those efforts.

Corporate tiering, a strategy for identifying your most valuable partnerships as well as your best prospects — and for maximizing those engagements in a strategic way for the university — has been utilized by Virginia Tech and the University of Washington for years with great success. Using a data-focused approach, the corporate tiering strategy allows the schools to sift through the thousands of sponsors providing gifts and other research support to identify and cultivate the most important relationships.

Our Distance Learning Division teamed up with the industry engagement leaders at both schools to produce this detailed partnership-building program: Corporate Tiering Strategies: Identifying and Nurturing High-Value Industry Partnerships, available in on-demand video and transcript, as well as DVD.

For complete program details, click here.

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U of Utah creating network of academic and industry partners to boost semiconductor research and education


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 28th, 2023

The University of Utah (U of U) is establishing a statewide network of academic and industry partners to advance semiconductor research, education and workforce development.

The Utah Network for Integrated Computing and Semiconductor Research and Education (UNICOS) will create a shared curriculum between colleges and universities throughout the state. U of U’s nano-fabrication lab, the Utah Nanofab, will serve as the central hands-on training facility, providing crucial equipment and other resources that might otherwise be inaccessible to students at other Utah universities.

“The objective of UNICOS is to increase the overall quality of education and training for the semiconductor area,” says Hanseup Kim, professor at U of U and director of UNICOS. “High school graduates, associate degree students, master’s, PhD — all skill levels should be able to come if they want to gain those experiences.”

Another goal is to boost semiconductor workforce development by creating a certificate program that provides hands-on job training courses for all educational levels. UNICOS will engage with industry partners including Texas Instruments to finalize the contents of the courses to ensure they meet industry demands.

“We are looking currently for support from the state to finance those programs,” says Berardi Sensale-Rodriguez, professor at U of U and director of the Utah Nanofab. “What we want in the future, through this ecosystem that the center will create, is [to] be able to get bigger, larger grants that have a bigger impact.”

Source: The Daily Utah Chronicle

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UNSW partnership with maritime robotics company named Best Australasian Industry Collaboration


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 28th, 2023

A collaborative research project launched by the University of South Wales (UNSW) Sydney and OCIUS Technology, a leading innovator in maritime robotics and machine learning, has been recognized for its strong focus on student engagement and economic development.

The UNSW/OCIUS partnership, launched in 2015, has been named Best Australasian Industry Collaboration by Knowledge Commercialisation Australia (KCA) through its Australian Research Commercialisation Awards program.

Through the partnership, OCIUS collaborates closely with UNSW researchers to develop robotic, uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) that can cover significant distances and undertake challenging missions that would otherwise put boat crews in danger. UNSW provides the company with access to its facilities and equipment, while OCIUS provides UNSW students with the opportunity to gain real-world experience through internships and industry projects.

“The collaboration between OCIUS and UNSW is an example of how academia and industry can come together to drive transformative solutions and societal impact with positive academic and commercial implications,” says Stephen Rodda, professor and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Industry and Innovation at UNSW.

“The biggest benefit of being with UNSW is the access to students,” says OCIUS founder and CEO Robert Dane. “Then there’s the formal research agreements we’re doing, and the lab and office space we operate the business from. The partnership with UNSW gives us the credibility that comes from working with a world-class university.”  

Tim Boyle, director and chair of the 2023 KCA Australasian Research Commercialisation Awards, says that winners such as UNSW and OCIUS “are exemplars of top-tier work undertaken by technology transfer and research commercialisation professionals,” and that they play “a pivotal role in ensuring that groundbreaking discoveries are translated into tangible products and services for the benefit of society and the economy.”

Source: Inside UNSW

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Hit all the hot topics at the UIDP Contracting Forum


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 28th, 2023

Jan. 24-25, 2024 | SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center

The UIDP Contracting Forum brings industry and academic contracting pros together for two days of candid, productive conversations on topics ranging from data issues to pre-negotiating IP terms, and from post-COVID work stoppages to early terminations.

This event is designed for seasoned contracting professionals. These sessions will not be recorded or available virtually, so plan to be there to get the most out of incredible discussions and networking with your peers.

See the agenda and session facilitators, and register today!

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Purdue joins the global consortium of Trimble Technology Labs


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 14th, 2023

A detailed article on the Purdue University Polytechnic Institute’s partnership with construction technology firm Trimble, joining more than 20 other research institutions worldwide in the company’s consortium approach to university collaborations, appears in the November issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here.

A simple vendor relationship grew into a headline-grabbing strategic collaboration with the potential for global reach when engineering heavyweight Purdue University entered into a five-year agreement with construction technology firm Trimble to establish a sponsored, branded learning lab within its Polytechnic Institute.

Hosted in the School of Construction Management Technology, the institute is now home to the Trimble Technology Lab, which ties the Boilermakers into a worldwide network of universities that have established similar Trimble footprints on their campuses, from Amherst, Massachusetts, to Seoul, South Korea.

Expected to open in early 2024, the lab will occupy a ground-floor, corner space at Purdue’s sparkling new engineering complex — the $140-million Dudley and Lambertus Halls, which comprise a combined 255,000 square feet and house state-of-the-art research labs, design studios, active learning spaces, student success offices, faculty offices, and recruiting and collaborative spaces.

Representatives of both Purdue and Trimble have expressed high hopes for the Trimble Technology Lab collaboration — which includes a multi-million-dollar in-kind donation of software licenses and hardware — and fully expect it to be renewed at the end of the inaugural five-year term. With multiple prongs — access to and training of engineering students, workforce development, faculty research and engagement — the collaboration is viewed not so much as a new beginning, but as an amplification of the success already enjoyed by two established leaders in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

Highlights of the agreement include:

— Multi-million-dollar in-kind donation of substantial software licenses and hardware;

— Five-year term with semiannual progress reports and a renewal option;

— Annually, nearly 600 students are expected to cycle through the lab;

— Integration of Trimble technology into existing Purdue curricula;

— Trimble-branded lab on a ground-floor corner space at Dudley and Lambertus Halls;

— Multiple software licenses to Trimble programs donated to establish the lab;

— Donated hardware includes the Trimble® XR10 Hololens, a mixed reality tool for the construction industry, with a plan to donate additional equipment over the five years of the agreement;

— Lab support and training provided by Trimble’s regional resellers and distributors;

— Visiting Professionals Program hosted by Trimble for tech talks and product demos with faculty and students;

— Trimble technology available for use on campus projects such as renovations, project management and asset management;

— In the event of a leadership transition on the Purdue end of the agreement, Trimble to have critical input into the evaluation and vetting of the replacement.

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U Penn partners with UCL start-up to accelerate development of qubit chips for quantum computing


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 14th, 2023

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is partnering with Quantum Motion, a start-up from University College London (UCL), to accelerate the company’s development of silicon qubit chips for quantum computing.

Under the partnership, a team of researchers at Penn’s quantum hardware lab will test the fundamental limits of qubit control using Quantum Motion’s chips. Led by Assistant Professor Anthony Sigillito, the research team brings technical expertise in developing new methods to encode and control electron spin qubits.

According to Quantum Motion, the partnership will help further its vision of using silicon to develop scalable quantum computers.

“Anthony Sigillito’s group is leading work to enable devices with improved qubit-to-qubit connectivity and new control approaches, and we’re looking forward to working with him to develop a truly scalable quantum processor,” says John Morton, co-founder and CTO of Quantum Motion.

As part of the collaboration, the start-up will fund a postdoctoral scholar and a PhD student for three years, as well as invest in a significant expansion of Penn’s quantum hardware testing infrastructure to enable routine experimental testing of Quantum Motion’s chips.

“Quantum Motion is taking a systematic approach to understanding and overcoming the hard problems that must be tackled in order to build a long-term technology platform,” says Sigillito.

“Scalability is the key theme in my lab, and it is clear to me that even in its early days, Quantum Motion has been assessing the prospects for scaling to larger systems. There is a tremendous amount of talent at Quantum Motion, and I’m excited that my lab will be able to interact with the Quantum Motion team on a deep level.”

Source: The Engineer

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University Collaborations with Hemp/Cannabis Companies: Dispelling Fears and Highlighting Opportunities for Research and Tech Transfer Partnerships


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 14th, 2023

As the hemp and cannabis industry blossoms, it’s not uncommon to overhear university administrators caution against working with companies due to regulatory concerns and fears over difficulty obtaining federal research funding. Fortunately, these fears have begun to subside as various agencies have provided clarity on their policies, and the passage of the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (HR 8454) now assures access to research materials that were previously difficult to procure or supply.

Universities like Florida State, Oregon State, Tennessee State, and Cornell University just to name a few, have established hemp-focused research centers that encourage interdisciplinary research and corporate partnering. Education, policy awareness, and the rapidly changing cannabis industry are also driving innovation as well as VC interest. At the same time, medical applications involving cannabinoids are rapidly advancing and gaining research funding as well as investor dollars. 

The industry is growing and opportunities for partnerships abound, but challenges remain…

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Robin Pate, Chief Marketing Officer for Green Point Research, K. Lance Anderson, partner at Dickinson Wright PLLC, and Frederick Cawthon, president of the Hemp Alliance of Tennessee and a Member of the Hemp Roundtable for this 60-minute distance learning session: University Collaborations with Hemp/Cannabis Companies: Dispelling Fears and Highlighting Opportunities for Research and Tech Transfer Partnerships, scheduled for December 5th.

These experts will delve into the unique challenges associated with hemp and cannabis research, including limited funding sources, regulatory compliance issues, and variations in state regulations. They will draw from real-world experiences and explore how university partnerships have, and continue to, contribute to fundable and scalable research results in a wide variety of industry sectors. For complete program details or to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

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U of Waterloo opens metal additive manufacturing lab with plans for industry partnerships


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 14th, 2023

The University of Waterloo has opened a metal additive manufacturing lab that could enable new partnerships with companies looking to grow and test their products.

The Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Laboratory (MSAM lab) will provide a more efficient and sustainable way to prototype and manufacture a range of products in sectors including aerospace, healthcare, and automotive technology.

The 15,000-square-foot facility features $25 million worth of new equipment, including a quad-laser powder bed fusion machine to explore new methods of metal 3D printing. The lab aims to serve as a hub for future metals research, as well as to support innovative local companies in their research and development efforts.

“With the current geopolitical issues and shortage of supply chains, 3D printing technology will be able to help a lot in minimizing steps in supply chains,” says Ehsan Toyserkani, professor at the University of Waterloo and founder of the MSAM lab. “We will be able to rely on local manufacturing rather than other countries to make some components.”

The new lab will also provide students with the opportunity to use more advanced 3D printing machines and learn from cutting-edge technology.

Source: CityNews Kitchener

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Three U.S. research universities receive historic naming gifts


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 14th, 2023

In the first two weeks of November, three U.S. research universities have reported historic, big dollar naming gifts for academic programs.

The donations include $25 million to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), $30 million to the University of South Carolina (USC) and $36 million to the University of Nevada, Reno.

CMU’s $25 million gift comes from trustee Ray Lane and his wife, Stephanie, and will be used to support the university’s Computational Biology Department, which includes faculty in the biological sciences, computer science, and statistics and data science. CMU will rename it the Ray and Stephanie Lane Computational Biology Department.

“Ray and Stephanie Lane have been passionate advocates for the power and possibilities of computational biology since the department’s formation,” says CMU president Farnam Jahanian. “With their support, our researchers are making life-changing discoveries and creating life-saving treatments. I am deeply grateful for their investment in Carnegie Mellon University.”

USC received its gift from one of its alumni, nationally prominent trial lawyer Joe Rice. The $30 million donation will go to USC’s School of Law, which the university will rename the Joseph F. Rice School of Law.

The gift will be used to establish an endowed student scholarship fund and at least four new endowed professorships. It will also support students completing a children’s law concentration, enhance student career development, and fund other educational priorities in the law school.

“An investment of this magnitude is often described as transformative, but this word does not do justice to the far-reaching impact that Joe Rice’s gift promises for the University of South Carolina,” says USC President Michael Amiridis.

The University of Nevada, Reno received its $36 million gift — the largest in the university’s 149-year history — from the George W. Gillemot Foundation. The donation will be used to create the George W. Gillemot Aerospace Engineering Department within the College of Engineering, as well as to enhance the technology within the George W. Gillemot Dome in the university’s Fleischmann Planetarium.

“The University is humbled and honored to be a part of fulfilling the legacy of George W. Gillemot and his vision of preparing exceptional aerospace engineers to meet the needs of the growing aeronautics and aerospace industries,” said University of Nevada, Reno president Brian Sandoval. “This milestone gift from the George W. Gillemot Foundation speaks to the strong commitment of the Gillemot Trustees to meet the needs of Nevada’s future, as an investment in the success of our students, faculty and staff whose innovative work is driving the next great chapter in our state’s history.”

Source: Forbes

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SBIR and STTR Step-by-Step: A How-To Guide for Preparing Winning NIH and NSF Proposals


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 14th, 2023

For many university start-ups, obtaining the non-dilutive funding available through the NIH and NSF SBIR/STTR programs is a critical bridge to the future, allowing continuing development and setting the stage for future investments and scale-up. But all SBIR/STTR proposals are not created equal, and 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 Tech Transfer Central has produced SBIR and STTR Step-by-Step: A How-To Guide for Preparing Winning NIH and NSF Proposals, a two-session distance learning collection filled with clear and proven guidance from an expert with a long track record of crafting successful applications.

Our program leader, Sonia Vohnout, President & Founder of OppsSpot, LLC, reviews step-by-step how to apply and write compelling proposals for submission to the NIH and NSF. Focusing on the NIH and NSF application process, respectively, each program covers strategies for telling your innovation’s story, capitalizing on your strategic partnerships, clearly identifying your customer market, and structuring your proposal to capture the reviewer’s full attention. Both programs also provide detailed guidance on:

  • The submission process step-by-step, section by section
  • How to clearly explain and justify your project’s fundability
  • Providing evidence of value via letters of support, spotlighting team members with crucial skillsets
  • Best practices for using graphs, data and photos to help articulate your story and mission
  • Critical submission deadlines and other requirements

For complete details or to order, click here.

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LSU campuses partner with Ingalls Information Security to grow the cybersecurity workforce in Louisiana


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 14th, 2023

Louisiana State University of Alexandra (LSUA) and LSU Shreveport (LSUS) are collaborating with Ingalls Information Security to grow and strengthen the cybersecurity workforce in Louisiana.

Under a formalized internship program, cohorts of up to four LSU students at a time can receive course credit while working as junior cybersecurity analysts at Ingalls, operating out of the company’s Security Operations Center (SOC) to help banks, insurance companies, hospitals and other organizations to secure their networks and data.

“Operating a SOC requires multiple tiers of analysts, from beginners to experts,” says Jason Ingalls, founder and CEO of the company. “It provides an excellent learning opportunity for junior analysts to come in and get their bearings. We can hand junior analysts a playbook of things they have to do every day, and then have more senior analysts evaluate their work and forward it on to our tier-two folks who have certifications and college degrees — maybe both.”

According to Ingalls, the workforce gap for cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. can be difficult to fully appreciate, especially on the local or regional scale.

“There are a lot of different cybersecurity products available on the market, but these tools are only as effective as the teams maintaining, monitoring and using them,” Ingalls says. “Cybersecurity tools alone just aren’t enough. We need people here to protect organizations in Louisiana, and that’s why our focus is on growing talent, including by partnering with LSU.”

LSUA junior Elizabeth Gallo recently completed the internship Ingalls program while working toward her bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“I’m so thankful I took the initiative to apply for the internship program because it’s been, honestly, a complete game-changer for me,” Gallo says. “I’m now certain I want a career in cybersecurity, and I’m looking at double majoring at LSUA, so I’ll also graduate with a degree in computer science or cybersecurity.”

Source: Bossier Press-Tribune

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UIDPVirtual 2023 coming Dec. 5-7, 2023 — Early registration rates end Friday


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 14th, 2023

UIDPVirtual 2023 brings the best practices and prized experience-based takeaways you rely on from UIDP directly to your desktop. UIDP is leveraging the conversational capabilities of the online experience to facilitate robust idea exchange, empowering participants to share, collaborate, and solve in real time.

The program is keenly focused on practical content. Expert speakers will set the stage each day with fresh insight into the day’s theme. Then, participants will break out into powerfully interactive “deep dive” sessions to develop and amplify key learnings. Sessions will be focused into three thematic areas:

  • Tuesday: Partnership Impact: Innovation Ecosystems
  • Wednesday: Talent Exchange
  • Thursday: International Partnerships

Your entire organization can benefit from UIDPVirtual 2023 with a low institutional access rate. Enjoy a diverse agenda with real-world applications for everyone on your team, Early registration discounts end this Friday. Learn more.

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Court rulings, legislation putting some DEI collaborations in jeopardy


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 7th, 2023

A detailed article on the recent judicial and legislative threats to DEI-focused partnerships between universities and their industry partners appears in the November issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here.

DEI collaborations between universities and their industry partners have been steadily on the rise in recent years; academic institutions appreciate the many benefits of a diverse student body, while corporations see similar value in a diverse workforce. But these laudable goals may be on a collision course with recent court cases — including a Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action — and new legislation on the state level.

For example, an Atlanta VC, Fearless Fund, had its grant program for Black women sued by American Alliance for Equal Rights, which also sued two law firms over their diversity fellowships. That same group appears poised to challenge many other programs that give any preference based on race, gender, or other categories of the under-represented population.

Meanwhile, U.S. News & World Report cited a report by the Chronicle of Higher Education that as of July 2023, 40 bills had been introduced in 22 states that would place restrictions on DEI initiatives at public colleges. At the time, legislation to limit or prohibit using federal or state funding to support DEI offices or staff at public colleges, mandating diversity training, using diversity statements in hiring and promotion, or using identity-based preferences in hiring and admissions had officially passed in five states: Florida, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

These and related activities seeking to challenge diversity efforts at universities have already begun to have an impact on some university-industry collaborations, says Lisa L. Mueller, JD, a partner in the law firm of Casimir Jones, S.C., in Middleton, WI, and chair of AUTM’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion committee.

“There is a lot of concern,” she says. “Several states have passed laws banning diversity statements.” She notes that there are concerns, for example, that this may lead to less diverse faculty. “If so, that will obviously be translated into less diversity going to industry, or collaborating with industry,” she asserts.

“A lot of states have laws saying there will be no more mandatory diversity training; how do you attract students if you do not have diversity faculty or training?” she continues. “This fear could escalate. Already you have a lack of women and minorities in STEM in general to work and collaborate with industry. All of these programs that have been trying to increase the [inclusion of underrepresented communities] are at risk in light of the Supreme Court decision.”

In fact, one such program is beyond ‘at risk;’ it no longer can operate out of its university. The program, called “Equalize,” faced a Title IX complaint. (Title IX bars federally funded education programs and activities from discriminating on the basis of sex). The program was designed to encourage women to engage in start-ups through pitch events and other entrepreneurship programming for women.

“We got a letter from DOE that essentially said we were not compliant with Title IX obligations,” shares Nichole Mercier, assistant vice chancellor for Washington University in St. Louis and the managing director of the Office of Technology Management. “We would have had to essentially offer what we offer to women to anybody who would apply.”

It appears that the greatest challenges may lie at the program level, rather than in the corporate engagement office. Many of those offices, like the one at the University of Mississippi, continue to offer and move forward with industry collaborations that focus on diversity despite the current climate. Says Hughes Miller, director of industry giving and engagement at Ole Miss, “I know we are continuing to talk about various [DEI] initiatives and programs with industry partners, and they’re plugged in and as engaged as they want to be.” As for challenges stemming from judicial or legislative decisions? “They’ve not come up yet,” he reports.

“It varies from state to state and whether an institution is public or private; obviously private universities have a lot more flexibility than public,” he continues. “Also, you have different political dynamics that vary from campus to campus.”

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University Collaborations with Hemp/Cannabis Companies: Dispelling Fears and Highlighting Opportunities for Research and Tech Transfer Partnerships


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 7th, 2023

As the hemp and cannabis industry blossoms, it’s not uncommon to overhear university administrators caution against working with companies due to regulatory concerns and fears over difficulty obtaining federal research funding. Fortunately, these fears have begun to subside as various agencies have provided clarity on their policies, and the passage of the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (HR 8454) now assures access to research materials that were previously difficult to procure or supply.

Universities like Florida State, Oregon State, Tennessee State, and Cornell University just to name a few, have established hemp-focused research centers that encourage interdisciplinary research and corporate partnering. Education, policy awareness, and the rapidly changing cannabis industry are also driving innovation as well as VC interest. At the same time, medical applications involving cannabinoids are rapidly advancing and gaining research funding as well as investor dollars. 

The industry is growing and opportunities for partnerships abound, but challenges remain…

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Robin Pate, Chief Marketing Officer for Green Point Research, K. Lance Anderson, partner at Dickinson Wright PLLC, and Frederick Cawthon, president of the Hemp Alliance of Tennessee and a Member of the Hemp Roundtable — for this 60-minute distance learning session: University Collaborations with Hemp/Cannabis Companies: Dispelling Fears and Highlighting Opportunities for Research and Tech Transfer Partnerships, scheduled for December 5th.

These experts will delve into the unique challenges associated with hemp and cannabis research, including limited funding sources, regulatory compliance issues, and variations in state regulations. They will draw from real-world experiences and explore how university partnerships have, and continue to, contribute to fundable and scalable research results in a wide variety of industry sectors. For complete program details or to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

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U of Oregon partners with sustainable textile company to launch innovation lab


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 7th, 2023

The University of Oregon (UO) is partnering with global sustainable textile company NTX to launch an innovation lab in Portland.

The NTX Portland Bridge Innovation Lab, the company’s first U.S. facility, will provide UO students and faculty members with access to state-of-the-art technologies, prototype facilities and mentorship to help them develop and commercialize sports gear and other products using NTX’s waterless, low-carbon textile production systems.

“Launching a partnership with NTX is an exciting opportunity and directly ties into our mission to provide a world-class education to our students,” says UO President Karl Scholz. “We strive for excellence in curiosity-driven scholarship, and to serve society — as a driver of ideas, innovation and prosperity. Bridges Innovation Center adds another layer of opportunity for students and faculty in our distinctive sports product programs, and eventually in more areas across the university.”

The partnership could also benefit the larger Pacific Northwest region, which is home to more than 500 companies in the sports and outdoor industries. With the launch of the new lab at UO, those companies will be able to test and make updates to textiles more quickly.

“Bridges isn’t just a hub of technology. It’s where creativity meets practical application,” says NTX founder and chairman Kalvin Chung. “Here, students’ fresh ideas and researchers’ expertise combine, not just to imagine but to forge real-world solutions in textile sustainability. It’s about impactful innovation, turning sustainable concepts into industry standards for a more responsible future.”

Source: Around the O

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Chicago Quantum Exchange expands partnership with Boeing


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 7th, 2023

The Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE), a multi-institutional quantum research hub based at the University of Chicago (UChicago), is expanding its partnership with Boeing through a new collaboration that will support researchers in the development and commercialization of new quantum technologies.

Boeing has made a new commitment of more than $3.5 million to fund technical workshops at CQE and support new research projects that stem from those workshops, as well as graduate student and postdoctoral fellows and early-career researchers whose work moves the quantum field in new directions.

CQE serves a variety of research institutions across the region, including Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University. Boeing has been a partner of CQE since 2019.

“Our combined partnerships among university researchers, national labs, start-ups, and leading businesses like Boeing make the Chicago region uniquely positioned to lead the next generation of quantum science and engineering,” says Juan de Pablo, Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories and Global Initiatives at UChicago. “Boeing’s support and collaboration are vital to our collective success.”

Boeing’s quantum portfolio manager Jay Lowell comments, “Boeing is committed to working with CQE to develop and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers who will advance quantum sensing and networking technologies.”

Source: UChicago News

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25 case studies featured in “Strategic University-Industry Partnerships and Holistic Corporate Engagement”


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 7th, 2023

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, including a complete table of contents.

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U of British Columbia researchers partner with Honda scientists to develop robot “skin”


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 7th, 2023

Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have collaborated with scientists at Honda to develop a smart “skin” for robots that could open the door for new innovations in robotics and prosthetics.

The silicone rubber skin can be stretched over a prosthetic arm or robotic limb, with built-in sensors that provide touch sensitivity to the machines, enabling more dexterous movements and gentler handling capabilities.

“Our sensor can sense several types of forces, allowing a prosthetic or robotic arm to respond to tactile stimuli with dexterity and precision,” says study author Mirza Saquib Sarwar. “For instance, the arm can hold fragile objects like an egg or a glass of water without crushing or dropping them.”

The skin’s soft texture also makes machines more lifelike and approachable for human users.

“This unique combination is key to adoption of the technology for robots that are in contact with people,” says John Madden, senior study author.

According to the researchers, the technology is easy to manufacture and therefore scalable to meet varying requirements.

“As sensors continue to evolve to be more skinlike and can also detect temperature and even damage, there is a need for robots to be smarter about which sensors to pay attention to and how to respond,” adds Madden. “Developments in sensors and artificial intelligence will need to go hand in hand.”

Source: IOT World Today

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Dive deeper at UIDPVirtual 2023: Dec. 5-7, 2023 | Early registration rates end Nov. 17


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 7th, 2023

UIDPVirtual 2023 brings the best practices and prized experience-based takeaways you rely on from UIDP directly to your desktop. UIDP is leveraging the conversational capabilities of the online experience to facilitate robust idea exchange, empowering participants to share, collaborate, and solve in real time.

The program is keenly focused on practical content. Expert speakers will set the stage each day with fresh insight into the day’s theme. Then, participants will break out into powerfully interactive “deep dive” sessions to develop and amplify key learnings. Sessions will be focused into three thematic areas:

  • Tuesday: Partnership Impact: Innovation Ecosystems
  • Wednesday: Talent Exchange
  • Thursday: International Partnerships

Your entire organization can benefit from UIDPVirtual 2023 with a low institutional access rate. Enjoy a diverse agenda with real-world applications for everyone on your team, just $500 for member organizations ($800 for non-member organizations). Learn more.

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Three-way data science partnership with insurer gets new funding, new programs


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 30th, 2023

A detailed article on the partnership between Marquette, UW-Milwaukee, and Northwestern Mutual appears in the October issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here.

After five years of partnership in developing and then growing the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute (NMDSI), Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) have renewed their deal with Northwestern Mutual. Together they’ll contribute another $35 million in funding, on top of the $40 million pledged in the initial agreement. The insurance company and its two university partners plan to delve deeper into joint research, compete for large federal grants, begin the process of further embedding data science across curricula at both campuses, and broaden its reach to include other academic, corporate, and nonprofit partners.

This second round of funding represents the consensus that while the first five years were a success — the NMDSI has already completed three sponsored research projects, awarded more than $17 million in grants and hosted multiple cross-institute research seminars — much work remains to be done.

Beginning this month, the NMDSI will roll out four programs, each fleshed out and ideated during the first five years of the partnership. Requests for proposals will be sent out for faculty-driven research; students and faculty will be brought together for innovative data science work; new data-infused courses will be developed at Marquette and UWM; and external, cross-disciplinary talent will be identified that can bring cutting-edge data science tools and techniques into classrooms. All of this while cross-institute researchers continue to work on projects directly sponsored by Northwestern Mutual.

The NMDSI will fund these endeavors annually for the next five years, creating a pipeline of research, ideas, and talent that the leadership at NMDSI hopes will filter down throughout both campuses, with data science finding its way into departments that aren’t typically associated with the field — law, the humanities, the social sciences and even theology. In the process, the NMDSI looks to become a national model of university-industry collaboration.

The governance of the partnership is comprehensive, with representatives from all three partners at the executive steering level all the way down to staff. Jonathan Stark, the inaugural executive director of the NMDSI, is an employee of Northwestern Mutual, while co-director Dr. Purush Papatla represents UWM, and co-director Scott Rex represents Marquette. In terms of funding, the partner contributions are roughly equal.

Stark, brought on in May 2022, says he walked into an organization that was primed for strategic growth. Citing long-standing collaboration and established lines of communication among the partners, the substantial funding commitments, and the governance structure, Stark says it will be easy to continue advancing the institute’s mission. And as executive director, part of his job is to envision what the institute will become and how it will function over the long haul.

“As we build this ecosystem as a center of excellence in the core areas, one critical element is the sustainability model,” Stark says. “What happens after these five years? How are we going to build a revenue structure or bring in funding, in particular the research funding, to keep existing programs up and running while also keeping the lights on?”

But in the meantime, NMDSI has a big package of initiatives it is unveiling starting this month.

Data Licensing, Protection and Policy for Universities is a distance learning collection featuring two outstanding programs that combined will give you a clear roadmap for how to nail down data policies, address the tricky issues related to privacy, effectively protect your data-driven innovations, and license your valuable data to third parties while steering clear of legal potholes.

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UT Dallas and UT Southwestern partner with Texas Instruments to boost development of medical technologies


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 30th, 2023

The University of Texas (UT) Southwestern and UT Dallas have partnered with Texas Instruments (TI) to launch a new facility supporting the development of new medical technologies.

Located at UT Southwestern, the Texas Instruments Biomedical Engineering and Sciences Building will support the work of dozens of faculty members from UT Southwestern and UT Dallas, providing lab facilities, collaborative spaces and a large design studio equipped with a metal fabrication shop and rooms for 3D printing.

“As the momentum of biomedical innovation has continued to accelerate across Texas and especially the Dallas-Fort Worth region, the need for facilities that can foster underlying research to produce solutions for unmet medical needs and train the next generation of innovators is critical,” says Daniel K. Podolsky, president of UT Southwestern.

“This new facility will cultivate a distinctive educational environment to advance transformational bioengineering that will improve patient care, facilitate advances in related fields such as artificial intelligence, molecular imaging, robotics, and genetic engineering, and further solidify North Texas as a hub for biomedical innovation,” Podolsky says.

Haviv Ilan, president and CEO of Texas Instruments, comments, “We are proud to serve as a catalyst for the environment being dedicated today, where scientists, engineers, and other innovators can find fresh solutions that will lead to new therapies, new drugs, and new devices to help patients. I’m personally inspired by what a shared vision has led to — a center for life-improving innovations we can only begin to imagine.”

Source: UT Southwestern

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Generative AI Use in TTOs: Realizing the Potential and Mitigating the Pitfalls


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 30th, 2023

Generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT offer enormous potential to tech transfer and other commercialization offices in terms of efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. AI can automate preparatory tasks, freeing up staff for more strategic, creative, and high-value activities. It can also aid in decision-making by:

  • Summarizing results from public sources: patent databases, scientific literature, and news.
  • Helping populate forms and databases, saving considerable time and resources. 
  • Generating content for promotion and marketing.

However, there are risks associated with AI, including potential issues with data privacy and security, biases in AI algorithms, AI “hallucinations,” and others. That’s why knowing how to realize the potential of AI for TTO cost savings and efficiency while mitigating these risks is critical. 

To address the benefits of AI tools as well as the potential risks, we’re partnering in this timely program with Joe Runge, JD, MS, Associate Director of the UNeTech Institute, and Mary Albertson, CLP, RTTP, Director of the Office of Technology Licensing at Georgia Institute of Technology. These two early adopters will share their experiences with implementing ChatGPT in this enlightening one-hour webinar: Generative AI Use in TTOs: Realizing the Potential and Mitigating the Pitfalls, scheduled for November 30th. This program will discuss in detail how each office has used AI-enabled programs and ChatGPT while addressing key challenges you may face when implementing these tools within your office.

For complete details or to register, click here.

Also coming soon:

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Morehouse receives major donations from Google and Prologis


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 30th, 2023

Morehouse College, one of the nation’s leading HBCUs, has received $4 million from two major companies to build an additional campus center and launch new programs for technology and real estate.

Morehouse has received a $1 million gift from Google, which the school will dedicate towards building the new campus center. Slated for completion in 2026, the center will have dining facilities, student advising services, study spaces and more.

In addition to the gift, Google will create a technology hub on campus known as the Google Annex. The tech giant will pilot these hubs at five HBCUs including Morehouse.

Morehouse also received $3 million from logistics real estate giant Prologis. The donation will help the college create an endowed fund to support the new Morehouse Real Estate Institute, which aims to diversify management in the real estate industry.

“We see this as critical because real estate is the largest single asset class in our economy,” says Morehouse president David Thomas.

The campus center and real estate institute are two projects included in Morehouse’s ambitious $500 million capital campaign, launched last year. According to Thomas, the college is nearly halfway to its fundraising goal, with about $240 million raised.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

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South East Technological University partners with Teagasc to launch new brewing and distilling hub in Ireland


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 30th, 2023

South East Technological University (SETU) in Ireland is collaborating with Teagasc, a state agency providing research and education in agriculture and food development, to create a national brewing and distilling innovation hub.

The National Centre for Brewing and Distilling (NCBD) will focus on the operation of facilities for testing raw materials for malting and the production of batches of specialized malts for the craft beer sector, as well as test batches for larger distilling companies.

NCBD will also support education, training, research and innovation within the beverage industry in Ireland, encompassing all stages and stakeholders from education, agronomy, and production to finished product.

SETU will work with Teagasc on a range of initiatives to support the new center, including industry engagement, collaborative research, education, training, and community engagement.

“This collaboration is a game-changer for the expanding malting, brewing and distilling sector in Ireland,” says David Ryan of SETU. “As well as formalizing the existing relationship with Teagasc and the NCBD, it strategically links with SETU’s strengths in supporting the agri sector and indigenous food industries.”

Lisa Ryan, manager at the new center, comments, “This collaboration makes perfect sense, since both SETU and the National Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Teagasc have a shared goal of enhancing and developing the next generation of maltsters, brewers, and distillers to support these industries, which have created such exciting career opportunities in Ireland. The NCBD and SETU partnership will support hands-on training through the NCBD, giving the graduates a distinct advantage when entering the marketplace.”

Source: The Nationalist

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Employing Metrics in Technology Transfer and University-Industry Engagement


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 30th, 2023

In a perfect world, the metrics used to gauge the performance of tech transfer and industry engagement offices would clearly identify areas of strength and improvement while also pinpointing weak spots needing extra attention. The data would provide a meaningful assessment of both how you’re doing and how to get better, and also offer a fair report card on your team’s effectiveness in achieving a set of well-defined goals.

But that perfect world is often not the reality for many offices, whose metrics may seem less than meaningful and less than fair. Are strictly financial metrics an accurate reflection of your office’s broader contribution to the university? Is goal setting and achievement really within your control? Are data normalized so your results and judged against true peers? While disclosures, licenses, start-ups, partnerships, and research dollars will always factor in, what other metrics can give a fuller picture of activity and impact?

To help you assess and refine your performance measurement and metrics, we’ve produced Employing Metrics in Technology Transfer and University-Industry Engagement, a three-session collection of distance learning programs filled with expert guidance on how to improve the way your office’s activity and results are tracked, analyzed, and judged.

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

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