Tech Transfer Central
University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Enhance University-Industry Collaboration: Case Study of UGA’s Industry Engagement Team and Industry Express Program

Format: On-Demand Video, DVD, or PDF Transcript
Originally presented: June 14, 2018

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The trend toward industry’s increasing reliance on university collaborations for R&D has become more like a seismic shift. Innovation-starved corporations are eagerly seeking out university partners, but only those universities that have embraced this shift and prepared their campuses, staff, faculty, policies, and planning mechanisms for a new level of integrated industry engagement will reap the benefits.

The University of Georgia is among them. Its research leaders have made it a key priority to enhance industry partnerships based on a model that is “relationship-focused” rather than transactional – and it’s paying off in new sponsored research agreements and other valuable linkages that are sowing the seeds of long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships.

One notable recent effort of the UGA Industry Engagement team is the Industry Express program. This new program benefits industry partners by making the negotiation of research agreements a faster and more transparent process, with three options featuring well-defined terms that help eliminate uncertainty about licensing costs.

Technology Transfer Tactics’ Distance Learning Division has secured a team of presenters from the University of Georgia to present this detailed, case study webinar:

Enhance University-Industry Collaboration: Case Study of UGA’s Industry Engagement Team and Industry Express Program

Please join Crystal Leach, PhD, Director of Industry Collaborations, and Cory Acuff, PhD, Associate Director of Licensing, when they provide an inside look at UGA’s key initiative and strategies:

  • Steps the University of Georgia has taken to build an enhanced industry engagement function with a “relationship-focused” culture including:
    • Hiring new faculty, creating new roles dedicated to industry engagement, and recruiting staff with industry experience
    • Ensuring better alignment across the university and streamlining processes
    • Pursuing new marketing efforts including a new Industry Engagement website
  • Discussion of the design and implementation of the new Industry Express initiative, which serves to highlight UGA’s flexible approach to industry partnerships, including:
    • Achieving cross-functional buy-in, including engaging faculty in program development to facilitate a rapid launch
    • How the program minimizes time spent negotiating research agreements by offering companies three new ways to license IP developed in sponsored research collaborations
    • Options and terms for industry partners

PLUS: You’ll receive the original program materials prepared by the presenters!

Meet your presenters:

Crystal Leach, PhD
Director of Industry Collaborations
University of Georgia

Prior to her current position, Dr. Leach spent 18 years in R&D at Kimberly-Clark, a Fortune 500 global health and hygiene company. As a Research Director there, she led global teams of engineers and scientists that were responsible for bringing over 25 medical products to market globally.

In 2016, she accepted the newly created position of Director of Industry Collaborations at the University of Georgia. In this role, Dr. Leach works with faculty and administration across the university to build industrial partnerships that align with UGA’s research capabilities and strategic priorities. Additionally, she is actively engaged in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at UGA, including serving as a business mentor for the University’s recently awarded NSF Innovation Corps program.   

Dr. Leach holds six U.S. and European patents, has presented at numerous conferences, and in 2005 was named The University of Akron’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the Society for Biomaterials and the Southeastern Medical Device Association.  In 2018 she was elected as a Fellow to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).

Cory Acuff, PhD
Associate Director
Innovation Gateway
University of Georgia

Dr. Acuff has twenty years of experience in the field of academic technology transfer and biotech business development. In that time he has developed many highly regarded and innovative technology commercialization strategies and faculty outreach practices for technologies predominately in the life science sector. This activity has focused on creating high value business practices in the academic environment that enhances technology value and marketability.

Dr. Acuff has been very active in giving back to the academic licensing community through the training and development of more than 50 young technology professionals.  He is also active in supporting the advancement academic technology transfer globally though his involvement in AUTM, nationally and regionally.  

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