October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

Industry and University Collaborations: How Partnerships Drive Innovation

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

Recent development in industry and university collaborations have proven themselves a worthwhile investment for both industry leaders and universities.

Take the Clemson University bioengineering students for instance. While traveling abroad in Tanzania, the students assessed the medical device needs in that particular area for the university’s Developing World Biomedical Device Innovation Co-Op program. The program was made possible by the VentureWell Faculty Grant and the program was created by Clemson’s associate professor of engineering, John DesJardins. Upon coming up with the concept of this program, DesJardins goal was to bring together US-based biomedical companies with Clemson’s biomedical engineering students to accomplish two tasks: improve existing medical devices and developing new healthcare innovations that fit the needs of patients and clinicians from around the world.

“Companies don’t always have the time or resources required to build relationships with clinics or hospitals in those countries,” [DesJardins] he says. “Students were able to spend a considerable time…focusing on actual medical devices needs versus what engineers and designers think is needed.”

The mutually beneficial relationship these collaborations develop create numerous opportunities for both the industries and universities. These benefits were noted by organizations such as the National Science Foundation. The NSF’s Industry-Collaboration Research Centers Program helps connect and develop partnerships between scientific researchers from both industry and academic institutions. Considering that universities are receiving fewer federal dollars than ever before, these partnerships provide students and faculty with additional funding, more resources and can diversify their research areas.

There is also added benefits for students and as Marc Sedam, associate vice provost for Innovation and New Ventures at the University of New Hampshire says, “Universities are saying to students, ‘Make a job, don’t take a job.’” Just in the past few decades, there has been 11,000 companies began at universities across the United States and this number is only expected to rise. Not only are students and industries receiving benefits, but society is reaping these benefits, too. These collaborations stretch government resources like tax dollars. Taxpayers receive innovative research at a significantly lower cost than the cost of paying for research exclusively via grants. The combination of both university and industry resources via the combination of efforts on both parties sides, culture, effort, resources and talent come join together for infinite new possibilities.

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