WSU’s IREO goes to Cornell

The Innovation and Research Engagement Office (IREO) presented its Working with Industry 101 training series at the University-Industry Development Partnerships (UIDP) Xurban conference at Cornell University on June 8.

Leaders from academic, corporate, government and non-profit sectors convened together at the UIDP Xurban Conference to consider practical and effective strategies for engagement. The conference explored topics in leveraging and enhancing academic research strengths, managing strategic partnerships, accelerating university research translation and commercialization, making talent connections, and advancing economic development.

“It’s a tremendous recognition of our hard work in creating a program the meets the needs of both industry and academia. We’re eager to highlight faculty successes and programs that have already developed from the education and mentorship provided through this training series,” said Brian Kraft, assistant vice president for IREO.

IREO offers the Working with Industry 101 training program to teach the principles of industry engagement, including the basics of budgeting, contracting, intellectual property, and how to find companies who publish with industry and identify individual contacts. The program also includes two panel discussions, one featuring industry representatives who collaborate with academia and the other with WSU faculty who have vast experience working with industry. The panel discussions are designed to provide participants with an opportunity for a free exchange of dialogue.

“We created the Working with Industry 101 program to provide faculty with an opportunity to learn how to work with industry. Along with providing lessons learned and tips and strategies, the program also highlights differences between industry sponsored research and federal research,” said Kraft.

The program was developed in late 2019 based on UIDP principals. With a planned launch in spring 2020, IREO transitioned the workshop from in-person to virtual with their first class completing the four-part short course series in May 2020. IREO’s fourth cohort participated in the workshop last month.

IREO offers a limited number of $3,000 stipends to support industry engagement activities, such as traveling to companies for research collaboration meetings, or inviting a potential industry partner to campus for those who complete the entire course.

UIDP focuses on seeking opportunities to develop innovative approaches to key issues impacting university and industry research partnerships with interest in land-grant and rural institutions. As a land-grant institution with a largely non-urban presence, WSU often has challenges engaging the private sector.

“Often, success stories provided at conferences have situationally specific and/or unrepeatable elements around the company-university relationship,” said Kraft. “As we developed the Working with Industry 101 program, we developed the program using the UIDP principals with a focus on building industry collaboration with the assumption that there is not a pre-existing interaction.”

Learn more about Working with Industry 101 here.