Are We Ready to Partner? By Brian Walsh, UWMRF Senior Technology Commercialization Manager
Despite growing campus research activity, the proportion of projects sponsored by industry accounted for less than five percent of UWM research over the past five years.
We can do better.
In an effort to bring more dollars into the university, the UWMRF team is developing a campaign to attract industry sponsors for research, service, and consulting projects. To that end, here are some of the things we’ve been up to.
Formation of a UWM Engagement Leaders Group. There are lots of industry touchpoints at UWM. To get on the same page with other university stakeholders and encourage a cohesive approach to industry outreach, leaders from several departments are now meeting regularly.
Industry Partnering 101 seminar for faculty. To start a conversation with faculty, the UWMRF team kicked off industry partnering sessions in August. Among the topics covered were the benefits of partnering, best practices for making connections and maintaining good working relationships, types of industry engagement, and an overview of the processes and agreements that typically accompany industry collaborations. In addition, faculty with industry engagement history shared tips based on their real-world experiences.
Promotional materials – Why Partner with UWM? Our team is also beefing up messaging about industry partnering. This includes the creation of a new one-pager and website landing page touting the benefits of tapping into UWM expertise and highlighting a handful of the university’s core competencies. More promotional materials are on their way.
Faculty interest and expertise assessment. To make it easier for industry people to find academic partners, we are proactively taking stock of UWM know-how. Through surveys and conversations, we are collecting information about faculty who are interested in industry collaborations – expertise, skills, facilities, partnering wishes, and connections. With this information in hand, we are poised for focused outreach to potential partners. Faculty members who want to participate can share information about their competencies and interests at this link.
So, what’s next?
Targeted outreach to partners is now underway. Our vision is to spark engagement for a range of project types. This could include consulting, service contracts, sponsored research, grant funded collaborations, such as SBIR, and of course licensing.
Overall, we are aiming to make a cultural change on campus for those who wish to participate. Maybe you are already engaging with industry for student internships or continuing education or consulting projects. Sometimes one more question, one more conversation, or a tour can lead to more– these are all opportunities to talk about the great things we have to offer at UWM.
Working together, one step at a time – we can be ready!
Can we help you find industry partners?
If you are thinking of partnering with an industry member, the UWM Research Foundation can help you! Please contact Brian Walsh, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website to get started.