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“I have met with potential industrial partners with some of our scientists in the NanoCenter, and you’d be amazed at how pleased they were that we were reaching out to them,” she said.

That kind of grassroots effort is what helps to forge long-term collaborations with industry, she said.

“To develop these partnerships, I think you start with what I call the three I’s: interest, involvement, and investment.

“First you find out what a company’s level of interest is—do they want to develop software with us or conduct research and development projects? Intellectual property is the traditional path that brings industry to a university, but there are other ways for it to happen.

“Then it’s decided how much involvement there will be. Do they want to hire our graduates or put their people on site for training, or set up joint seminars. Once you do those things, you begin to develop mutual trust and that potentially leads to investment, which can be joint grants, direct research funding, or co-locating labs in our facilities.”

Benicewicz said the wet lab space planned for private industrial research partners in the Horizon I Building in Innovista will be one of several ways to promote collaboration.

“I think we’ll start seeing what people have wanted to see all along in Innovista. The Centers of Economic Excellence are beginning to launch companies, and we’ll see more evidence of private investment in the research enterprise here,” she said.

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