Industry brings a unique perspective to basic research in university settings and provides insights that can help guide efforts to ensure students are career ready and faculty are submitting competitive proposals. However, due to unique barriers, the process for finding industry funding requires a distinct approach. The Innovation and Research Engagement Office (IREO) will host an online course for faculty interested in developing an industry partnership to add to their funding portfolio.

The four-session course called, “Working with Industry 101: Tools and tips for getting private sector funding,” will take place on Zoom from 3-5 p.m. on May 13, 15, 19, and 21. Faculty are asked to bring a senior graduate student or postdoc for joint participation. Courses will be offered through Zoom.

“Working with industry yields many positive results for academics,” said Brian Kraft, associate vice president for innovation and research engagement. “While typically industry funding only constitutes a small fraction of a lab’s overall funding portfolio, the benefits to the faculty and students are multifaceted and often lead to higher overall funding and publication rates.”

The course will provide participants with information on how to navigate industry. The classes include:

Class 1: Introduction to Working with Industry and Promoting of Your Research Expertise

  • IREO staff will provide an overview of the short course and outline topics researchers will need to navigate while working to develop a partnership.
  • Industry representatives will participate in a virtual panel to discuss how best to initiate a conversation, work toward developing a project, and where to be cautious.

Class 2: Finding the Right Partner and Specific Contacts

  • Experts from the WSU libraries will provide an overview of the tools researchers can use to find companies working and publishing in their interest areas.
  • External consultant will walk the group through individual outreach strategies, including how to find the right person to connect with on LinkedIn and what information can be shared before a non-disclosure agreement is signed.
  • One-on-one coaching and support, tailored to each group’s research area.

Class 3: Process, Proposal, Timelines and Statements of Work: Getting to the Project

  • From initial contact to getting the project scoped, submitted, and reviewed by legal, this session will provide an overview of the process once a researcher has initiated contact and has a dialogue going.
  • There are several known areas where research collaborations break down along the lifecycles of engagement. This session will also address common pitfalls and success strategies in navigating the process.

Class 4: Contracting and Best Practices for Managing Outputs

  • During this session, IREO will demystify the black box that is industry contracting and provide strategies for meeting the expectations of industry partners.
  • Tools and tips for being a good partner, billing, adding ancillary value, and getting to the next project.

In association with participation in the short course, IREO is offering a limited number of travel stipends of $5,000 to support efforts to develop private sector collaboration. To be eligible for the funding, the faculty-trainee team must attend all four classes.

Space is limited. To sign up for the course, email innovation@wsu.edu by Tuesday, May 5. Please also indicate the name of the trainee who will attend.