Linking Innovation, Industry and Commercialization
What is an army’s strategic plan without its infantry to implement it? It is but an idea on a piece of paper, with no tangible results; no achievements. The infiltration and reconnaissance efforts of the infantry are a contribution to a greater purpose: advancement and long-term success. The Linking Innovation, Industry and Commercialization (LIINC) program at West Virginia University executes WVU’s 2020 Strategic Plan in the trenches, actively facilitating increased and improved collaboration between WVU faculty researchers, graduate students and the private sector marketplace. LIINC has engaged university faculty and administrators, established corporate relationships, provided new support for research faculty, and elevated the awareness and involvement in innovation and commercialization on campus.
Launched in 2011 with funding from Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, LIINC has connected 263 representatives from 186 companies from across the U.S. to 382 WVU faculty and 43 graduate students to explore novel commercialization opportunities and avenues for future research. LIINC activities have helped increase the likelihood for research funding opportunities, licensing of technologies, SBIR and STTR partnerships, on-campus patent activity, new research opportunities for students and graduates, and jobs in the research and commercialization sectors. LIINC is a WVU vehicle for advancing research-based innovation and commercialization efforts and the university’s economic impact on the state and the region.
As the 2012 Award of Excellence winner in the category of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the University Economic Development Association, LIINC has best practices to share based on replicability, scalability, originality and sustainability.
Greg Donewar commented
This was an exceptional forum to not only learn of emerging technological advancements and partnerships but to reconnect with colleagues from past projects. I can fully understand why LIINC received an award in excellence. The attendees, the venue and the setting were a perfect fit, to the smallest detail, for learning and networking. For anyone who has not attended an event, it is a “must do”.
We attended a few LIINC events and had nothing but good things to say about the events, and the connections between business and academia. We exchanged business cards with many people, and followed up with giving a plant tour to some students, and we have benefited by getting some advice and research done by some WVU students.
Neal Vance commented
LIINC has been an excellent partner in bringing together all needed participants: Government, Non-Profits, Academia and the Private Sector.
Thank you for the reply, quite the explanation, sounds to me Like your heart is very much involved with this, with that effort, you got the world in the palm of your hand, take care, and good luck to your endeavors.
Lindsay Emery commented
In response to alaskabrat007's inquiry:
LIINC hosts a variety of on-campus events to encourage interdisciplinary creative thinking, technology transfer activity, and research between faculty, graduate students, and industry representatives. First, college-specific dinners focus on graduate student research, and maintain a 1:1:1 ratio with each student, faculty advisor, and industry representative. Second, based on WVU faculty requests, college-specific panels bring in peer faculty who share their experience for balancing teaching, research, service and entrepreneurial pursuits. Third, the most expansive LIINC events are receptions showcasing faculty research in three disciplines identified as WVU research strengths: security and intelligence research, bioscience and biomedical research, and energy and environmental research. These receptions include panel presentations from industry representatives, which serve as opportunities for companies to share with university faculty what type of research and development they are seeking. This knowledge inspires applied and mission-oriented research from WVU faculty.
LIINC offers administrators, faculty, and students a unique opportunity to share their research with an audience unlike those they regularly interact with at academic conferences. Rather than presenting to their peers, researchers were presenting to members of the private sector and to the business representatives that are constantly on the lookout for new, creative ideas, methods, and projects. As most researchers had little to no prior experience sharing their work to such an audience, introductory coaching, specific outlines, and constant communication were necessary to increase their likelihood for success. One-on-one, in-person meetings have been held with every single graduate student and faculty member that has presented a poster at a LIINC event. A popular military format, the quad chart, is introduced to and required of all poster presenters to help them share their research in a concise, applied-research format. This incites the STEM students and faculty to think from a business perspective and not just scientifically. LIINC has held over 60 one-on-one meetings of this nature, and has received overwhelming praise from the private sector on the simplicity, comprehension, and applicability of the quad chart format.
For those involved, LIINC has impacted and changed the way faculty and students think about research. A faculty member from the WVU Department of Physiology and Pharmacology shared that in her 20 years of doing research, she had never considered commercialization. However, after attending the bioscience and biomedical LIINC event, she met with a patent attorney to discuss her research and IP potential. This is one example of translating a faculty researcher’s basic science approach to ask and answer the question: How can I apply my research to the marketplace? Addressing this question attracts an entirely new purpose, perhaps one with a more tangible meaning, for faculty and students alike. While this innovative perspective is not new, its novelty on WVU’s campus illustrates how impactful LIINC has been in opening doors in the commercialization realm, and that story has been told in numerous internal and external media outlets.
A WVU faculty member wrote: “I was greatly impressed by this event and strongly urge continuing similar events until we reach a saturation point (which we will see plainly by attendance patterns) after which we might try spacing the events out more in time.” An industry representative had a similar comment: “I was very pleased with the event and the caliber of representatives from both the university and industry present at the event. I thought the event was incredibly well organized and communication was excellent. Overall, the event was fantastic and I look forward to attending next year's.” A PPG representative, who serves as the university liaison for the Pittsburgh/Morgantown region, said that of all of the university events he had attended, the LIINC graduate student dinner was by far the best format he had ever seen. Over 95% of the survey respondents for the thirteen events agreed that WVU should host more events, with a majority of respondents, faculty and industry alike, stating that they established contacts with whom they will continue conversation, and found the event valuable with respect to their research and/or future business interests.
Victor H. Mucino commented
Bridging the gap between industry and academia through innovation research is easier said than done. LIINC offers an outstanding work frame to do what many preach but don't practice. LIINC not only "talks the talk" but "walks the walk"...... Please keep up the good work...
Nnamdi Osia commented
Participation in LIINC helped me create some partnerships with companies in industry. There has never been a better way to bridge the gap. Also helped give me confidence presenting work.
Peter Gannett commented
A great opportunity to meet representatives from industry and develop collaborations.
What examples do you have based on this dialog in your explanations, in other words what does this program do?
Valeriya Gritsenko commented
Participation in LIINC events has broaden my horizons in the business world through sharing of other scientists' experiences in starting up their business ventures and connecting me with potential business partners.
Bingyun Li commented
LIINC provides great opportunities to bring faculty and industrial people on the same table and to create collaborative ideas.
Sergiy Yakovenko, Ph.D. commented
LIINC is a treasure trove of opportunities for fresh faculty start-ups at WVU.