Type of Collaboration

Key Points

Real-Time Innovations

Start-up based on software developed at Stanford; used in robotics, space shuttle. Currently Stanford is a Real-Time Innovations subcontractor on an Advanced Technology Program contract.

• Company provides a platform for Stanford-developed tools to become more widely used.

• Patents on software do not generate much revenue; value is mainly defensive.

• Success based on long-term relationships, trust, understanding.

National Textile Center/University Research Consortium

Government-supported industry consortium that funds university research.

• Has brought together companies representing the entire value chain: Dow Chemical through Wal-Mart.

• Centered on a highly competitive global industry that does not receive much federal support.

• Encourages universities to focus on industry problems.

Akzo Corporate Research, collaborations with academia

Various forms of collaboration, including a project to remove toxic chromium from products involving Akzo, NASA labs, Drexel University, Polytechnic University, and Ohio State University.

• Chemical industry is focusing internal research on definite product goals; speculative work is done only in partnerships.

• Key factors are trust, good intellectual property provisions, and sufficient funding.

• University productivity goes down in proportion to time spent preparing the next proposal. Universities need a consistent liaison in the company.

• Funding must be committed for three years—the length of a dissertation.

• Companies see the benefit in attracting graduates as employees.

• Companies will go to overseas universities when conditions are favorable.

ARCH Development Corporation

Non-profit subsidiary of the University of Chicago aimed at commercializing inventions from the university and Argonne National Laboratory.

• To date, 20 companies have been launched. Income rising gradually with occasional spikes. Now self-supporting.

• Finding CEOs for the start-ups is an issue.

• Should tech transfer be handled in-house, by a non-profit subsidiary, or by a for-profit contractor? Some functions may need to be managed close to home.

Walt Disney Imagineering

Hiring students, engaging in some sponsored research.

• Interdisciplinary skill sets are increasingly important to the entertainment industry (e.g., computers and art).

• Better to walk away from a negotiation immediately rather than waste time when the chemistry is not right or trust is lacking.

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