Panelists Candice Matthews, John Leland, Matt Willenbrink, Jim Oris, and Darrin Redus pose behind a table with a Miami University of Ohio Graduate School and Research tablecloth.

Panel discusses future of university and business collaboration

We had a full house for our panel discussion on the future of university and business collaboration, which was held last Thursday in King Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship. Approximately 60 people attended the event, titled “Innovation and Commercialization: Launching a New Era.” Panelists were Darrin Redus, Vice President of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator; Candice Matthews, Co-founder and Executive Director of Hillman Accelerator; John Leland, Vice President for Research at the University of Dayton and Executive Director of the University of Dayton Research Institute; Jim Oris, Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Miami University; and Matt Willenbrink, Director of Technology Partnerships at the University of Dayton. David M. M. Taffet, Executive in Residence for Inclusive Innovation and Commercialization at Miami University moderated the discussion and Miami University President Greg Crawford delivered welcome remarks. The event was streamed live on Facebook; watch a recording above.

Photo and Facebook Live video by Kelly Bennett, Manager of University Social Media and Marketing Strategy, University Communications and Marketing, Miami University.


Photo illustration of the earth inside an illuminated lightbulb.

New inclusive innovation and commercialization initiatives provide opportunities for Miami students, faculty, and staff

Two new initiatives give Miami University students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to help usher in a new era of inclusive innovation and commercialization.

Miami University–AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator

Members of the Miami community are encouraged to work with technology transfer staff to identify patents or patent applications in the Air Force Research Lab’s (AFRL) open portfolio that match their current interests. These patents could supplement a current line of inquiry or jump start an innovation.

An agreement between Miami and the Wright Brothers Institute of Dayton gives Miami support in reviewing and accessing the Air Force Research Lab’s entire open portfolio of more than 1,000 patents and patent applications. The portfolio reflects the breadth of AFRL research programs.  Technological advances that include innovations in energy storage, healthcare monitoring, and advanced manufacturing go far beyond military sciences.

As a steward of taxpayer dollars, AFRL is committed to transferring technologies with non-defense applications to the commercial sector, where they can benefit everyday Americans.

“Miami University has a wealth of researchers and entrepreneurs with the drive and know-how to mature these technologies and bring them to market,” says David M. M. Taffet, executive-in-residence.  “The Miami University-AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator is a model for how a university can work at the speed of business.”

Among the ways students will be involved with the AFRL portfolio is through a capstone course in the Farmer School of Business, led by Wayne Speer, an instructor of marketing..

Students, faculty, and staff who are interested in exploring the AFRL open portfolio should contact either Matt Willenbrink or Jim Oris. Willenbrink is director of technology partnerships at the University of Dayton, Miami’s tech transfer partner.  Oris is Miami’s associate provost for research and scholarship.

Miami University–University of Dayton Technology Validation and Start-up Fund

Applications to the Miami University–University of Dayton Technology Validation and Start-up Fund (TVSF) will be accepted beginning this month.

Supported by matching funds from the Ohio Third Frontier program [link], the Miami-UD TVSF represents an innovation because it is a partnership between a public and a private institution and because it spans two regional job markets.

Initial applications will be for Phase 1 or technology validation projects. Ohio Third Frontier defines the objectives for Phase 1 projects as follows:

  • Generate the proof needed to move technology to the point that it is either ready to be licensed by an Ohio start-up company or otherwise deemed unfeasible for commercialization.
  • Perform validation activities such as prototyping, demonstration and assessment of critical failure points in subsequent development, scale-up and commercialization in order to generate this proof, with strong preference for these validation activities being performed by an independent source.

“We would like to see projects that have high commercial potential by enabling product or services that have competitive advantages,” says Willenbrink. “A successful application will clearly detail both the commercial potential and specifically how the funding will move the technology closer to being commercialized.”

The TVSF offers an accelerated path to commercialization because projects that receive Phase 1 funding are better positioned for success in Phase 2, the start-up phase.

“Phase I TVSF projects are managed by the universities and are designed to bring university technology closer to being licensed or spun-out as a startup company. Phase II projects are for companies to further develop Phase I efforts,” says Willenbrink.

Anyone at Miami who thinks they would like to pursue a technological venture is encouraged to contact Willenbrink and Taffet to discuss potential ideas and learn more about the application process.

Both the Miami University–AFRL Research Technology Commercialization Accelerator and Miami University–University of Dayton Technology Validation and Start-up Fund are designed to leverage Miami University resources to benefit the wider community. All Miamians — including those from traditionally underrepresented groups — are encouraged to explore opportunities for sharing their talent, knowledge, and skill through these programs.

Written by Heather Beattey Johnston, Associate Director of Research Communications, Office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship, Miami University.

Lightbulb image by PIRO4D via Good Free Photos, public domain. The Five Cogs of Innovation image by Jurgen Appelo via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.