Part matchmaking, part networking, part social event. A new approach to exposing West Virginia University researchers and their work to defense-oriented private industry representatives drew a big crowd, generated buzz and forged connections for future innovation.
The event, billed as a “Showcase for Department of Defense-Related Research,” highlighted innovations by WVU faculty researchers for a guest list that included decision-makers from a wide range of state and national firms with an impressive track record of working on projects for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Nearly 100 individuals, including representatives from 22 private companies, mingled in a room at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy to hear about University researchers’ work on a wide range of topics in an informal reception setting.
Eleven technical posters on specific WVU projects festooned the reception space and researchers huddled throughout the evening with business persons interested in new product potential.
The new approach is the latest thrust from WVU’s innovation initiative known as Linking Innovation, Industry and Commercialization, or LIINC – a project funded through a grant to the WVU Office of Research and Economic Development from the Benedum Foundation.
Research faculty participated from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Chemistry and Micro Biology departments; the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Department of Electrical Engineering; the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design; and the Health Science Center’s Department of Orthopedics.
Some interactions resulted in researchers leading industry officials off for spontaneous laboratory tours. Other experiences were called enlightening and rewarding by company representatives who forged new connections and, in some cases, renewed old ones.
Faculty response was equally positive with many participants already volunteering to prepare posters for the next similar LIINC event.
Lindsay Emery, business development manager with LIINC, said the program is pursuing new ideas for bringing WVU researchers together with private industry opportunities to push University innovation and create new products and jobs.
“As a land-grant institution with a brand new strategic plan calling for greater community and economic involvement, WVU’s LIINC effort is a natural,” she said. “We are looking forward to continuing this series of interactions and the innovations they will help move forward. This event was very successful. It went for two hours and one of the key reactions of all involved was that they needed even more time.”
CONTACT: Lindsay Emery, WVU Research Corp.
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