Expanding the collaboration with the business community is among the recommendations made in the new strategic plan for Rutgers, which was approved recently by the university’s board of governors. The five-year plan aims to and enhance corporate partnerships and relationships.
“As the strategic plan makes clear, our distinguished faculty are at the core of our university’s aspiration,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi said. “Among Rutgers faculty are many innovative researchers who are leaders in their fields, and their expertise is one of the powerful assets we can offer to industry. Rutgers research has enormous economic potential, which has grown even stronger as our biomedical and health sciences portfolio has expanded. We want to build public-private partnerships that take full advantage of these resources and create jobs that stay in New Jersey.”
Barchi has given the job of improving the university’s business partnerships to Christopher Molloy, senior vice president for research and economic development. A long-time researcher in the pharmaceutical industry, Molloy led the Rutgers-UMDNJ integration before becoming head of the Office of Research and Economic Development three months ago.
“We know how to work successfully with business, but we need to make it happen to a greater degree across the university,” Molloy said. “The strategic plan articulates the need for us to make substantial improvements in our systems and processes to encourage industry collaboration. My office is committed to ensuring that we streamline our administrative processes to facilitate partnerships and to providing a business-friendly portal.”
Rutgers is not the only university seeking to strengthen business ties. Princeton’s technology transfer and licensing program has raised more than $100 million for the university since 2011, and the university has several other programs geared towards putting its faculty’s research into the marketplace.
To businesses, Rutgers offers research centers and institutes, technology for licensing, facilities and equipment, graduates and interns, continuing education, and graduate academic programs. The Office of Research and Economic Development is online at www.businessportal.rutgers.edu.
The university is planning several programs designed to strengthen its ties to the business world.
Corporate contracts and research agreements are being simplified and made more adaptable, with a streamlined decision-making process. Many decisions on agreements will be made by managers more directly involved with business partners.
Alliance managers are being assigned to foster relationships with each business partner, so the companies will know whom to contact at Rutgers. Many of the alliance managers combine years of business experience with an intimate knowledge of Rutgers’ structure and people, allowing them to facilitate collaborations with industry.
The Office of Translation Science was launched last fall. Led by scientists from industry, the office builds interdisciplinary collaboration through the molecular, structural, imaging, and biomedical sciences. The office will build the interface between Rutgers and the private sector with the goal of contributing to local biotechnology and biomedical companies.
The clinical trials process is being re-envisioned by the new leadership in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and the Office of Research and Economic Development. A recent step is the university’s endorsement of a new agreements template that BioNJ developed with Rutgers and a New Jersey law firm that has a pharmaceutical industry practice.
One of ORED’s components, the Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization, is implementing many of the steps toward enhanced business collaboration. It is led by Richard Mammone, associate vice president for innovation and professor in the School of Engineering and the Rutgers Business School.
Mammone’s staff has interviewed numerous business executives and managers, he said, and they have also adopted best practices from other universities.
Among the research centers at Rutgers with long-standing business partnerships are the Wireless Information Network Laboratory, which currently has 20 corporate sponsors and research partners; the Engineering Research Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems, which works closely with major pharmaceutical companies and recently opened a Continuous Pharmaceutical Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory on Rutgers’ Busch Campus; and RUCDR Infinite Biologics, the world’s largest university-based biorepository, which collaborates with numerous companies and academic researchers worldwide.
The strategic plan is posted at universitystrategy.rutgers.edu.