A new online resource aimed at connecting industry with university research expertise and resources has been launched by the Industry Liaison Office at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).
The Portal for Industry Engagement is designed as a gateway to all U of S research and development resources – including expertise and advanced infrastructure – that are available for industry partnerships. This includes agriculture and bioresources; mining and natural resources; construction, manufacturing, information and communications technology as well as animal and human health. Social sciences research, including public policy, are also among the offerings, as are media and performing arts.
“One of the things that kept coming up in conversations with people in our research community and in industry is that it’s hard to get partnerships started because it’s difficult to find out what expertise, facilities, and opportunities are available,” said Dr. Amit Shukla, the Senior Strategic Projects Specialist with the Industry Liaison Office who leads the project.
“The Portal for Industry Engagement aims to alleviate this by providing a single point of entry that people can use to explore and engage.”
Shukla explained the portal itself is a partnership project, with researchers and support staff producing and editing content for the extensive resource. Prospective users were also sought out for their advice and feedback.
“We have world-leading expertise and some of the most advanced analytical tools available at the U of S for research and development,” Shukla said. “On the other side of the equation, industry has challenging questions and resources that can provide opportunities for our researchers and students while benefiting the economy and society as a whole.”
This reflects the “push-pull” strategy being put forward by the Industry Liaison Office. The “push” is the traditional approach of identifying discoveries with potential for commercialization then licensing them to developers. The “pull” is all about reaching out to engage the community and industry to identify problems to solve and opportunities that can be pursued with university research.
“It’s a proactive approach intended to allow the Portal to evolve with the needs and opportunities on both sides of the partnership table,” Shukla said. “It signals we are ‘open for business,’ so to speak, actively looking for new collaborations and opportunities for research and development with industry.
“This is not a static portal; it is intended as a dynamic resource.”