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Posted on: October 28, 2021

K-State Innovation Partners Helps Private Industry Access Technology Commercialization and Research

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Kansas State University Innovation Partners is committed to connecting industry and community partners with expertise and talent at the university.

As the K-State hub for corporate engagement, technology commercialization and economic development, Innovation Partners provides opportunities for collaboration, investment, workforce development and more. Its organizational structure serves the university, regional partners and the industry sector in one comprehensive unit. This allows for efficient intellectual property protection, economic opportunities and a consistent experience for stakeholders. 

“Most universities do not have a one-stop shop for corporate engagement, technology commercialization and economic development,” said Rebecca Robinson, chief corporate engagement and economic development officer for K-State Innovation Partners. “At other institutions, each of these functions might be housed in different units, creating a more complex environment for the private sector to navigate when trying to engage with the university.”

The team at Innovation Partners help companies build robust collaborations that benefit the bottom line and address current and complex global challenges. Companies can establish a research relationship with the university, tapping into existing expertise and up-to-date research findings or they can utilize K-State’s resources for other goals, like talent acquisition or testing agreements. 

“Through this structure and a highly integrated team, we have made collaboration with K-State easier and more streamlined for our stakeholders, saving partners valuable time and frustration,” Robinson said.

The organization has invested in or helped launch 18 new ventures and has facilitated more than 175 economic partnerships that resulted in the advancement of client companies. 

Corporate Engagement

Companies can partner with K-State for consulting, sponsored research and testing agreements as part of the research and development process. Some companies might even consider establishing a physical presence in Manhattan, Kansas, near the campus to collaborate on a minute-by-minute basis.

“We’re developing an innovation district adjacent to our campus as a home for private sector companies and other partners so we can collaborate to solve the world’s pressing needs,” Robinson said. 

The Edge Collaboration District, located near the north edge of campus, has been set aside for companies to gain proximity to the region’s talent and expertise at K-State.

K-State Innovation Partners also helps companies find educated and skilled talent —  as well as professional development opportunities — to keep current employees on the forefront of knowledge.

Katie Small, industry engagement manager for Innovation Partners, helps businesses discover and facilitate the right partnership opportunities for their business goals. To contact Small, call 785-532-3940 or email ksmall@k-state.edu

Technology Commercialization

As part of the organization’s efforts to protect K-State intellectual property, Innovation Partners helped facilitate 35 technology licensing agreements in fiscal year 2020 alone. Companies can explore K-State’s extensive library of technologies currently available for licensing

Innovation Partners also provides support for startup companies. One such company is HitchPin, a digital marketplace that connects farmers directly with customers and suppliers. Innovation Partners helped HitchPin owner, Trevor McKeeman, grow his business through technical and business services, facilitation of capital investment and by providing the space to co-locate near K-State. 

For more information about technology licensing or commercialization contact Ken Williams, 785-532-3906 or email ken@k-state.edu

Corporate Partnerships

Through K-State Innovation Partners, the university has collaborated with companies in many industries, including — but not limited to — biosecurity, animal health and agriculture.  

Companies in these industries may be interested in co-locating with existing Kansas State University centers and institutes conducting ongoing research. The Biosecurity Research Institute at Pat Roberts Hall is a unique biocontainment research and education facility that has made K-State a leader in biodefense research. The Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, or CEZID, is a National Institutes of Health Center of Biomedical Research Excellence and is also housed at K-State. 

Additionally, Manhattan is the new home of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility — the country’s first facility offering biosafety level-4 laboratory capabilities. 

“For companies that are interested in accessing K-State’s capabilities or facilities or developing new partnerships, we at K-State Innovation Partners are happy to facilitate those relationships, the contract agreements and all of the steps to make sure those relationships are fruitful and can develop and generate the knowledge needed to advance companies,” Robinson said.

To explore a strategic partnership with K-State, contact Rebecca Robinson, 785-532-3955 or email spexarth@k-state.edu

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