March 30, 2007

Contact: Lisa Merkl
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Strengthening Industry Ties, Expediting Commercial Applications Goals of New Center

HOUSTON, March 30, 2007 – In a move to provide a well-defined path from discovery to application, the University of Houston System is launching the Center for Industrial Partnerships (CIP) to create joint research enterprises between commercial industry and the university.

This new research and technology center will foster collaborative efforts using UHS’ fundamental research and educational resources to solve technological challenges for Houston’s business and industrial communities. Its purpose is to facilitate research across the campuses with off-campus researchers and industry and will benefit UHS researchers, staff and students, as well as investors and entrepreneurial companies.

Such new partnerships are necessary to assist translating basic research to applications while increasing companies’ competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. This approach is aligned with national trends at other leading universities and will begin to position UHS at the forefront of collaborative research in a key metropolitan environment.

“The center will catalyze early joint collaborations between industry and the university system’s campuses to boost innovation beyond proof of concept, while training the workforce of tomorrow and reducing commercialization risks,” said John Warren, associate vice chancellor/general counsel for research and intellectual property and executive director of the new center.

Goals and objectives include interdisciplinary research support, education and training, consultancy, technology transfer, an increase in industry-sponsored research, development of long-term relationships, increased support for colleges and departments, and greater visibility.

Resultant benefits of the CIP include linking education and research at the undergraduate and graduate levels more closely with industrial sponsorship and involvement, assisting in translating basic research to applications while it is still evolving in the laboratory, and strengthening the university’s competitiveness in basic research. The research portfolio is structured in six areas: energy and natural resources, materials, bio-med sciences, arts and human enrichment, community advancement and complex systems. Partners will include local, national and international companies and communities.

Present practice at UHS has been to develop technologies and then try to match industry interests to what the university has to offer, making licensing more challenging. With this center in place, the plan shifts to gaining input from industry and UHS in tandem that will be applied to research problems expected to result in tangible, forecasted solutions, yielding greater financial stability and increased ownership by industry partners.

Outreach efforts by the CIP will focus on providing resources and services to support the Houston and global business and industrial communities. This will involve meeting with industry representatives and defining technology problems; identifying research needs and appropriate UHS researchers to solve problems; providing laboratory facilities for applied research; working with industry to develop proposals and budgets, draft contracts, plan for technology commercialization and manage projects; locating additional funding sources for qualifying projects; utilizing UHS technology experts; developing technologies to solve key industrial problems; and managing income to provide funds for stimulating further scientific investigation and research at the university.

“The Center for Industrial Partnerships will build value because technologies will be incubated and developed in concert with market-driven companies,” said Donald Birx, vice chancellor for UHS and vice president of research for UH. “In essence, we are recasting the intellectual property process at UH System into a joint research enterprise with commercial industry. The types of partnerships this center will facilitate to speed the translation of research into commercial applications are of the type being stressed by national research funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.”

For more information on the Center for Industrial Partnerships, visit


The University of Houston System is the state’s only metropolitan higher education system, encompassing four universities and two multi-institution teaching centers. The universities are the University of Houston, a nationally recognized doctoral degree-granting, comprehensive research university; the University of Houston-Downtown, a four-year undergraduate university beginning limited expansion into graduate programs; and the University of Houston-Clear Lake and the University of Houston-Victoria, both upper division and master’s-level institutions. The centers are the UH System at Sugar Land in Fort Bend and the UH System at Cinco Ranch. In addition, the UH System includes KUHF-FM, Houston’s National Public Radio and classical radio station, and KUHT-TV, the nation’s first educational television station.

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at