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Posts Tagged ‘faculty collaboration’

A win-win Seed Assistance Grant is completed at Penn State Harrisburg!

Posted June 10th, 2014 by admin

Everyone wins! This is how an ITN Seed Assistance Grant, SAG, program should work. A company and a professor communicate. They generate an idea, want to collaborate to accomplish a goal and need some funding to get started. A grant proposal is written, with the help of ITN. The funds are awarded, about two months late. The project time line is accelerated, three students are engaged and the project deliverable is completed on time. The company is happy, the students and the professor are happy. But that’s only the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.
So who wins what? To name but a few, the company wins with the project delivered on time. They are building a relationship with Penn State Harrisburg and collaborating to outsource and improve their product development. The students gain experiential learning, course credits and of course a paycheck. Penn State wins by engaging with a local company who hires graduates, provides continued funding for capstone projects and engages in curriculum development dialog. And of course the professor wins by attracting additional funding, performing research and generating publications.
How did this get started? I am Spike Moyer and I work as a faculty liaison with ITN. Dr. Ma’moun Abu-Ayyad,, sent me an email asking about the ITN SAG. He had been communicating with a local company that wanted to begin working with Penn State Harrisburg to improve their product. I met with Dr. Abu-Ayyad to better understand what he was up to. The company builds cranes and wanted to develop their equipment control systems from manual to automated using a joy-stick type of human interface. More importantly, the company wanted to begin a relationship. They wanted to donate a bench top size crane to Penn State and begin interfacing with faculty and students.
Dr. Abu-Ayyad had a list of tasks that he wanted to include in the project. I encouraged him to think about a win-win proposal and define a project scope that would fit into the budget and timeline. Think about whom the players are, who is the “project team”? Define deliverables that all of the players want and can be accomplished with high confidence within the schedule and budget. This was the first engagement with the company and it was critical to succeed. Take baby steps, first impressions are lasting.
The budget was small and the schedule was tight. It got even tighter when the funds were released two months after the anticipated project start date. The deliverable was sufficiently defined and could not be reduced, so the resources had to be increased. Two undergraduate students and one graduate student were hired. Training had to be done quickly so the company engineer also increased his hours to work with the students. The team pulled together and the deliverable was completed on time and within budget!
The company has hired one of Dr. Abu-Ayyad’s students: a great opportunity for communication about curriculum and company training needs. The student graduated on a Friday and started working at the company the following Monday. The student is de facto ambassador who can communicate with both Penn State and the company. The undergraduate students are entering their senior year and will work on the next phase as a Capstone project. The company will work with the faculty/student team to define planning details during the Fall Semester. The work begins in Spring Semester with the help of additional company funding.

ITN Introduces Faculty Collaboration for Test Measurement and Research

Posted October 16th, 2013 by admin

Collaboration for Test, Measurement and Research

ITN is introducing a collaboration to share Test, Measurement and Research interests among our membership schools. This service is designed to facilitate networking and encourage faculty members to collaborate with one another in a colleague-to-colleague environment.

How does it work?

If you want to engage please complete the request form that is part of this blog post. There are 5 questions to be completed by the requester and then emailed to Spike Moyer ( ITN will apply a network of faculty in 15 schools to relay your request to locate a colleague who wants to work with you.

At each member school, our ITN Advisory Board Member will communicate your request to the appropriate Department Chair. They will share your request with a faculty who is most likely to share your interests. Participation is voluntary and faculty are not required to respond to the request. If they have a common interest and wish to participate, then they will send you an email invitation that acknowledges your request. The rest is up to you to work out collaboration arrangements, colleague-to-colleague.

We are just rolling this out and expect to find some glitches in the system. ITN will work closely with the participants to identify and address these.

ITN Collaboration for Test, Measurement and Research Form

How does it work?

If you want to collaborate…..for test, measurement or research

Complete this short request form and email it to

1. How do you want to collaborate?: Example..I am interested in xyz and wanted to chat with someone who is working on similar material…or I would like to talk to someone about testing my sample of abc using edf type of equipment. …or I would like to assemble a joint grant proposal that includes several schools.

2. Your Name:

3. Your Email:

4. School/Dept:

5. Dept. Chair Name:

Instructions: Provide requested information

Save the form with your information

Email your saved form to:

What happens next?

ITN will acknowledge receipt of your request and send it to our ITN Board Members.

They will provide it to the department chair on their campus that is most likely to share your interest. Dept. Chairs will forward this to their faculty and interested faculty may respond to your request.

You should receive an email from an interested faculty.

Terms and conditions of all collaborations are determined by the collaborators.

Tech Transfer Requires a Trash Can

Posted August 25th, 2009 by admin

P&G is one of many companies who have invested in the concept of openly recruiting new ideas and talent from outside their employee talent pool. Their website, P&G Connect, asks for “game changing” products, technology and business models and beckons innovators to submit. “Connect & Develop” is their mantra.

The “Connect & Develop” concept has slowly trickled down to main street communities particularly as business owners struggle to survive the current economic climate. Our recent interaction with corporate execs and owners confirms the notion that companies of all sizes are now more open to identifying and partnering with outside entities. This new way of “thinking outside the cubicle” is opening many doors here for collaboration. At a recent meeting with one Cumberland county-based engineering firm, we learned of their 2009 initiative to accelerate innovation. The company has developed a formal ideas submission process, including screening and committees, to quickly kill or act on ideas brought forth by employees. (This also has the side benefit of energizing employees.) Once the idea is deemed to have merit, organizations like ITN can provide further due diligence to save time and speed the process. Faculty active in a chosen industry segment can be identified by the ITN team and connected with the company’s project leader. (This process of identifying and connecting will be further accelerated in September, when ITN’s online Enclave community launches.) The ability to support a product or market launch with third party research offers companies ammunition to run the concept “up the flag pole” and seek the CFO’s blessing.

In addition to corporate meetings, we’re also talking with organizations like MANTEC, whose hot-button is helping manufacturers and other companies innovate and drive top line growth. ITN can sift through the faculty at local colleges and universities, find pockets of expertise, and identify willing and available candidates for a specific project. From there, it can be as easy as hosting a lunch discussion to see if the project has potential. For company project managers, interaction with researchers and experts outside the business offers a new perspective and perhaps different ways of looking at a product or process. On the flip side, it also helps the faculty understand that when you move from theory to practice, many other factors come into play – financial, market timing, employee motivation, customer demands.

In other meetings, Managing Director Asher Epstein of the University of Maryland’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship, shared a few of his lessons learned with me. One such lesson includes figuring out how to get faculty/students and industry (which includes both investors and business owners) together as quickly as possible in the idea generation process. From his perspective (and the Center’s 23 years of experience) the faster research and ideas meet real-world obstacles and opportunities, the sooner all parties can determine the viability of a project and move it to execution, or the trash can.