New initiative to boost our collaborations with industry

Feb. 20, 2014

The IU School of Medicine has begun the process to launch a new tool called the Industry Collaboration Portal to improve communication between academic and industry scientists.

David Wilkes

David S. Wilkes, M.D.

The portal, currently slated to launch this summer, will be a new mechanism to boost IU School of Medicine collaborations with industry to leverage research successes into new products and therapies, develop new entrepreneurial initiatives and bring in new sources of research funding.

"Industry has questions, but we in academic medicine rarely know what those questions are. Meanwhile, at the IU School of Medicine we have scientists with the expertise to provide answers, but industry doesn’t know who they are," said David S. Wilkes, M.D., executive associate dean for research affairs and August M. Watanabe Professor of Medical Research at the IU School of Medicine. "This is important at a time of decreased federal funding for research, mounting pressures to invest in more translational science, and growing industry interest in working with academic researchers."

The portal will have a director who will serve as the primary contact between industry and the School of Medicine. The position will be response for meeting with industries to learn the questions they need answered and the research projects they want to start.

The portal director will report to a faculty committee with the basic and clinical research expertise and knowledge of the school to identify candidates to work with those companies. Mervin Yoder, M.D., assistant dean for entrepreneurial research and Richard and Pauline Klingler Professor of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine, has been named chair of this committee.

"Let’s say that our neighbors at Eli Lilly and Co. need someone with expertise in a particular complication of diabetes," Dr. Wilkes said. "Nowadays they might search through the scientific literature to find someone. Our goal is to make our portal the one-stop shop they can use to find the expert they need at the IU School of Medicine."

Selections will for members of both the faculty committee and an external advisory committee will take place over the next several months, during which the director will also work to build contacts and relationships within industry.

Industry Collaboration Portal leaders also aim to meet with the IU Research and Technology Corp. to work out considerations related to intellectual property. 

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