New Innovation Gateway connects researchers to industry funding

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Office of Industrial Partnerships (OIP) has announced the creation of a new, interactive online platform that will help the University’s researchers collaborate better with industry, increase commercialization opportunities and obtain new funding sources for research projects.

The new platform, dubbed Innovation Gateway, will also provide a new, standardized way for faculty to present research approaches and possible solutions to industry challenges and problems.

"There are many ways for faculty to stay connected to federal research organizations, but no equivalent for industry research partnerships," said Jeff Fortin, associate vice president for research and OIP director. "With Innovation Gateway, the OIP provides faculty with an unprecedented level of service in building those partnerships."

Fortin said that before Innovation Gateway, a centralized resource for Penn State faculty to find and respond to industry funding opportunities did not exist. As with most universities, industry needs were relayed via phone calls or emails, passed from the OIP to many researchers or from one colleague to the next — an inefficient and difficult process to manage for both the faculty and the industry partners.

Through Innovation Gateway, Penn State researchers can respond to a number of different opportunities posted by industry, including:

  • Request for Proposal (RFP): An RFP is similar to open industry competitions where a company provides funding to solve a problem. Interested faculty submit a non-confidential 4Block that explains how they would address the problem. The company chooses the approach they like best and funding is awarded.
  • Request for Information (RFI): Via an RFI, a company can seek a better understanding of Penn State’s research expertise in a particular research area.
  • Request to Partner (RTP): With an RTP, a company has identified potential third-party funding and wishes to partner with Penn State in order to create a stronger overall proposal to apply for the funding.

One of the first companies to take advantage of Penn State’s new Innovation Gateway is the Volvo Group, which plans to use the new platform to partner with University researchers toward the development of energy efficient vehicles and manufacturing technology.

"(Innovation Gateway) is another example of Penn State’s desire to reach out and foster industry partners,” said Sam McLaughlin, Volvo’s North American region external research manager. “By using this platform, Volvo expects that connections to ongoing research and innovation project ideas will become easier to identify and advance, thereby making our partnership more effective.”

Fortin said more companies plan on using the Innovation Gateway in the coming weeks.

Penn State researchers can use their existing WebAccess credentials to log into the Innovation Gateway platform immediately at innovation.psu.edu. University faculty members will also have prepopulated biographies that list their expertise and areas of study in the Innovation Gateway, which can be edited by individual users.

Don Mothersbaugh, assistant director for the OIP, said Penn State has high hopes for Innovation Gateway.

“Our expectation is that we will see faculty submit ideas from every corner of the University, allowing us to provide even stronger proposals with interdisciplinary opportunities back to our industry partners,” he said. “This platform will be a tremendous asset to our researchers and industry partners alike.”

Media Contacts: 

Don Mothersbaugh

Assistant director, Office of Industrial Partnerships

Last Updated September 01, 2016