It is no secret that universities are abundant breeding grounds for novel ideas with enormous commercial potential. Stanford’s patent on Google’s foundational page-ranking algorithm and MIT’s patent on the data transfer method that ushered in one of the world’s largest distributed-computing platforms in Akamai evidence some of the more famous collaborations between the private sector and the academy. But opportunities for businesses to partner with universities to develop and commercialize new technologies are plentiful well beyond those bastions of innovation in Palo Alto and Cambridge.
In a time when all but the largest companies operate without in-house research and development, universities are positioned as never before—indeed critically so—to serve as key partners in innovation. Those taking up the challenge are in the vanguard of dispelling the notion of the proverbial detached ivory tower in favor of a ready collaborator attuned to creating the highly interactive innovation ecosystems that turn great research into great products and services, jobs and opportunity.