Industrial Participation in STC Activities
Industry is involved in STC activities in several ways that influence the direction of research. Industry
participation revolves around several knowledge transfer activities, including participation in center
management and advisory committees, visitors programs, industrial affiliates programs, and use of STC
resources. This participation has resulted in the creation of new tools, methodology, software, and spinoff
- Advisory Committees and Center Management
- The importance of the STC program to industry can
be effectively highlighted by the direct role that industry plays in center management and direction. More
than 20 STCs have an external advisory committee with members from industry. These members
contribute to the centers direction in research and provide feedback on the types of knowledge transfer
At the Center for Discrete
Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, a consortium of Princeton University, Rutgers
University, AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bellcore, more than 55 scientists from these companies are
members. The Center for Photoinduced Charge Transfer has a similar partnership with pre-competitive
research, facilities, and ownership in technologies shared between the University of Rochester, Xerox, and
Eastman Kodak. Every funded project has at least one industry leader on the project team.
- Industrial Affiliates and Visitors
- The affiliates programs promote research collaboration, industrial
access to technical reports, and overall guidance of center research. Most affiliate programs are tailored to
the center. For example, the Center for Engineering Plants for Resistance Against Pathogens (CEPRAP)
has a strong incentive program that gives affiliates equal access to all CEPRAP inventions, with increased
access for greater support.
Knowledge transfer through affiliates programs create and
solidify the bonds between centers and their affiliates.
To enhance long-term collaboration between center and industry researchers, the STCs also sponsor
visitors programs, such as the Center for Quantized Electronic Structures' "Scholar-in-Residence"
program. Through the "Industrial Fellows" program at the Center for Biological Timing, researchers at the
Promega Corporation have collaborated with the center, using imaging facilities to develop new ways to
non-invasively measure the activity of genes in living tissues.
- Shared Resources
- Whether it is facilities or information, industry can draw upon the
tremendous resources that the STCs have to offer. The resource facility at the Center for Advanced Liquid
Crystalline Optical Materials provides synthesis, characterization, and prototyping services to companies,
national laboratories and universities. The Center for High Performance Polymeric Adhesives and
Composites operates an Intron High-temperature Axial-Torsional Testing Machine, the only machine of
its kind in the world that is specifically designed to test ceramic composites at temperatures of up to 1500
Some centers maintain extensive databases on specialized subjects that can be used as resources for
industry. For example, the Southern California Earthquake Center has established a database of
earthquake information for use by engineers and emergency preparedness personnel. The Center for
Ultrafast Optical Science and the Center for Superconductivity are currently developing a database for
commercial superconductor device design and modeling data collected from industry samples. Through
the Linguistic Data Consortium, the Center for Research in Cognitive Science has created text and speech
databases as a national resource for human language technology. Many small businesses have used these
databases, making it economically feasible to expand their research into areas where prohibitive costs
|This vector scan electron beam
litography machine is central to cutting-edge research on ultra-small
semiconductor structures - Center for Quantized Electronic Structures
- Small Business Collaboration and Development
- Small businesses that offer specialized products and
services use the STC program as an information and technology resource. For instance, the Center for
Advanced Cement-Based Materials worked with the State of Illinois to develop knowledge transfer
partnerships with small businesses in Illinois. As a result, more than 60 leaders in the cement and
construction industry have met with ACBM faculty and staff to identify barriers related to knowledge
transfer and to discuss strategies to enhance the role of innovation in this industry.
Centers have also worked on a one-on-one basis with small businesses. Ability Engineering Technology, a
small engineering and design firm, has worked with the Center for Magnetic Resonance Technology for
Basic Biological Research to refine its engineering and manufacturing skills, and utilize new technologies
to reduce costs. As another example, the Center for Quantized Electronic Structures has provided
Sputtered Films Inc. considerable expertise on novel dry etching processes.
Technologies developed from STC research have also led to small businesses created to market these
technologies. For example:
- At The Geometry Center, a scientist has started Minerva Software Inc. to commercialize a
programming system for computer animation.
- Three companies have been started by researchers at the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science.
Picotronix produces ultrafast optoelectronics parts for use in other manufacturer's systems, Medox
Research produces ultrahigh peak power lasers, and Terametrics produces high-speed
optoelectronic sensors that characterize electronic materials.
- The Illinois Superconductor Corporation, a company that develops materials for magnets and
wires, was spun off from a research group at the Center for Superconductivity. The center has
worked closely with the company, winning grants for commercial product development and other
- Researchers from the Center for Molecular Biotechnology have created a new company called
Darwin Molecular Technologies to offer commercial services in DNA sequencing and applied
Knowledge Transfer Activities