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Academic-Industry Collaboration: Best Practices

Academic-Industry Collaboration
Reported by
Theresa Wizemann

Posted February 05, 2010

Presented By

Johnson & Johnson he New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences


In addition to their primary role as centers of knowledge, universities are increasingly viewed as economic engines, contributing to local and regional growth. Partnerships between universities and corporations can provide further opportunities for regional economic development, with each partner contributing its individual strengths to achieve a collective outcome. Forging such alliances can be a challenge, however, and organizations across the country are working to develop programs that can make these relationships more effective.

On December 8, 2009, prominent representatives from higher education, industry, and government led a symposium exploring how academia and industry can partner more successfully, and what public policy measures could facilitate collaboration. Panelists offered examples of successful public-private partnerships, such as those between the Johnson & Johnson company, Janssen, and Vanderbilt University; between British Petroleum and both the University of California system and the University of Illinois; and between IBM and the SUNY Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this event.

Presented by

  • Johnson and Johnson
  • New York Academy of Sciences


Karin Ezbiansky Pavese (The New York Academy of Sciences)

Industry-Higher Education Partnerships in New York State

David J. Skorton (Cornell University)
  • 00:01
    1. Introduction; Industrial and academic cultures
  • 06:03
    2. Intellectual property; Proposals for making progress; Conclusio

University Partnerships in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Stef Heylen (JANSSEN Alzheimer Immunotherapy)
  • 00:01
    1. Introduction; Challenges and opportunities
  • 03:36
    2. Research and development paradigm shift; Creating value
  • 06:51
    3. Partnering for innovation; Collaboration models; The IMI; Conclusio

Energy Biosciences Institute: A Public-Private Partnership

James A. Weyhenmeyer (State University of New York, Research Foundation SUNY)
  • 00:01
    1. Introduction; Berkeley/Illinois/BP collaboration
  • 08:13
    2. Royalty revenues model; Why it works; Conclusio

Facilitating Collaborations at the New York Academy of Sciences

René Bastón (The New York Academy of Sciences)
  • 00:01
    1. Introduction; A look at NYAS
  • 05:28
    2. Science meets business; Advisory services; Conclusio

IBM University Programs

Stephen P. LaFleche (IBM)
  • 00:01
    1. Introduction; Knowledge and projects cycles
  • 05:56
    2. Partnering examples; Lessons learned; Conclusio

Panel Discussion

  • 00:01
    1. Cultural exchange and access; Academic transitioning and latitude
  • 15:30
    2. Curriculum and career; Sharing information; Vision
  • 28:24
    3. Conclusio

Web Sites

Albany NanoTech
A research, development, and educational complex associated with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Albany, with IBM as a key onsite corporate partner.

Business Council of New York State
As the leading business organization in the state, the council represents the interests of large and small firms, serving as their advocate in the state political and policy-making arena, and working for a healthier business climate, economic growth, and jobs.

Center for an Urban Future
A New York City-based think tank seeking workable policy solutions for the critical issues cities face.

Energy Biosciences Institute
A partnership between BP, the University of California, Berkeley; the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and the University of Illinois, focused on biofuels discovery research.

Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
A Public-Private Partnership between the pharmaceutical industry represented by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the European Union represented by the European Commission.

New York Academy of Sciences Innovation & Economic Development Initiative
Through its Regional Economic Development and Science Meets Business programs, the Academy is using its network to help foster partnerships in New York and around the world. See our Innovation and Economic Development topic page for upcoming events and multimedia from past meetings.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
NYSERDA supports the development and commercialization of innovative energy and environmental products, technologies, and processes, working with industry and universities in New York State.

New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR)
Supports technology development, innovation, and commercialization leading to economic growth in New York State.

Articles and Reports

Richard K. Lester. 2005. Universities, Innovation, and the Competitiveness of Local Economies: A Summary Report from the Local Innovation Systems Project – Phase I MIT IPC Working Paper IPC-05-010

Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships. Final report submitted December 14, 2009 to NY Governor David A. Paterson by David J. Skorton, Chair.

Rene Baston

René Bastón

The New York Academy of Sciences
web site

As chief business officer at the New York Academy of Sciences, René Bastón leads all aspects of business strategy and business development and has created alliances in the U.S. and internationally with leading universities, governments, and multinational corporations, financial firms and NGO’s in pharmaceuticals, biotech, clean technologies, real estate, IT, electronics, consumer goods and other areas. He also initiated and leads the Academy’s Science Meets Business initiative and created and co-leads its Science & Technology Innovation and Economic Development advisory practice which currently focuses on biomedicine and clean technologies. Advisory engagements have included extensive work for governments in assessing regional R&D activities and recommending investment opportunities and public/private partnership and innovation models. In Mexico City, for example, the Academy’s work has resulted in the development of a series of innovative “Knowledge Cities” for which the Academy has also been engaged; and for NY State was incorporated by the Governor’s Renewable Energy Task Force into the Governor’s Energy Plan. Advisory engagements are also underway in India and other regions in Latin America.

Previously, Bastón was an associate director at Columbia University’s Science & Technology Ventures, where he was responsible for identifying promising emerging technologies, protecting the intellectual property, and negotiating licenses and research collaborations with established or startup companies in the areas of biotechnology, biomedical informatics, medical devices, and nanobiotechnology.

He was also the co-founder, vice president of business development, and acting CTO of Medihub, a New York based provider of software and consulting services to the medical industry. He founded Medihub after spending several years in the technology enablement and business transformation divisions of Ernst & Young's Healthcare Consulting Group where he was one of the founding members of the E&Y e-Health Incubator Team.

Before making the transition to industry, Bastón received a graduate degree from the Biomedical Informatics Program at Columbia University, where he performed research on the application and development of controlled medical terminologies. He also spent several years performing neurobiology research in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel at the Columbia University Center for Neurobiology and Behavior.

Bastón is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Columbia University Center for Advanced Technology, and an advisor to the NY Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium. He has spoken at numerous conferences and moderated workshops and discussions on innovation, university/industry collaborations, economic development, and technology transfer both broadly and specifically related to biomedicine and clean technology.

Stef Heylen

Stef Heylen, MD

JANSSEN Alzheimer Immunotherapy
e-mail | web site

Stef Heylen is currently head of research and development and chief medical officer for JANSSEN Alzheimer Immunotherapy R&D, LLC, based in South San Francisco. Heylen comes from J&J PRD Research and Early Development Europe, Beerse, Belgium, where he was chief medical officer, and member of the Management Board of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV. In this role he developed and implemented an integrated research and early development neuroscience strategy for the site, in line with the overall therapeutic area strategy. An important component of this strategy was the focus on open innovation, which resulted in innovative collaboration agreements with the Vanderbilt University on new targets for schizophrenia, the non-clinical neuroscience imaging collaboration with the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and a strategic discovery and development collaboration with NeuroSearch (Denmark). He also championed the pre-competitive collaborations of J&J within the European Innovative Medicines Initiative.

Before joining RED EU in August 2007, Heylen was at Tibotec, Mechelen, Belgium, where he was site head, chairman of the Development Management Committee, member of the Tibotec Management Board and the Operational Management Committee. As vice president, development operations and drug safety, he had functional responsibility for chemical/pharmaceutical development, preclinical development, drug safety, project & portfolio management and process excellence; he was also line manager for all full development compound development team leaders. During his tenure as site head both PREZISTA and INTELENCE were brought to accelerated regulatory approval for the treatment of multidrug resistant HIV/AIDS.

Before joining Tibotec, Heylen held positions at Crucell and within the Janssen Research Foundation and Janssen-Cilag EMEA. Heylen received the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for R&D in 1993, and the Johnson Medal for R&D in 1998. Heylen obtained his MD at the University of Leuven, Belgium, and the Prince Leopold Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium.

Stephen P. LaFleche


Stephen P. LaFleche, managing director, New York State, Sales and Distribution Group, is responsible for sales and delivery of IBM solutions and technology for Government, Education and Public Health industries in New York State representing over $400 million in annual business.

LaFleche joined IBM in 1987. He has held numerous sales, sales management, and executive positions in several IBM divisions. He was named business unit executive, Storage Systems Group in January 2000 with responsibility for sales of IBM’s storage products through IBM’s industry sector sales organization. In January 2003, he was named industry leader, Government Marketing, Systems and Technology group, with worldwide responsibility for the creation, management, and execution of IBM’s global strategy for selling to governments. In January 2005, he was named client director, New York and New England Government. In this role, he led IBM’s government sales teams for New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and New Hampshire. LaFleche is a graduate of LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY.

David J. Skorton

David J. Skorton, MD

Cornell University
e-mail | web site

David J. Skorton became Cornell University’s 12th president on July 1, 2006. A seasoned administrator, board-certified cardiologist, biomedical researcher, musician, and advocate for the arts and humanities, Skorton holds faculty appointments as professor in biomedical engineering at the College of Engineering on Cornell’s Ithaca campus and in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. A governor of the New York Academy of Sciences since 2008, he is also chair of the Business-Higher Education Forum, an independent, non-profit organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, leaders of colleges and universities, and foundation executives; chair of Governor Paterson’s Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships, and a member of the advisory council for 10,000 Small Businesses, an initiative created by Goldman Sachs to unlock the growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, mentors and networks, and financial capital.

Skorton also engages in service to the community, and particularly in regional and state economic development, as a member of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York, Inc. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations; co-chair of the advisory board for the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health, and master of the American College of Cardiology.

Before coming to Cornell, Skorton was president of the University of Iowa (UI) for three years, beginning in March 2003, and a faculty member at UI for 26 years. Co-founder and co-director of the UI Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, he has focused his research on congenital heart disease in adolescents and adults, cardiac imaging, and computer image processing. He has published numerous articles, reviews, book chapters, and two major texts in the areas of cardiac imaging and image processing. Skorton earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1970 and an M.D. in 1974, both from Northwestern University. He completed his medical residency and held a fellowship in cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

James Weyhenmeyer

James A. Weyhenmeyer, PhD

State University of New York, Research Foundation SUNY
e-mail | web site

James A. Weyhenmeyer is the senior vice president for research at the Research Foundation of the State University of New York (SUNY) and the senior vice provost for Research and Economic Development at the State University of New York. He has management responsibility for SUNY’s sponsored research and technology transfer and commercialization programs. Prior to joining SUNY, Weyhenmeyer was vice president for technology and economic development at the University of Illinois, where he served as the senior officer responsible for technology commercialization and economic development for the University of Illinois system. He also served as the principal of the member for the University’s limited liability companies, including Illinois VENTURES, LLC and the University of Illinois Research Park, LLC and the director of the University of Illinois Research Park. In addition, he served as the executive director of the East Central Illinois Technology Enterprise Center.

He is an experienced senior administrator having held several executive administrative appointments, including associate vice president for academic affairs and associate vice president for Economic Development and Corporate Relations. Weyhenmeyer was the founding CEO/managing director of Illinois VENTURES, LLC, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on the development of technology-based companies spinning out of research universities and national laboratories. His area of investment focus is in the life sciences, including therapeutics and medical devices. He serves on many public and private boards and is on scientific advisory boards for companies in gene technology and drug development sectors. He continues to serve as a scientific and business consultant for investment due diligence on early-stage technology-based companies. He has served as chief scientific officer for a medical device company and chief operating/technology officer for a drug delivery company.

Weyhenmeyer is an accomplished scientist having published widely in the areas of cardiovascular and stroke research. He is a professor of biological sciences at the University at Albany and continues to hold the rank of adjunct professor of cell biology, pathology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois. He is a member of several honorary societies, including the Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences (Sweden). Weyhenmeyer received his PhD from Indiana University and did postdoctoral training in the Departments of Medicine and Physiology/Biophysics at the University of Iowa.


Karin Ezbiansky Pavese

Karin Ezbiansky Pavese, PhD

The New York Academy of Sciences
web site

Karin Ezbiansky Pavese joined the New York Academy of Sciences in January 2006 as Director of the Physical Sciences & Engineering Program. In this role, she was responsible for spearheading the development of new initiatives in these scientific fields. In 2008 she was promoted to vice president of innovation and sustainability. In her current position she manages the Academy's efforts to promote innovation and economic development, and has played a key role in collaborations with Mexico City, the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), and the Levin Institute of the State University of New York.

Pavese received her PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000. As a graduate student, she investigated a new route to spin-on-dielectric films for potential use in the microelectronics industry and also studied the synthesis and mechanism of functionalized arylsilanes via catalytic coupling. Subsequently, she joined the General Electric Company as part of a two-year Technical Leadership Program. There, she led product and process development while completing management training. Upon graduation from General Electric's management program Pavese assumed a leadership role as a Six Sigma Black Belt directing research projects in the area of nanoparticle-filled coatings, most recently in the context of optical media. She played a major technical role in the launch of a limited play DVD product named ez-D (FlexPlay Technologies).

Pavese left General Electric in 2004 to become a Congressional Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), sponsored by the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the Materials Research Society (MRS). Selected by U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (CT), she played a key role in developing a landmark piece of legislation addressing American competitiveness and innovation in science and technology. Pavese is the author of 7 peer-reviewed publications, 5 patents, 4 General Electric proprietary technical reports, 2 opinion editorials, and 10 conference presentations.


Presented by

  • Johnson and Johnson
  • New York Academy of Sciences

In addition to their primary role as centers of knowledge, universities are increasingly viewed as economic engines that contribute to local and regional growth. Partnerships between universities and corporations can provide further opportunities for regional economic development, with each partner contributing its individual strengths to achieve a collective outcome.

As Richard Lester of MIT has argued in his report Universities, Innovation, and the Competitiveness of Local Economies, universities have vested interests that tie them to their communities, making them a valuable local asset that can help facilitate regional development. Companies, however, are focused on their bottom line, and are more likely to relocate operations to places that offer more attractive economic conditions. Demonstrating the value proposition of a university for a company can help foster a partnership that ultimately benefits the local economy.

New York Academy of Sciences Vice President of Innovation and Sustainability Karin Ezbiansky Pavese cited Lester’s work as she opened a December 8, 2009, press briefing focusing on academic-industry partnerships. As she explained, universities offer many valuable resources: highly educated people who generate new ideas, scientists who can serve as consultants to industry, numerous collaborative research opportunities, and a natural flow of new talent from universities to companies. Forging such alliances, however, can be a challenge.

In this press briefing, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, prominent representatives from higher education, industry, and government gathered at the Academy to explore how academia and industry can partner more successfully, and what public policy measures could facilitate collaboration.

Industry-higher education partnerships in New York State

There is great interest is stimulating public-private partnerships in New York, said David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University. More than 350 individuals and organizations submitted comments to a task force created by Governor Paterson to determine how higher education and industry can collaborate more effectively in the state. A report from the task force is now available, and similar themed reports on the importance of the innovation economy for New York's future have been released by the Center for an Urban Future and the Business Council of New York State.

New York has an enormous amount of raw material to spur innovation.

New York has an enormous amount of raw material to spur innovation, Skorton said. The state is home to around 300 colleges and universities, including more than 20 major research institutions. New York ranks second in the country, behind California, in annual research expenditures by colleges ($4 billion in New York, compared to over $6 billion in California), and a substantial number of large companies in the state invest heavily in R&D. The state also ranks second in the nation in the number of active small businesses, which employ 55% of the state's labor force. Despite this strong base, New York lags far behind other states in venture capital investment; while California attracts 47% of the venture capital funds spent in the U.S., New York attracts only 4%.

The most prosperous areas in the state of New York are those with higher education institutions, in part due to financial rewards from the research conducted there, and in part because higher education is itself a major industry. The primary business of universities however, is not job creation or economic development, but education and discovery. While higher education and industry have very different cultures, creative partnerships can be designed that benefit both, and still allow them to remain true to their core missions. Better communication is needed, Skorton said, to help foster productive interactions and avoid misunderstandings that can arise as each adapts to working with the other. Skorton also stressed the need for more emphasis on developing long-term relationships, rather than focusing primarily on short-term rewards.

Skorton offered four recommendations to help spur a robust innovation ecosystem in New York:

  • Develop metrics to measure the success of economic development decisions. This will allow stakeholders to base future decisions on potential return on investment (rather than primarily on geographical or political considerations).
  • "Flip the model" for the way universities pursue industry partnerships. Currently, universities seek an industry partner for commercialization after a product or process is discovered. Instead, clusters of industry should pull relevant research from universities by jointly identifying and communicating their needs for pre-competitive research.
  • As community members, universities need to invest their own resources in building regional innovation ecosystems, for example using endowment investment income to fund seed grants that bridge the gap between early development and commercialization.
  • Finally, strengthen the connection between innovation assets throughout the state and the state's venture capital investors, who are largely based in New York City.

University partnerships in the pharmaceutical industry

Stef Heylen of Janssen approached the partnership issue from the perspective of the pharmaceutical industry, which he described as traditionally very opportunistic. In the past, research was internally focused, as companies believed they could do everything themselves; development concentrated solely on proving efficacy and safety, and meeting regulatory requirements; and all work was internally financed, he said. The model that companies are moving to now is much more strategic and flexible, developing health care solutions instead of simply gaining approval of products. Companies look to harness external innovation. Research is outcomes-based, demonstrating the value and impact of the products, which must also be affordable. Companies are also entering into financial risk-sharing partnerships.

The primary driver for Janssen, Heylen said, is unmet medical need. The company looks to identify the best external science, and then optimizes development internally. A solid internal discovery program is also critical, and helps makes Janssen an attractive corporate partner.

Janssen's approach to collaborative science.

Janssen has external collaborations with academic institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, government research institutions, consortia, and not-for-profit organizations. Heylen highlighted the Janssen-Vanderbilt University collaboration to identify and optimize novel schizophrenia medicines. Vanderbilt was chosen as a partner because they are expert in this domain, and because they have instituted a cutting-edge drug development infrastructure, going beyond the usual limits of academia, and focusing on lead candidate identification and optimization. Vanderbilt has invested in capabilities, such as toxicological and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics expertise, that are usually only found in biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. Janssen and Vanderbilt conduct discovery research jointly, in a completely open collaboration. When a drug candidate is ready for human clinical trials, Janssen will take over development.

Heylen also described the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a collaborative effort sponsored by the European Commission and EU-based pharmaceutical companies. The Commission has committed €1billion for five years, which is being matched by the companies with €1billion of in-kind contributions. Every year an independent committee determines the most important areas for research, and the academic-industry consortium that submits the best proposal wins funding. In this way, the EU is striving to remove research bottlenecks and bring the different sectors together to address health issues and develop new medicines.

Energy Biosciences Institute: a public-private partnership

Intellectual property ownership of innovations arising from the Energy Biosciences Institute, from the academic partner perspective.

One novel approach to academic-industry partnership is the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a multi-institution model described by James Weyhenmeyer of the State University of New York (SUNY). The industrial partner is British Petroleum (BP), which has committed $500M over 10 years. The academic partners are the University of California at Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (UCB/LBNL), and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), which were selected from over 70 interested institutions in an open competition. EBI is focused on development of technically feasible and economically viable solutions to global energy challenges, with an emphasis on biofuels. Together, the three entities bring very different skill sets and expertise to bear on a single problem: UCB/LBLN bringing cell and molecular biology expertise; UIUC contributing agronomy and bioprocess engineering expertise; and BP offering the insight and capacity to move the science forward.

A unique aspect of this agreement is the intellectual property (IP) management, taking a novel “yours, mine, ours” approach to ownership of inventions.

Licensing is also pre-negotiated. BP has an automatic, non-exclusive, royalty-free commercial license to develop any IP solely owned by the academic partner. BP also has the option to obtain exclusive license rights to other EBI inventions, with pre-negotiated capped fees and/or royalty rates ($100,000/year/invention). There is an “escape clause” that allows the parties to negotiate a good faith revision to the royalty terms in exceptional cases of severely deficient compensation to the academic partner(s). Faculty are not restricted to the EBI, and can enter other collaborations as well.

In addition to the unprecedented scale of the award, the approach to IP rights, and the pre-negotiated royalty agreement, this model also works, Wehenmeyer said, because the academic and corporate partners are working side by side, in contiguous space in the same building, leveraging the capabilities of the open and collaborative environment and the proprietary environments.

IBM university programs

Interactions with universities are critical to our success, said Stephen LaFleche of IBM. The company implements a host of programs that facilitate interactions with universities, such as fellowships and internships, faculty and research awards, collaborations, student competitions, mentoring programs, executive programs, and of course public-private partnerships. The goal is to recruit the best talent, actively partner with the best research, manage the knowledge created, and re-infuse that knowledge back into the university curriculum.

IBM approach to university relationships. Drawing knowledge, expertise, and talent out, feeding support and new knowledge gained back in.

LaFleche highlighted several New York-based programs in which IBM is involved, including the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovation (CCNI), and Albany NanoTech. CCNI is a $100 million collaboration between IBM, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and New York State. The collaboration leverages the materials science strengths of RPI, and the nanotechnology and supercomputing expertise of IBM. There are 7 projects in progress with nearly $20 million in additional research funding from NSF, DOE, NIH, and several major corporations.

As a premier supercomputing center, CCNI provides computer simulation support for the nanotechnology prototype fabrication work conducted at Albany NanoTech, a facility of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Albany. IBM, in collaboration with other partners, moved much of its nanotechnology process research in microelectronics to Albany Nanotech, effectively making SUNY part of IBM's critical path. This unique approach is a real world case study in the success of a public-private partnership, LaFleche said.

Over the course of many partnerships, IBM has identified some key components of success. It is critically important to have industry executive-level sponsorship, LaFleche said. Well-constructed memoranda of understanding and IP agreements are also essential. It is important to identify faculty and industry researchers, and subject matter experts to lead the collaborations. IBM experience shows that long-term strategic relationships and goals work best. Ultimately, IBM has found that the consortium construct, involving multiple industry and university partners, leveraging multiple funding sources including state and federal government and others, is the most successful.

Facilitating collaborations at the New York Academy of Sciences

With the “Science Meets Business” initiative, NYAS facilitates interactions between and among the many diverse stakeholders involved in the science innovation ecosystem.

As one of the oldest scientific societies in the U.S., the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), founded in 1817, is relatively unique in that it is a completely independent, neutral third-party organization. Despite its name, NYAS is international, with members in over 140 countries. René Bastón of the Academy explained that NYAS seeks to fulfill its mission of advancing scientific knowledge through convening, disseminating, mentoring, and partnering activities. Bastón highlighted activities of NYAS in each of these areas. The Corporate Membership and Alliances helps to increase basic R&D interactions between universities and companies, looking to afford benefits to both sides. One particularly broad effort is the Science Meets Business initiative, with NYAS facilitating interactions between and among the many diverse stakeholders involved in the science innovation ecosystem. One current initiative is exploring the interactions, or lack thereof, between universities and emerging life sciences companies, and the venture capital community.

NYAS also offers innovation and economic development advisory services. The Academy's work with the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) is a prime example of the key role an NGO can play in facilitating academic-industry collaborations. As an advisor to NYSTAR, the Academy organizes workshops and conducts interviews with stakeholders in business, academia, and government, and develops recommendations to present to the state.

Overall, the Academy's independent status, diverse in-house expertise, and ability to convene authoritative thought leaders, universities, companies, and government to address critical topics, allows the Academy to serve as a facilitator, fostering ongoing dialogue, and building interactions among disparate entities that are often in competition with one another.

Tomorrow's collaborators

As universities, companies, and facilitators work to shape the evolving innovation ecosystem, panelists and participants discussed how best to prepare the next generation of scientists to thrive in it. Suggestions ranged from offering training in entrepreneurship as part of science education, to courses in science career “survival skills” that teach public speaking skills and discuss non-academic careers. Undergraduates also need to be presented with a balanced view regarding the need to protect ideas in a competitive research environment, and the need to share information and advances broadly for the public good.

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for a successful academic-industry partnership, but there are commonalities among successful collaborations. It is important to continue to convene stakeholders to share observations, challenges, barriers, and success stories, and ultimately, to develop relationships that will strengthen the connection between innovation assets throughout New York. When these assets are connected in a multidisciplinary, collaborative global network, operating within an entrepreneurial culture that is democratic and accepting of diversity, the door is opened for innovation, productivity, and prosperity.

Open Questions

To what extent was there open exchange of information in the Energy Biosciences Institute? Where BP employees working at the university; were the academic researchers welcome at BP?

Can faculty in the Energy Biosciences Institute enter into other collaborations concurrently?

Are there concerns in academia that involvement with industry inhibits the creative basic research mission of universities?