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Director's Chair

Promoting alumni-faculty collaboration

Dear Colleagues,

As we approach the end of yet another challenging year, I want to first thank you for weathering the pandemic storm and continuing to produce such innovative research! Unlike last year, this year has evolved to business as usual. We have been able to begin interacting again face-to-face, and with that comes new opportunities to collaborate and move research forward.

Over the past few months, our office has been working to provide more avenues for collaboration. An essential step in the research process, making connections through collaboration is key to advancing research and commercializing technologies. To offer more support for your research endeavors, we have created a networking program designed to connect Clemson University alumni to faculty researchers. In previous publications, I have highlighted the importance of working with industry to develop your research further. While this program does seek to promote collaboration with industry, the goal of this initiative is to encourage mentor-mentee relationships to advance Clemson research innovations toward commercial products and services.

For Faculty

At CURF, our primary mission is to build meaningful and ongoing relationships with our faculty researchers in order to improve research-industry engagement, increase sponsored-research funding to address unmet market needs, and encourage technology adoption through licensing and startup formation. In launching this alumni-faculty mentorship program, faculty researchers will have the opportunity to collaborate with industry professionals who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in successfully translating innovative products and services from lab to market. Examples of how faculty researchers can benefit from this program include:

• Funding is an essential part of the research process. This program can facilitate feedback from alumni on fundamental problems in the market and how best to obtain grant funding to mature your research into viable products and services.
• Many alumni have evolved their careers toward entrepreneurship and successfully created startups from early-stage research. If you desire to create a startup, connecting with alumni who have been through the startup process can benefit your future research endeavors.
• As your partner in the technology transfer process, we work with you to mature your technology and potentially commercialize it. Alumni who have been able to commercialize technologies can be an excellent resource for faculty researchers looking to add value to their research through licensing.

For Alumni

As the facilitator of technology transfer, we work to connect with industry to encourage research at Clemson University. Our goal is to assist faculty researchers in contributing their meaningful and innovative discoveries to society. As alumni, you have gained an immense amount of experience in technology transfer from your time as a researcher at Clemson. In addition to your proficiency in research, you have also gained real-world industry experience. Through this mentorship program, you will be able to give back to Clemson by using your expertise in research and industry to guide faculty researchers along their research journey. Examples of how alumni can benefit from this program include:

• Mentoring faculty researchers provides an opportunity to serve a pivotal role in the development of innovative research. This program will also allow you to use your knowledge in research and business to assist in reviewing technologies disclosed to our office.
• At CURF, we offer funding support for the next critical steps that can significantly increase the likelihood of commercialization. Our Technology Maturation Fund is unlike any funding source currently available to Clemson's faculty researchers, and serves as an applied funding source to de-risk a technology towards commercialization. As a participant in the mentorship program, you can serve as a Subject Matter Expert on our Technology Maturation Fund Review Panels.
• Two years ago, we launched a programmatic event series geared towards connecting faculty researchers with industry. The Innovation Series for Partnering Industry with the Research Enterprise (INSPIRE) encourages and enhances academia-industry collaborations. In this mentorship program, you will have the opportunity to participate in an INSPIRE event as a guest speaker.

This mentorship initiative offers several benefits for both faculty researchers and alumni. As an effort developed by our office and not associated or connected to the Clemson University Alumni Association, our goal is to provide further assistance for faculty researchers and engage alumni in the research process to support the Clemson University research enterprise.

For more information on this program, click here

Best regards,

Chris

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