University Research Foundation, Institute for Commercialization merge to form Innovation Partners
Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020
The K-State/Manhattan Innovation Center, which houses the newly merged organization Innovation Partners. | Download this photo.
MANHATTAN — As the first operational land-grant university, Kansas State University is no stranger to ensuring that university research, knowledge and innovation are used to improve the lives of Kansas citizens, the region, nation and beyond. Now, K-State has established a newly merged organization, Innovation Partners, that takes a new streamlined approach to corporate relations, technology transfer and economic development.
In 2018 the board of directors and executive committees of the Kansas State University Research Foundation, known as KSURF, and the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization, or KSU-IC, recognized that by merging the two entities into one unit, resources could be better leveraged and collaboration improved, ultimately resulting in a clearer, more consistent message in delivering on the K-State economic land-grant mission. On July 1, 2019, KSURF and KSU-IC merged to form Innovation Partners.
According to Peter Dorhout, vice president for research, the partnership will allow both units to work as one cohesive entity with unified leadership and a common strategic plan.
"When I assumed the role of vice president for research, one of my charges was to bring these units together as a unique hub for intellectual property protection, commercialization and corporate engagement," Dorhout said. "Unifying these offices will achieve that goal and will strengthen our ability to collaborate internally at K-State, as well as externally with the Manhattan community and with industry."
Services offered by the unit will not change and researchers and community partners should continue to reach out to previous contacts, said Kent Glasscock, president and CEO of K-State Innovation Partners.
"Merging the two offices will mean improved communication and collaboration as well as increased opportunities for community and university development," Glasscock said.
K-State Innovation Partners is committed to collaborating with university, industry and communities to deliver a streamlined mission of corporate engagement, technology commercialization and economic development.
"Driven by innovation, our nationally unique organizational structure will serve K-State, community partners and industry in one comprehensive unit, allowing for more efficient intellectual property protection, economic opportunities and a consistent experience for partners," said Rebecca Robinson, chief corporate engagement and economic development officer.
As a service unit and partner, K-State Innovation Partners is dedicated to continued collaboration with internal and external stakeholders to identify common goals and shared initiatives.
Robinson said K-State Innovation Partners will measure success through the organization's impacts on K-State, including revenue, engagement and reputation.
"We will also base success on the impacts we have on the broader region and state through job creation, capital investment and economic development in order to meet our land-grant mission to connect what we do at K-State with Kansans," Robinson said.
As a result of KSURF and KSU-IC efforts to date, 503 jobs have been created in the region with total annual salaries of more than $28 million. This work has resulted in $48.5 million in economic impact in the region with more than $77 million projected impact.
KSURF has worked to connect researchers at K-State with resources to protect and promote the university's intellectual property since its founding in 1942. With an active program to facilitate technology licensing and transfer of intellectual property developed by K-State faculty, the KSURF team has been granted more than 58 patents since 2014.
The KSU-IC was founded in 1994 and has been dedicated to the startup and expansion of technology-based, high-growth enterprises and enabling the commercialization of university and underutilized corporate intellectual property. In addition to technology commercialization, the KSU-IC was charged with pursuing economically based partnerships with industry on behalf of K-State and advancing the economic development portion of the land-grant mission.