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K-State Today

September 27, 2017



Research Connections offers opportunity to build interdisciplinary collaborations, find resources and promote your work

By Sarah Hancock

K-State faculty, postdocs, graduate students and staff engaged in research, scholarly, and creative activity and discovery are invited to participate in Research Connections. The event will be 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, in the K-State Alumni Center Banquet Room. Exhibitors will have a table and display space for posters, banners, signs, handouts, and some limited equipment or other items. Setup will be available starting at 1 p.m. Registration is available now.

The event is designed to give K-State researchers a venue in which they can learn what their colleagues are doing, promote their own work, and explore possible collaborations. Exhibitors and attendees also will have an opportunity to learn about K-State resources that are available to support research, scholarly, and creative activity and discovery.

"We need to take time to talk to each other about the work we're doing," said Peter Dorhout, vice president for research. "We've seen about a 17 percent increase in the number of multidisciplinary research awards in the past five fiscal years, plus a 28 percent increase in the number of first-time awardees. Our office wants to continue to support growth in those areas." 

Research Connections is a new approach to an ongoing series of events conceived by a group that came together in May 2013 to support K-State corporate engagement efforts. Representatives from the Office of the Vice President for Research, the K-State Institute for Commercialization, the Kansas State University Foundation and the Career Center created a Working With Industry Boot Camp and associated workshops to support faculty efforts to forge relationships with industry sponsors. The group sponsored Research Showcase events in spring 2015, 2016 and 2017. Feedback from those events has been positive, but some researchers expressed a need for an internal showcase to find out what others on campus are doing and to build interdisciplinary collaborations.

"It's difficult to keep track of what colleagues in your own department are doing — much less in other departments or colleges at K-State. Faculty members have told us they want to attend events that help them learn more about and connect with research at our own institution," Dorhout said.

Supporting industry engagement also remains a priority. The working group will host another Research Showcase to help K-State faculty build or renew industry connections on May 16, 2018, at K-State Olathe.

Debbie Kirchhoff, executive director of strategic initiatives at K-State Olathe, said the working group plans to leverage the success of the 2017 Research Showcase and expand the upcoming spring event.

"Our focus is on strategic outreach to companies and organizations that align well with the university's research capabilities and may lead to cutting-edge collaborations," Kirchhoff said.

Dorhout said industry collaboration is an important piece of K-State's economic engagement strategy.

"We've made significant progress in industry-funded projects and in the number of master research and service agreements. This helps researchers fund their work and helps ensure that K-State research makes an impact in society," Dorhout said.

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