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The IRI conference attracts Leaders in Innovation from all over the globe to talk about everything R&D. While these companies span a wide variety of industries, many innovators were seeking solutions to similar problems. Hear what Sean Luther, executive director of InnovatePGH had to say about corporate partnerships with universities when we met at the 2019 IRI Annual Conference in Pittsburgh.

A new pattern is emerging between University and Corporate Centers across the country. As younger generations flock towards urban centers, and large corporations want to decentralize their R&D, more companies are partnering with University to drive their innovation and research. Because they aren’t housing their R&D in their own backyard, they are able to generate a more open and collaborative environment for discovery.

You have these academic centers creating unique partnerships with big urban corporate institutions, asking hard questions, and really driving the next generation of corporate innovation in the US.”

Luther notes that Pittsburgh embodies this relationship with the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon at the heart of successful partnerships. “For the past 20 years, Pittsburgh’s economy has been defined by the leadership of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Melon University.”Sean Luther, Executive Director, InnovatePGH

“The most successful of these relationships is where you have a corporate and you have a university finding a customer that works between that partnership,” said Luther. “That first customer into the research apparatus has really proven to be a successful model for the next phase of university/corporate partnerships.”

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