Virginia Tech is an international leader in transportation research and its real-world applications, such as how autonomous vehicles can improve highway safety. Photo Credit: vt.edu

Virginia Tech is enhancing its research environment with an innovative, discovery-to-market approach to industry partnerships, commercializing technology, and supporting start-ups.

The effort began with the formation of LINK, the Center for Industry Partnerships to streamline the way companies engage with Virginia Tech. In its first year, LINK helped secure multimillion-dollar agreements with companies like aerospace giant Boeing and digital currency pioneer Block.one, adding momentum to the university’s already strong reputation for forging comprehensive industry partnerships. Examples of such partnerships include Mahindra Group, a worldwide leader in farming equipment, that announced it would open offices in the university’s Corporate Research Center and sponsor research in agricultural robotics.

Now, a new resource — LAUNCH, The Center for New Ventures — will help turn inventions made by Virginia Tech researchers into applied innovations. LAUNCH will support industry, entrepreneur, and investor outreach and engagement, business planning, and economic development. The goal is to create more success stories like that of DeepSig, a start-up that is developing consumer-use technology invented by researchers at Virginia Tech’s Hume Center for National Security and Technology.

“LINK fully recognizes the importance of advancing industry partnerships, and LAUNCH represents the university’s commitment to our faculty and students to take a more active role in transitioning ideas and discoveries into new enterprises so they can create additional value and impact,” said Theresa Mayer, Virginia Tech’s vice president for research and innovation. “We are increasing our commitment to and focus on technology transfer at the university to streamline the paths to joint research and start-ups.”

Brandy Salmon, who until recently served as executive director of LINK, will oversee both LINK and LAUNCH as associate vice president for innovation and partnerships. Read more about her appointment.

“Research universities like Virginia Tech operate on such a broad scale that there are almost unlimited opportunities for collaboration and innovation,” said Salmon, who previously served as an innovation strategy consultant and led licensing and start-up efforts with Duke University. “But that can also be a challenge if steps aren’t taken to make it easy for potential partners to connect. Given the rapid pace of technology development, premier companies and venture capitalists are looking for universities to bring value in new ways – not only through the research, but also through the structures that support partnership and engagement.”

LAUNCH will enhance Virginia Tech’s emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. LAUNCH’s efforts to shape and spin out researchers’ inventions will complement other initiatives, including those within …

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This article was originally posted on VT.edu.

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