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UIDP28: Partnerships are shaping the future on a global scale

April 19, 2019: RTI recently partnered with NC State University, UNC–Chapel Hill and Duke University for the UIDP28 semiannual conference, which was hosted on NC State's Centennial Campus.

More than 300 professionals from across the United States and around the world participated in the event, which focused on the theme "Catalyzing Innovation Through Partnerships: Highlighting the Internal and External Players that Enable University-Industry Collaboration."

In his opening remarks, NC State chancellor Randy Woodson gave a nod to March Madness, noting that his personal Final Four were NC State, RTI, UNC and Duke. Anthony Annunziata, Global Lead for the IBM Q Network, delivered the conference's keynote.

Attendees heard from experts on university-industry partnerships in the Research Triangle region and learned how university-industry government relationships are shaping the future on a global scale.

The conference included workshops, short talks, plenary talks, interactive breakout sessions and extensive networking time intended to maximize participation. With an emphasis on strategic and tactical issues affecting academic-corporate engagement, the UIDP28 program provided effective approaches for helping attendees do their day jobs better. RTI's Angel Hedberg led a strategic road-mapping workshop along with Stewart Witzeman, who recently retired from Eastman, Mark Schmidt from John Deere and Jaap Schut from PACE Consulting.

Sara Lawrence, from the RTI Center for Applied Economics and Strategy, moderated the Regional Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Panel with experts from the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, NC State, Innovate Carolina and the Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative. This panel discussion explored how the Triangle's innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem leverages partnerships, programs and resources to help build and scale successful startup companies and engage with industry partners.

In the spirit of collaboration, Jacqueline Olich, senior director of university collaborations at RTI, co-presented with Jonathan Horowitz, assistant vice chancellor for research infrastructure, NC State. Their presentation was entitled "A Case Study in Collaboration: North Carolina State University, RTI International and the Game-Changing Research Incentive Program Large-Scale Seed-Funding Initiative."

Olich served on the UIDP28 Program Committee, which was chaired by NC State's Leah Burton and Genevieve Garland. "It has been gratifying to see the Program Committee's vision realized," Olich stated. "The conference drew a record crowd and attendees from around the globe were able to see our regional institutions functioning as the founders of RTI envisaged 60 years ago."

Corporate sponsors included John Deere, Eastman, Cisco, BASF, LexisNexis and more.