This past week I was privileged to be able to attend and support the University Industry Demonstration Partnership meeting in Knoxville, TN. These meetings bring together individuals from university, industry, and government sectors to discuss and DEVELOP approaches to fostering new and improved partnerships. I emphasis develop because a large part of this meeting is dedicated to designing and working on projects related to partnership best practices.
What amazed me about the meeting was how everyone was focused on action. It wasn't just a group of people talking about partnerships. It was a group of people committed to collaborating and making these partnerships better. For example, UIDP publishes a variety of resources for its members. Talking with the UIDP staff, I learned that while UIDP "publishes" these resources, UIDP members are largely the drivers of content creation. This is because UIDP members are practitioners. They are working at the front lines of creating, fostering, and evaluating partnerships on a daily basis. They need resources and the knowledge contained within those resources to do their job.
UIDP21 focused on developing partnerships with National Laboratories - how can industry and universities effectively collaborate with the many national laboratories through the US? The meeting was held at the perfect location (The University of Tennessee in Knoxville (UTK)) because Oak Ridge National Laboratory is right in UTK's backyard. I won't summarize all that was discussed at the meeting, but all I can say is the meeting was refreshing and encouraging, especially for someone who believes in the value of these partnerships.
I want to send a big "Thank You" to the leadership at UIDP for all the hard work they do. Their effort is making a big impact on science, technology, economic develop, and education.