Industry, Academy Join Forces at Prestigious Conference

Northwestern-hosted event highlights ‘collaborative, global’ nature of research

September 14, 2018

When Northwestern and Deerfield Management announced the launch of Lakeside Discovery on May 31, the agreement marked the latest University partnership with the potential for breakthrough innovation.

Lisa Dhar of the Innovation and New Ventures Office and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern, and Karen Heidelberger of Deerfield Management discussed the agreement as part of a robust panel to conclude UIDP27 — a conference produced by the UIDP, a member-driven organization that seeks to identify key issues impacting university-industry relations and develop innovative approaches to partnership and collaboration. Northwestern hosted the event for the first time September 11 through 14, in association with the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“At Northwestern, we have enjoyed a long history of strong corporate partnerships, with both large firms like Dow, Ford, IBM, and others, as well as smaller companies and even startups,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School of Engineering, during an opening talk on September13. “These partnerships have advanced research in areas such as materials science — where we have the oldest department in the country — chemical and biological engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science.”

More than 300 attendees from across the United States participated in UIDP27, which explored various aspects of successful relationships between industry and academia, including leveraging emerging technologies, master research agreements, and startups to further high-impact knowledge creation.

“Research today is a collaborative enterprise, and a global one. Pursuing discoveries to solve important challenges often requires a variety of expertise — within the academic world and, increasingly, through engagement with corporate partners,” said Jay Walsh, Northwestern’s vice president for research and the incoming UIDP chair. “These meetings provide a great opportunity to bring together talent from across different knowledge domains, with participants sharing ideas and experiences that can help generate new insights with transformative social impact.”

As part of Lakeside Discovery, Deerfield will provide up to $65 million of targeted funding and deep development expertise to advance promising Northwestern research. The partnership was highlighted alongside other examples of Northwestern’s leadership in University-Industry collaboration — including between AbbVie and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern; Exelon Corporation and the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern; and the transformational new relationship with Compass Group, Northwestern’s new university-wide food service provider. The four-day conference also featured tours of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Northwestern Simulation Lab, and University of Illinois Chicago’s Electronic Visualization Lab.

Leigh Thompson, the J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, delivered the conference’s keynote lecture on September 12. Her presentation focused on win-win negotiation skills and value-creating strategies, underscoring the importance of establishing trust as well as understanding the dynamics behind the “best alternative to a negotiated agreement,” or BATNA. Thompson’s most recent research includes investigating divergent versus convergent thinking on negotiation performance; exploring mindfulness and negotiation performance; and shedding light on how analogical reasoning improves negotiation outcomes.

“UIDP27 was a huge success,” said Jim Bray, director of Northwestern’s corporate engagement office. “By showcasing our environment, where university-industry partnerships help drive innovation, we’ve added to a growing conversation about the many forms that research partnerships can take.”

UIDP27 was made possible by the generous support of sponsors including; Chartwells, Boeing, Dow, Exelon, P&G, Facebook, AbbVie, John Deere, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, University of Notre Dame, CannonDesign, Higher Talent Executive Search, and National Science Foundation.