A Case Study of Kansas State University's Strategic Partner Pathway

Kent Glasscock
Kansas State University

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Rebecca Robinson
Kansas State University

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In the areas of Kansas State University research strengths, the trend lines of established global companies are to downsize or flatten in-house research & development activities because of a variety of factors including global demographics resulting in a heightened need to access to talent that has skillsets targeted to company needs. Public universities are simultaneously reacting to trend lines of reduced public aid and flattening of government sponsored research and the increased need to show prospective students a direct connection to industry for prospective employment. Therefore, global companies have an increased need for what public universities have and public universities have an imperative need to establish partnerships with global companies unlike ever before. As a result of this growing opportunity, the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization has developed a strategic partner pathway, created in collaboration with college and university leadership. The vision of this model is for Kansas State University to create enduring strategic private sector global partnerships in areas of K-State science which are economically based and designed to appropriately engage the knowledge and assets of a 21st century land grant university. The mission is to enhance university/industry collaboration and complementary capabilities to advance the university & to accelerate economic growth through the transition of knowledge & technology-based products into the marketplace through innovation, talent development and professional training. The model focuses on exploring with companies how to create long-term, economic-based partnerships designed to:

¥ Increase the transition velocity of transformational knowledge and technology-based products into the global marketplace
¥ Create tangible economic value and advance the economic growth interests of Kansas by addressing complex current and future agriculture/food system challenges via transformational innovation
¥ Enhance appropriate university economic return in the form of sponsored research, intellectual property royalties, professional training programming and equity or equity-like positions
¥ Advance local economic growth through company attraction near the university's three campuses
¥ Leverage existing University and KSU Foundation relationships into more multi-faceted, economic-based partnerships

KSU-IC’s strategic partnership pathway model consists of five stages: align, enable, advance, engage, and enrich.

Engage: KSU-IC targets global companies to understand their innovation, talent and training needs, opportunities, and challenges. In this initial step, particular attention is paid to those companies willing to collaborate and invest in the creation of a university/corporate partnership consistent with the anticipated growing demands of the global marketplace. Included in the initial engagement is personal visits by university leadership with corporate executives as well as with company research, business development and venture leaders.

Align: We identify where natural alignments exist with the university and any particular company. Partnerships only occur when there is alignment of interests/needs, complementary capabilities/assets and defined shared benefit. While alignment become apparent, so does capability, science, facility and capital challenges that inhibit alignment. Identification of these challenges - and
their interconnectedness - is essential because they will tend to undermine not only the formation and execution of active partnerships but also their ability to achieve desired benefit.

Enable: The evolving, complex problems now facing global companies are of such scope that they can only be addressed through transformational, interdisciplinary thought and action. The more intricate and complex problems become, the more complementary capabilities and resources are needed to solve them. It is this need that ultimately forms foundation for enduring partnerships.

Advance: In this stage, we secure key partnerships, identify specific shared goals within each partnership, ascertain progressive benchmarks for success, and advance each partnership via targeted, economic-based projects and initiatives focused on innovation, talent and professional training. In this step, performance metrics and clear expectations are established to monitor and measure the advancement of each individual university/corporate strategic partnership.

Enrich: Recognizing that strategic partnerships of a significant and permanent nature are a long term activity for which major short term, important steps must be taken, universities have an important but unique role in laying a lasting foundation for corporate growth and creating a culture of entrepreneurship. Multiple and varied efforts towards this end exist to ensure that established partnerships are meeting the initial intent and the relationships are maintained and enriched over time.

These efforts have generated substantial return on investment for Kansas State University and our affiliated partners in fiscal year 2015:
- $2.7 Million total cash generated by the KSU-IC for Kansas State University (revenue generated via licensing of IP and sponsored research facilitation), $10.7 Million 5 Year Cumulative cash generation
- $4.5 Million – Current indicated value of equity in client companies
- 351 net jobs created by client companies with average annual salaries of $63,600 and $22.3 Million in annual payroll
- $126.2 Million in client company sales of products generated by KSU-IC clients
- $17.7 Million in private capital invested in client companies
- 274 unique faculty interactions
- 560 unique industry interactions
- 67 contractual agreements signed

Over the next 20 years, through robust partnerships the University can expect to create immense economic impact. If universities around the globe adopt and appropriately deliver on this model, we will change the game of university-business interaction.