In 2014, WSU entered a partnership with the Seattle-based biotech investment and management company Accelerator Corp., becoming one of eight new Northwest institutional partners in the company’s $51.1 million venture. The partnership advances efforts to commercialize WSU faculty-driven innovations and move them to the marketplace. Accelerator offers mentorship, support and evaluation of early-stage biotech research and ventures that are candidates for forming a startup company. In turn, WSU’s faculty expertise and state-of-the-art technological support facilities will become part of the shared core assets available to Accelerator companies, enhancing scientific collaboration across the region.
Beyond featuring WSU faculty as speakers at their industry breakfasts, we work closely with the CleanTech Alliance on their executive board, government relations committee, and Annual Clean Technology Showcase planning committee. What’s more, in 2014, WSU was honored by The Alliance as one of three finalists in the inaugural CleanTech Achievement Award.
Our work with the Washington State Department of Commerce connects the University to the economic priorities of the state, further extending our land-grant mission objectives to meet the needs of our region. Initiatives such as the Clean Energy Fund (link to the latest one) aligns clean technology research and development with the goals of lower carbon emissions in Washington. Working in partnership with the Department on the NIH SBIR/STTR funding helps connect our faculty entrepreneurs with non-dilutive funding critical for technology and business development.
Our membership with the region’s top clean tech investor network positions WSU to understand the investment landscape, first-hand and in real time. Bridging the University with Element 8 angel investors is a critical step to building Washington’s clean tech investment pipeline, and gains us access to a regional network of mentors, entrepreneurs, and business advisors.
The Technology Alliance regularly features WSU faculty at their Discovery Series Breakfast speaker series. These engagements have led to important connections to investors and public policy officials. See reports of two such engagements here and here.
As a member of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association (WBBA), WSU researchers and staff make connections, create partnerships, and find funding opportunities among Washington’s life sciences community. We work closely with the WBBA on their executive board, commercialization committee, and Annual Life Science Innovation Northwest planning committee. In addition to having researchers and spinout companies participate in LSINW, WSU faculty have won Women to Watch in Life Sciences awards for the past three years.
Through the workforce development initiative Internship Toolkit, WSU partnered and worked closely with the WTIA on a select committee focused on providing resources to small and medium sized businesses wishing to hire interns. Important to student development is the opportunity to participate in real-world work situations, and through this work, we are helping to enable more connections between businesses and students – or as we like to refer to them our future technology leaders.
Through our membership with the Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA), WSU works with organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, World Vision and many more to both find sustainable health solutions worldwide, and to grow the global health sector in Washington. We are involved on the board, and several WSU researchers and centers are engaged in joint projects with WGHA members.