Over 800 companies have connected to CU Boulder through its Office of Industry Collaboration (OIC). Businesses often utilize CU Boulder resources and expertise to meet their research, workforce, or other business objectives. At times, navigating the vast university ecosystem to find the right resource proves challenging.
“The Office of Industry Collaboration ‘opens the door’ into the Boulder campus for companies interested in working with CU Boulder,” states OIC Director Caroline Himes. OIC staff consults with individual companies to evaluate their needs and capabilities to better connect and develop relationships according to the company’s specific objectives. Qualified program and project managers bridge businesses with research, workforce development, and unique industry needs. Since its inception in 2013, OIC has logged over 800 support cases of which more than 575 were with 360 individual companies
“Companies also look to our office to broaden their connection to the campus,” Himes explains. “For example, a company may already recruit students but be interested in working more directly with faculty in a specific field of study to address a technical question. After understanding more about the need and available budget, we identify appropriate faculty and make the connection. Should work proceed, we support the project definition and setup.”
Thousands of companies have traditionally engaged with CU Boulder through one point of engagement such as recruiting or research. “Nearly 10,000 companies work with CU Boulder. Yet only a small fraction of those companies engage directly with our academic units and personnel. Growing these connections benefits the company, students, faculty, and community,” Himes clarifies.
The office serves as a resource, not only to individual businesses, but also to organizations that exist to support business growth and prosperity such as the Boulder Economic Council (BEC). Clif Harald, Executive Director of BEC, has found CU Boulder’s industry office useful as a main point of contact to connect their business constituents to the university. “The ability of local businesses to partner with CU Boulder has become much more streamlined with the creation of the concierge function on campus. Being able to refer companies to CU Boulder’s Office of Industry Collaboration has been a great advantage for the Boulder Economic Council in connecting businesses in our key industries to the assets of the university,” Harald explains.
OIC, part of CU Boulder’s Research & Innovation Office (RIO), focuses on the industry aspect of RIO’s mission to support campus-wide progress in research, creative works, partnerships, strategic initiatives, and commercialization. “Strategic industry engagement is essential to our education and research goals,” details Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation Terri Fiez. “OIC successfully develops relationship opportunities between companies and researchers, supporting industry needs. Understanding a company’s goals related to CU capabilities, especially for major partners, has created connections with faculty and identified broad areas of engagement that provide enhanced value to the company. The OIC team has also been highly influential in identifying new efficient processes and strategies that simplify and improve company and university interactions. The Office of Industry Collaboration plays an important role in our research and innovation mission.”