Conducting industry research is like buying your first house, getting married or jumping out of a plane: before you commit, you want to talk to someone who’s done it.
“Many of our faculty who are interested in participating in industry research want to know what they’re getting into before they jump into research partnerships with industry,” says Chris Jerome, associate vice president of the Center for Industry Research Collaboration at Wake Forest Innovations.
The Center for Industry Research Collaboration helps researchers and clinicians of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center build mutually beneficial relationships by connecting them with interested industry partners and supporting the development and execution of collaborative research.
To help familiarize faculty with the industry research process, the Center created Working with Industry, a lunch-and-learn that exposes Wake Forest Baptist faculty to the realities of industry research through the stories of their peers.
The Working with Industry Lunch & Learn is aimed at serving faculty with little to no industry experience but who are industry-curious by engaging them with faculty peers who have experience conducting research with industry and want to share their knowledge.
Why Work with Industry?
If you’ve never worked with industry on research before, you may be wondering if it’s worth the hassle of cultivating relationships with companies. What would you get out of that arrangement?
The landscape of industry research is changing, and companies increasingly seek new collaborations to support their research and development needs. The academic research landscape is also shifting. As grant funding continues to decrease, more academics are looking for new, diverse ways to fund their research and laboratories. Others are looking for new avenues to affect patient care and outcomes.
At the same time, some of the barriers to working with industry—like the fear that the desire for profit could be at odds with scientific discovery—are diminishing. At some academic institutions, these barriers are being addressed by specialized groups like Wake Forest Innovations, created to bridge the gaps between industry and academia.
These research partnerships bring academic researchers and clinicians together with industry to share expertise, knowledge, risk and reward. Through these mutually beneficial relationships, industry fills their R&D needs and academic researchers move their work into real-world applications, as well as get access to resources they might not have otherwise.
The bottom line is that—together—industry and academia are able to make progress toward identifying and developing treatments and products that benefit society.
But are the benefits of industry research worth the effort it takes to partner with companies? Working with Industry events give clinicians and researchers at Wake Forest Baptist the opportunity to ask that question of their peers who have been down the industry-research road.
“We ask our speakers to talk about what they think their fellow faculty members need to know if they are thinking about working with industry,” says Jerome.
The presentations cover topics such as how to get involved with industry, the benefits and downsides of industry research and what makes the process easier.
“Industry research is not for everybody,” says Jerome. “Working with Industry helps faculty understand what it is like so that they can decide if it’s for them.”
Working with Industry 2017
This year, Working with Industry will be held on May 19, 2017 from 12 pm to 1 pm in the Commons Area Conference Rooms in the Gray Building. The faculty speaker will be J. Daniel Bourland, PhD, medical physicist and head of the Radiation Physics and Dosimetry Core at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Bourland specializes in radiation physics, including dosimetry, gamma radiosurgery and imaging applications in radiation oncology. He works with both industry and government to assess therapeutic and medical device products for their ability to treat or protect from radiation skin injuries. His collaborations with industry include research and clinical consulting, dose assessment, model development, radiation protocols and imaging and radiation devices.
“Dan Bourland is well-known and has experience on both the preclinical and clinical sides of research, so he has valuable expertise to share,” says Jerome.
In addition to Bourland’s presentation, Jerome and other staff from the Center are present to help attending researchers and clinicians understand how Wake Forest Innovations can assist in the process of industry research.
“We want faculty to know how we can help with the process and what the resources are that we can provide for them along the journey,” Jerome says.