Example Partnerships

There are many synergies between academic institutions and corporations. Their drive for profit doesn’t have to impede your desire for research. In fact, their drive can fuel your passion.

There have been a lot of successful partnerships between researchers at KU and for-profit companies. We’ll highlight some of these partnerships below.

Sponsored Research & IP

Dr. Jenn-Tai Liang, Director of the Tertiary Oil Recovery Project and Professor of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering has developed a patented technology using polyelectrolyte complex (PEC) nanoparticles to entrap, protect, and delay the release of key oil and gas field chemicals so that they can be successfully transported to target locations deep inside underground reservoirs.

By repurposing drug delivery technologies used in the pharmaceutical industry to treat disease, Professor Liang and his collaborators have greatly extended gelation times in porous rock, improved conformance control, and enhanced oil recovery.

Dr. Liang’s technologies and research have gained the attention of national and international oil and gas companies and has resulted in a number of sponsored research projects and intellectual property activity.

Affiliates Program

DST Systems, a leading provider of information processing and software services and products to companies around the world, has agreed to a three-year affiliation with the KU School of Business’ Center for Business Analytics Research (CBAR). 

Created in 2012, CBAR’s mission is to advance the science and practice of business analytics by bridging industry and theory to promote research, outreach and teaching. As a trending industry field, business analytics refers to the skills, technologies, applications and practices businesses use to gain insight, to make informed and optimal decisions in all areas, to manage uncertainty and to improve outcomes.

As a founding affiliate, Kansas City-based DST will have access to cutting-edge research in data analytics and priority access to faculty and students conducting such work. The company will also be influential in the development and direction of the CBAR program. The center’s faculty associates will work with DST management on data analytics projects that will both add value to DST and advance the center’s research mission.

Talent Acquisition 

The University of Kansas Business School paired with Silicon Prairie News and hosted a “StartUp Job Crawl” in the Kansas City area.  The StartUp Crawl took students to three locations, Kansas City StartUp Village, Beta Blox, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The purpose of the Start Up Job Crawl is to provide an environment for students to discover a world of startups, perhaps unknown to students, and opens the door to future career opportunities, great hires, and more.  In addition, the startups have the opportunity to engage local talent and potentially grow their work force.  This was the first time a Startup Crawl took place in Kansas

Capstone Projects

This past spring, the KU Mechanical Engineering Department introduced a new approach to industry-sponsored capstone projects. The two-semester program exposes ME students to relevant, real-world projects to better prepare them for their careers. In turn, the program provides industry sponsors with first-hand experience working with a team of senior ME students, giving students insight into both the technical aspects and culture of their businesses. This symbiotic relationship ultimately gives each sponsor a unique opportunity to evaluate creative and productive students for possible internships or full-time employment. In addition, sponsors have the opportunity to interact with faculty project advisors in a manner that may lead to follow-on collaborations, such as joint proposal development for federally-funded research and development activities. 

Nine companies are currently partnering with KU Mechanical Engineering by funding 12 different capstone projects, collectively supporting about 40 ME students. The sponsors range in size from a publicly-traded Fortune 350 firm, to a 3-person startup and are located in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

For more information about this expanding capstone program please contact Ted Bergman, Charles E. & Mary Jane Spahr Professor and Chairman, Department of Mechanical Engineering (tlbergman@ku.edu) or Tricia Bergman, Assistant Director of Corporate Partnerships for the School of Engineering (tricia.bergman@ku.edu).