CORVALLIS, Ore. - An increasing number of Oregon companies, both large and small, are taking advantage of the chance to work with Oregon State University engineering students on projects ranging from applied research to product development.
This year many small Oregon companies and startups have teamed up with students on topics such as optimizing solar panel performance or developing devices for the treatment of type-one diabetes. VAL Avionics of Salem, Ore., sponsored a project that resulted in a new navigational system for airplanes that is already on the market.
Such university-industry partnerships sometimes produce a marketable product, and sometimes just improve efficiency or add new capabilities. Inspired Light, a small startup in Corvallis, Ore., sponsored a project to store, monitor, and display output from solar panels that will help them more easily monitor the performance of their panels.
"We definitely have gained value that will help us start more quickly this summer on implementation of the final product, where their work will be utilized," said Jim Dickie, research and development manager at Inspired Light.
Projects range in technical complexity and potential impact. Other examples include:
"It's a win-win model," said John Parmigiani, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at OSU.
"Students gain real-world engineering and project management experience in a classroom environment," he said. "Sponsors receive a deliverable that would have otherwise been expensive and/or difficult to obtain. The outcome is a great educational opportunity for students and satisfied sponsors who return to Oregon State for additional projects."
A new initiative at OSU, the Oregon State University Advantage, is also taking an organized approach to developing more partnerships between OSU business, industry, students and faculty, through such programs as the Venture Accelerator and the Industry Partnering Program.
Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.