The Innovator’s Quarterly: How BU’s NEIDL Increased Industry Support Fourfold

November 2021 | News from BU Industry Engagement and Technology Development


Microbiologist Robert Davey and his team research the novel coronavirus wearing full biocontainment suits in the highest possible containment setting, the Biosafety Level 4 lab at BU’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL).

How BU’s NEIDL Increased Industry Support Four-Fold

In 2020, NEIDL Director Ron Corley noticed that his research teams had unprecedented opportunity to collaborate with industry as companies rallied to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. The problem? Initiating collaborations was oftentimes difficult, time-consuming, and worlds different from the traditional academic grant process to which NEIDL faculty were accustomed. So they worked with Industry Engagement to streamline their process for industry agreements, and, driven by COVID research, the center was able to increase industry support from $1.2M in FY20 to $5.4M in FY21, without getting lost in the paperwork. Read more.

Expert Advice

Build your innovation toolkit with information and resources from BU and industry experts, as well as researchers who’ve successfully navigated the path to impact.

Commercialization Isn’t Off the Table if You’re Engaged in an SRA

While conventional thought is that once a researcher has engaged in a sponsored research agreement (SRA) with a corporation, the researcher cannot pursue a startup with that same idea, Director of Faculty Entrepreneurship Rana K. Gupta argues that there are some commercialization paths you can and should consider. Read more

Take Action

We offer programs to help you actively advance your idea in the marketplace. Browse highlights below, and see the full list on our Learning Paths & Programs page.

Explore the Market Potential of New Technology or Research

Faculty, PhDs, and postdocs are invited to apply for Spark, a three-week idea-to-market program from the New England Innovation Corps. The NSF-created program aims to broaden the impact of academic research through virtual discussions and the process of “customer discovery” to better understand potential consumers.

Quarterly Impact Report

We saw successes and challenges this quarter. The University saw a drop in corporate-sponsored research in Q1 FY22 compared to Q1 FY21, driven by a decrease in individual contract award values across schools and colleges. Discussions with the University’s corporate partners indicate a slowdown in external research activity from industry, driven by COVID-related budget concerns and associated reassessing of corporate research priorities and staffing shortages. Corporate gift activity increased significantly, driven by a large Red Hat software gift-in-kind. Industry Engagement-completed contracts also declined quarter-over-quarter commensurate with decreased industry activity. The average time to complete contracts remains historically short. 

In the first quarter, Clade Therapeutics, co-founded by 2017 BU Innovator of the Year Gustavo Mostoslavsky, raised $86 million in series A financing; Professor Xin Zhang, Mechanical Engineering (ENG), and Stephan Anderson, Radiology (MED), were recognized by the Boston Patent Law Association as Invented Here! honorees; and one of BMCC’s drug development programs was mentioned in Pfizer’s Q2 earnings call.

Visit the Research Support website to download full reports.

Meet our Team

John Turi

Team: Technology Development

Title: Director, Licensing

What I do: I negotiate material transfer and non-disclosure agreements to facilitate collaboration with external researchers, as well as license and option agreements to commercialize BU inventions.

Ask me about: Ultimate Frisbee and licensing patents and copyrights.

Sophia Monkman

Team: Industry Engagement

Title: Director, Corporate Relations

What I do: I help increase industry engagement at BU by strengthening existing partnerships and developing new relationships with companies that wish to provide gifts of support.

Ask me about: Homesteading, the French horn, and how to identify and approach potential industry partners with requests for unrestricted funding or gifts of tangible property.

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