The University System of Ohio’s 14 universities and consumer product giant Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) in Cincinnati have agreed to simplify the legal process of negotiating joint research projects with the intent of bringing ideas to market faster.
Having a master contract to which a project’s unique terms could be added is expected to speed industry collaboration by up to 18 months, compared with similarly positioned universities in other states. It’s also expected to increase industry-sponsored research — a goal of Ohio’s 10-year Strategic Plan for Higher Education — as well as create jobs.
“For the first time, with just one agreement, we are unleashing the collective power of Ohio’s universities to help turn ideas into products and products into jobs,” Gov. Ted Strickland said in a written statement. “This agreement generates positive impacts for everyone involved — P&G is able to take advantage of Ohio’s most creative research minds, and our universities get to collaborate with P&G on new products.”
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut and Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel joined Strickland and Procter & Gamble Vice President of Global Business Development Jeff Weedman to announce the agreement.
“We’re excited to be the first business to collaborate on such an agreement with the University System of Ohio,” Weedman said in the governor’s statement. “With P&G’s Connect + Develop program, we focus on partnering externally on innovation collaboration around the world. This agreement has the added benefit of externally partnering close to home.”
The master agreement, which is modeled after one pioneered by the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Procter & Gamble in 2005, creates a more efficient business model for companies and universities, accelerating innovation and collaboration, and speeding products to market, Weedman said.
The UC Simulation Center grew out of that university’s agreement with Procter & Gamble, said UC spokesperson Dama Kimmon. While not a direct outgrowth of the agreement, the university’s relationship with the consumer goods company helped develop UC’s Live Well Collaborative, according to Sandra Degen, vice president for research.
The agreement also could help increase the competitiveness of Ohio universities as a source of innovation. “Procter & Gamble is a global company. It is the largest consumer products company in the world. It achieves 50 percent of its growth through innovation that has been developed externally. And it pays for the research that leads to those innovations,” Fingerhut said in a telephone interview.
“We believe we should position ourselves to be as large a partner in P&G’s innovation efforts as we can possibly be,” he said. Beyond P&G, “This is part of our efforts to be good partners with businesses in Ohio to help create jobs and prosperity for Ohioans,” he said.
The 14 universities in the University System of Ohio are expected to sign the new agreement within the next few weeks. “This agreement represents a great step forward in university collaboration with business, said UC President Gregory H. Williams in the governor’s statement.
The agreement also aligns with the Ohio Third Frontier program, which is aimed at fostering collaboration between universities and businesses on research projects to strengthen the state’s economy and establish Ohio as a leader in innovation, while creating jobs.
“This partnership is critical to the continued growth and success of Ohio’s businesses and research institutions,” said the Ohio Department of Development’s Patt-McDaniel, in the statement.