University of Georgia

UGA participates in global industry engagement panel

photo of UIIN AUTM panel
Crystal Leach represented UGA in a global panel on strategic partnerships hosted by the University Industry Innovation Network and AUTM

When it comes to industry partnerships, the University of Georgia works to provide solutions for every collaboration. Participating in ongoing discussions with fellow universities and industries worldwide is key to establishing these mutually beneficial partnerships.

On Nov. 18, Crystal Leach, director of industry collaborations, participated in a global panel on strategic partnerships hosted by the University Industry Innovation Network and AUTM, an organization that serves to strengthen partnerships between industry and universities. Joined by panelists from Rutgers University, Coventry University and Siemens, Leach spoke on what defines a strategic partnership for UGA.

“A strategic partnership is making sure needs are being met across multiple touch points for both sides and ensuring there is enough connectivity and institutional trust for you to have communication on many levels, especially during times of change,” said Leach. “It’s important to nurture these relationships so they continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of both sides.”

Siemens, a global engineering company and current UGA industry partner, provided insight from the industry point of view. Natascha Eckert, head of university relations for Siemens, concurred with Leach, echoing her take on strategic partnerships.

“It’s all about expectation management, which we have to adapt again and again,” said Eckert. “The process is about gaining understanding of each other—what is the common goal? What is the direction we want to move in? What makes the partnership work for both parties?”

Alumni can also be an asset when it comes to these partnerships, according to Leach, who discussed how UGA leverages its alumni in key companies to create and nurture current and future partnerships.

“Our UGA alumni are an important resource for us in establishing industry collaborations,” Leach said. “Alumni can help champion for your university within these companies and partners, and we find that they are always interested and eager to give back to their alma mater.”

She emphasized that joining in a global conversation is vital to forming and maintaining strategic partnerships for both academic institutions and industry partners.

“Sessions like this webinar provide an opportunity to benchmark our efforts and learn from leaders in the area of strategic industry-university partnerships,” Leach said. “Additionally, events like this panel discussion are an incredible opportunity to bring awareness of our world-class faculty and capabilities to a national and international scale, engaging with industries we might not otherwise have access to. In our virtual environment, this has become an even more critical step in forging relationships with industry.”

Since 2012, UIIN has been an international knowledge leader on university-industry engagement and entrepreneurial universities, dedicated to the future of higher education institutions and their impact on society.

AUTM is a nonprofit leader in efforts to educate, promote and inspire professionals to support the development of academic research that changes the world and drives innovation forward. AUTM is composed of more than 3,000 members who work in more than 800 universities, research centers, hospitals, businesses and government organizations around the globe.