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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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University seeks corporate sponsors for research

The University plans to offset ongoing federal funding cuts for research initiatives with a strategy of intensifying corporate partnerships, a top administrator said last week.

Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa said the University can no longer rely on federal agencies for funding research, opting instead to build up corporate backing for research in an effort to make faculty’s academic work more relevant in the business world.

In cultivating corporate support, Chalupa said his office, along with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, would be changing the research mindset at GW.

“We do have some [corporate funding], but that hasn’t been the culture here,” he said.

The new vice president for corporate research – whose name will be released next month – will be tasked with seeking grants for faculty research from businesses worldwide.

“It’s a matter of matching our strengths, our expertise,” Chalupa said, adding that many faculty members don’t realize that corporations may have an interest in their work.

“There’s a lot of areas that we have untapped that we need to tap into,” he said.

The National Crash Analysis Center on the University’s Virginia campus, for example, would be a prime candidate for research partnerships with major car companies, Chalupa said.

Cases of private companies showing financial interest in university-level research have raised concerns among academics over the last decade. A 2010 report by the Center for American Progress showed that corporations had a stake in as much as 25 percent of all university research in the study.

To avoid conflicts of interest, Chalupa said faculty would never be employees of any company.

“But it’s a win-win situation if faculty can get funding for the kind of research they want to do and the corporations can get information, the kind of knowledge they need, for their businesses,” he said.

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