Seven West Virginia University Health Sciences graduate students showcased their research and skills on March 5 to visiting industry representatives and local investors in a dinner encouraging interaction and collaboration between rising student researchers, faculty and private sector representatives.

The students represented pharmaceutical and pharmacological sciences, physiology and pharmacology, cellular and integrative physiology, basic pharmaceutical sciences, and biomedical sciences.

“These events serve as a venue for networking between students, faculty and industry representatives, but they are much more than that,” explained Bruce Sparks, WVU director of Technology Transfer. “Students have the opportunity to present their research from a new perspective. Instead of presenting at an academic conference to other researchers, the students must transform their presentation format and effectively share their findings looking through the eyes of the private sector. This unique experience opens doors for internship and grant opportunities to product development and career planning.”

Hosted by Linking Innovation, Industry and Commercialization – or LIINC – this was the fifth of these dinner events, featuring graduate student research posters and short presentations. LIINC is designed to broaden the horizons of faculty and students in the research arena, so they can experience the value of relationships beyond academia.

“With federal grants opportunities decreasing, WVU needs to be more creative in finding other sources of funding,” said Lindsay Emery, the manager of the LIINC program. “Building relationships is essential to business and economic development, and these dinners are just the first step in building bridges between academia and the private sector.”

In the future, LIINC dinners will expand beyond the STEM disciplines. By teaming up with the Office of Graduate Education & Life, graduate students across all disciplines will be able to nominate themselves to participate in LIINC events. Creating networking events that encourage both student and industry connections as well as interdisciplinary activity across colleges is one way in which LIINC will continue to grow and offer resources for more students.

LIINC is supported with funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.



CONTACT: Lindsay Emery, LIINC

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