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Two Events Strengthen Connections Between Research and the Marketplace

Two recent conferences brought together Northwestern researchers and members of the business community

The McCormick School of Engineering recently hosted two inaugural events for engineers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, part of the school’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its relationship with Chicago’s strong business and entrepreneurial community.

“Our faculty conduct research that provides new solutions to major challenges, but in order for our work to benefit society, we need strong connections with business leaders throughout the world,” said Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School of Engineering. “Strong ties between researchers and those in the business community form the basis for powerful collaborations. Events like these are not just beneficial, but vital, for both sides.”

The McCormick Corporate Forum Meeting brought together McCormick faculty and students with research and development executives from across the Chicago area.

Held October 23 and 24 at Northwestern’s James L. Allen Center, the meeting included talks about McCormick’s strategy, global perspectives on engineering research and education, and a briefing on the Materials Genome Initiative by faculty from McCormick and Argonne National Laboratory.

Forum members will continue to meet twice a year to network and engage with McCormick leadership and faculty about engineering technology and education.
On November 2, private investors, venture capitalists, and scientists convened at McCormick for the NU Physical Sciences Investor Conference. The event, which focused on innovations in the areas of engineering and chemistry, highlighted both start-ups spun out of Northwestern University labs and ongoing research that may be ripe for commercialization.

Highlighted start-ups included NuGen Polymers, a company that provides polymer technology to enable next-generation recycling without separation; NuMat Technologies, designers of high-performance materials that store gases and can be produced on a large scale for industry; S2E Energy, makers of a platform component that enables low-cost solar energy; and Tangible Haptics, technology that brings tangible haptic reality to touch interfaces like smartphones.

The NU Physical Sciences Investor Conference was organized by McCormick, Northwestern’s Innovation and New Ventures Office, the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Department of Chemistry.