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Maryland Universities to Partner on Biotech, Tech Transfer

Baltimore's Inner Harbor (Sakeeb Sabakka/Flickr)

Baltimore's Inner Harbor

University of Maryland campuses in Baltimore (UMB) and College Park (UMCP) have agreed on a plan to collaborate on new or combined biotechnology, public health, and commercialization programs, as well as encourage joint research, faculty appointments, and grant submissions. The state’s university board of regents today approved the partnership called University of Maryland: MPowering the State.

The plan calls for combining their research efforts at a new joint UMB/UMCP Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, located at the Universities at Shady Grove in Montgomery County, one of the university system’s higher education regional centers. The institute is also expected to feature related educational programs in health, law, human services and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), business, and the social sciences.

The partnership creates a joint commercialization initiative called University of Maryland Ventures. The new technology transfer program is expected to coordinate patent submission and processing, licensing intellectual property, interactions with the venture capital community, a Small Business Development Center offering start-up and entrepreneurial resources, and seed grants for translational research that move medical discoveries from the lab to the clinic.

University of Maryland Ventures will also oversee commercial outreach and economic development activities at Shady Grove, as well as coordinate expansion of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) and the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship on the UMCP campus to Baltimore and Shady Grove.

The collaboration plans to combine masters degree programs in public health at UMB and UMCP into a Collaborative School of Public Health. The partnership likewise expects to develop new educational activities including the University of Maryland Scholars Program — an interdisciplinary undergraduate program for talented first- and second-year students — through which students from each institution will engage in research led by faculty at the other institution. The initiative aims as well to encourage joint appointments and joint grant submissions between the two campuses.

In December 2011, the regents asked the university system’s chancellor William Kirwan and the two university presidents — Wallace Loh at UMCP and Jay Perman at UMB — to develop a collaboration plan, as an alternative to a merger of the two campuses. Implementation of the plan, which begins immediately, will require investment of funds from internal reallocations at UMB and UMCP, the State of Maryland, the federal government, and private support.

Read More: Grants to Fund Tech Commercialization in Maryland

Photo: Sakeeb Sabakka/Flickr

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