University of Pittsburgh

By Chris Hayes, Publication Intern

The University of Pittsburgh and Philips have formed a wide-ranging collaboration that will benefit  both organizations through talent development, solving critical health care problems, and technology commercialization. The partnership contains three primary components: innovation internships, technology commercialization and applied research competition.

“Like Pitt, Philips is committed to improving lives through innovation,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “I am thrilled to pair our university’s expertise in biomedical research with Philips’ remarkable capacity to develop groundbreaking technologies. Together, we’ll work side-by-side to advance health care solutions that will improve – and even transform – people’s lives.”

As part of the collaboration, Pitt’s Innovation Institute will vet intern candidates for Philips who have participated in the university’s innovation and entrepreneurship programs and competitions. High-potential students will be introduced to Philips’ talent recruiters and connected with potential opportunities to serve as interns at Philips.

“Philips is incredibly proud of this alliance,” said John Frank, CEO of Philips Sleep and Respiratory business. “It’s a natural fit given our commitment to improving lives through innovation, both in the solutions we offer to our customers and the ideas we foster within our own organization and community. The relationship will allow for enhanced collaboration, entrepreneurship and recruitment opportunities with such a reputable and forward-thinking university as Pitt.”

“Through our offices here, we have a whole host of programs, contests, competitions and immersive experiences for students,” said Evan Facher, Senior Director of Innovation Commercialization at the Innovation Institute. “We could be a one-stop shop for students that [Philips] is looking for who are specifically interested in innovation. We have more exposure to the students who are interested in innovation across campus, and they were looking for an easy way to get access to those students.”

Philips will also share specific innovation needs with Pitt, who will identify matches in its intellectual property portfolio – either existing or in development – and arrange meetings between Pitt investigators and Philips to explore licensing, sponsored research or other development opportunities.

“Philips is incredibly proud of this alliance,” said John Frank, CEO of Philips Sleep and Respiratory business. “It’s a natural fit given our commitment to improving lives through innovation, both in the solutions we offer to our customers and the ideas we foster within our own organization and community. The relationship will allow for enhanced collaboration, entrepreneurship and recruitment opportunities with such a reputable and forward-thinking university as Pitt.”

The two sides will define problems in health care and encourage Pitt faculty to submit proposals for solving those problems. Selected proposal teams will be assigned mentors from Pitt, Philips and the local community to develop pitches covering these submissions. Winning teams will receive development funding from Philips to advance these selected innovations.

“It’s really one of the first times at Pitt that we’ve worked with an industry partner who is sponsoring a big competition,” Facher said. “The total prize is $100,000. As we speak, we’re getting folks from the university submitting applications for that challenge.”

Pitt and Philips have a history of mutually beneficial collaborations. In 2005, Philips acquired Stentor, a Pitt spinout based on technology for storing, managing and distributing radiology images that was jointly funded by Pitt and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The university and Philips are also currently collaborating in a clinical study of a device to improve breathing for people suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).