“We’re now called Innovation Enterprise (IE) and that means we’re not just passively patting someone on the back when they have a new idea,” said Dyring, managing director of what was formerly known as the university’s Industry Liaison Office. “We’ll actually get engaged. We will invest. We will take risks, and we will collaborate with many stakeholders to build entrepreneurial teams.”
He said IE represents a fundamental shift away from the old mindset of a university technology transfer office.
“The traditional role of the university is to create new knowledge and invite others to come in to use that knowledge and turn it into some kind of product,” he explained. “That’s a very, very difficult thing to do for the private sector when that knowledge is often highly specialized.”
With the new approach, the university will be more proactive in turning great ideas into commercial realities. He notes that many researchers already have strong connections to industrial networks and know where innovations they have developed might fit into the marketplace.
IE can help by providing in-house technical, legal and financial expertise and experience to move an idea forward, possibly into a business start-up. IE has the experts to assess, protect and market intellectual property developed by the university research community. As part of a broad consultation with stakeholders in academy, government and industry, the IE team has been re-engaging with the business community to see how specific industry research needs can be met by the university research cluster.
“At Innovation Enterprise we’re doing something new and very exciting,” Dyring said. “We’re turning new knowledge and ideas—innovations and inventions—into solutions, new products and services.”
Dyring came to the U of S from Sweden in 2015 after serving as CEO of a company established to commercialize innovations developed by the Swedish University of Agriculture.
He sees a large untapped potential at the U of S with its six signature research areas, its diverse research infrastructure, and the many leading researchers the university has attracted. He is particularly interested in engaging students at all levels who are excited about being part of innovation.
Find out more about IE at research.usask.ca/ie.
Murray Lyons is a communications contributor with Research Profile and Impact.