Posted August 21, 2013

Temple and Comcast-NBCUniversal partner to join national science and technology research roundtable

The National Academies have selected Temple University, partnering with Comcast-NBCUniversal, to become the newest members of the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR), a committee that was created to provide a forum for top leaders in science and technology from government, academia and business to discuss research issues of national importance.

Temple becomes the first Philadelphia academic institution to join GUIRR with an industry partner. It joins other university-industry partnerships such as Georgia Institute of Technology-Boeing, Stanford University-IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, University of California Berkeley-Intel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Northrup Grumman, University of Tennessee Knoxville-Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Maryland-Lockheed Martin as members of GUIRR.

“Temple University is proud to be partnering with Comcast-NBCUniversal as members of GUIRR,” said Temple University President Neil D. Theobald. “It is important for Temple, as an urban, state-related institution, to have a voice in an organization that is influencing and shaping science and technology policy in critical research areas for the nation and world.”

GUIRR meets three times a year, focusing on topics of national importance, such as issues facing partnerships between government, universities and industry; the academic research enterprise; training of the scientific workforce; online education; patent policy and the effects of globalization on U.S. research.

“Today’s challenges are highly complex and global in nature, and government, industry and academia must learn to collaborate in order to solve our current and future problems,” said Susan Sauer Sloan, director of GUIRR. “In joining GUIRR, Temple University and Comcast –NBCUniversal are aligning with other visionary organizations intent on improving the effectiveness of the U.S. in science and technology and its application to national goals.”

Temple and Comcast attended their first formal meeting of GUIRR, "Infrastructure: The Cost of Doing Nothing," June 24-25 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Temple was represented by Michele Masucci, interim senior vice provost for research and Stephen G. Nappi, associate vice provost for technology development and commercialization; Comcast was represented by Rebecca Arbogast, vice president for global public policy and Bret Perkins, vice president of external and government affairs, who is also a member of Temple’s Board of Trustees.

“Membership in GUIRR provides an important platform for Temple to contribute to how academia, government and industry leaders think about research directions, innovation and what we should be recommending about how the nation should be responding to the needs of research, both nationally, as well as globally,” said Masucci.

Temple was invited to join GUIRR last fall. The university then invited Comcast-NBCUniversal to be its industry partner, providing GUIRR with true IT/Telecom industry expertise, which was a missing piece, explains Masucci.

“As part of its new Technology and Research Development Grant Program, Comcast is proud to partner with Temple in joining GUIRR, which has been a leader in promoting industry-academic innovation and leadership across a broad range of science and technology issues,” said Comcast’s Arbogast.

Masucci said that joining GUIRR is another important step forward in advancing Temple’s research enterprise, and in particular translational research, which leads to the commercialization of technologies developed by university researchers.

Temple had its largest year in terms of research when the 2013 fiscal year closed June 30. The university witnessed an approximately 10 percent growth in its research expenditures over the previous fiscal year, with a return in revenues from the licensing of Temple-created technologies of approximately 10 percent of those research expenditures.

GUIRR was created in 1984 in response to a report of the National Commission on Research that called for an institutionalized forum to facilitate dialogue among the top leaders of government and non-government research organizations. It has three formal categories of membership: individual council members who are appointed by the chair of the National Research Council and the National Academies presidents, individual council associates and institutional members which are comprised of the university-industry partnerships.

GUIRR is also the parent organization for the Federal Demonstration Partnership, an association of federal agencies, academic research institutions and research policy organizations that work to streamline the administration of federally sponsored research. Temple is a member of FDP and Masucci serves as a faculty representative.