Winning Combination

Why universities + corporate partnerships = jobs in our region.



“Pittsburgh is a research powerhouse, with more than $1 billion in funding, mostly from the U.S. government,” Carnegie Mellon University president Jared Cohon observed a short time ago. “And recently, we’ve turned our attention to turning research into job creation. We have a vibrant technology sector with hundreds of companies, some very small. The pace at which we are spinning off companies continues to grow.”

A glance around the city’s East End confirms that federal agencies are lining up to work with local universities. The National Robotics Engineering Center, a unit of CMU’s Robotics Institute, is one of the world’s largest R&D operations in the field. CMU’s Software Engineering Institute is a world leader — and its Entertainment Technology Center is creating the techniques and talent for the region’s gaming and film industries. The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a joint project of Pitt and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, investigates therapies and materials with major promise in the health care industry worldwide. In State College, Penn State is helping NASA share its vast data trove with the nation’s teachers. In 2011, the program reached over 100,000 students and teachers in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math).   

Now, the world’s largest corporations are following the fed’s lead, joining forces with academics to develop new products and solutions.

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson recently announced collaboration with UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh’s Drug Discovery Institute. “I think J&J was surprised to see the depth and breadth [of research activity] at Pitt,” says Institute director Lansing Taylor. “Now that we have rocketed up to No. 6 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, we’ve become a powerhouse.” In July, Pitt announced another high-profile affiliation with Sanofi Pasteur to develop a vaccine strategy that protects against all strains of seasonal influenza, avoiding the need for annual vaccinations.

While Pitt attracts corporate partners in the health sciences, there’s a different group of high-profile logos next door. Among Carnegie Mellon’s long-standing affiliations is a 12-year effort with General Motors. Since 2000, the world’s largest automaker has contributed more than $10 million to establish two Collaborative Research Labs (CRLs) at the university: the Information Technologies CRL and the Autonomous Driving CRL. One result from the CMU/GM team: an experimental vehicle for a driverless car.

CMU’s world-class reputation in computer science, information technologies and software development has drawn global leaders to take up residence. Microprocessing giant Intel arrived in 2001 and now has eight full-time employees working on campus. In 2007, Microsoft made the same commitment, sponsoring CMU’s Center for Computational Thinking. And five years before Google Pittsburgh moved to its own East End location in 2010, it landed a group of top-flight researchers on the CMU campus to work with researchers and students.

The establishment of the Entertainment Technology Center in 1998 made sense for CMU, merging the talents of arts and computer scientists. Now, media companies are experimenting with robotics, human-computer interaction (HCI), speech understanding, computer vision and machine learning. Since 2008, the Disney Research Lab at CMU has turned the signature brand fantasies into reality.

Point Park University has founded a thriving regional partnership with Stage AE, the busy North Shore entertainment venue, which puts students in the Sports, Arts and Entertainment Management program into real-life projects. Internships are required, explains program director Steve Tanzilli, for those planning careers repping bands, producing shows and managing arena-sized productions; Tanzilli says job placement rates are high. “Anecdotally, we see about 90 percent employed,” he says. “Our students are walking into full-time jobs.”

Fourteen Duquesne University students now participate in the Bayer Scholars Program, developed to enhance diversity in the academic setting and scientific workforce. Funded by an eight-year grant from the Bayer USA Foundation, headquartered in Robinson Township, it targets women and minority students, and accepts academically talented and motivated freshman chemistry or environmental chemical science majors. Financial aid, mentoring, and research and internship experiences are a part of the program.

Other regional corporations have significant presences on-campus: Highmark has confirmed a partnership with Grove City College’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation that will provide an independent seminar course for Grove City College students this coming academic year. At Allegheny College, a partnership is in the works with UPMC. Saint Vincent College and Kennametal Inc. have cooperated in the Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence since 2004 within the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

The month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2016

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2016

The list of the regions's 687 leading physicians across 80 specialities.
Making The Rounds: What It Means to be a Doctor in Pittsburgh

Making The Rounds: What It Means to be a Doctor in Pittsburgh

In a city known for world-class care, a life dedicated to health is rewarding, challenging, and innovative at every level — from med school to the board room.
Why Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay is Cornered

Why Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay is Cornered

Can McLay reshape the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police in his polite, communication-heavy, community-friendly, racially sensitive, 21st-century image?
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittsburgh Comic Shop Owners Prepare For Free Comic Book Day

Pittsburgh Comic Shop Owners Prepare For Free Comic Book Day

For comic book fans, it's the equivalent of black Friday, only much more fun.
Ross Photographer's Out of This World Picture To Be On Postage Stamp

Ross Photographer's Out of This World Picture To Be On Postage Stamp

The stunning photo of a star trail around Mt. Rainier took two hours to shoot.
Is PUC Going Overboard With Its Punishment of Uber

Is PUC Going Overboard With Its Punishment of Uber

Governor Tom Wolf, Mayor Bill Peduto, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald say the PUC went too far when it fined the ride-sharing company $11.3 million.
The Story Behind This Epic Picture of Lightning Over Pittsburgh

The Story Behind This Epic Picture of Lightning Over Pittsburgh

Most people crawl deeper under the covers during a nighttime thunderstorm, photographer Dave DiCello does just the opposite.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

The month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2016

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2016

The list of the regions's 687 leading physicians across 80 specialities.
Making The Rounds: What It Means to be a Doctor in Pittsburgh

Making The Rounds: What It Means to be a Doctor in Pittsburgh

In a city known for world-class care, a life dedicated to health is rewarding, challenging, and innovative at every level — from med school to the board room.
Why Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay is Cornered

Why Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay is Cornered

Can McLay reshape the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police in his polite, communication-heavy, community-friendly, racially sensitive, 21st-century image?
The Eaglets Have Landed

The Eaglets Have Landed

The bald eagles nesting in Hays once again have given birth to a new generation. We take you into the nest to see how quickly the two chicks are growing.
Review: Justin Severino Knocks It Out of the Park With Morcilla

Review: Justin Severino Knocks It Out of the Park With Morcilla

Severino's follow-up to Cure is already winning national accolades.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Pittsburgh Comic Shop Owners Prepare For Free Comic Book Day

Pittsburgh Comic Shop Owners Prepare For Free Comic Book Day

For comic book fans, it's the equivalent of black Friday, only much more fun.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Umami Izakaya (Finally) Open in Lawrenceville

Umami Izakaya (Finally) Open in Lawrenceville

The much-anticipated Japanese pub from Tamari's Roger Li and Round Corner Cantina's Derek Burnell will serve food and drink deep into the night.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The quiet rise of Pittsburgh's tea scene gives us a few favorite gems.

Comments


Lawrenceville's New, Different Nighttime (and Morning) Destination

Lawrenceville's New, Different Nighttime (and Morning) Destination

The Abbey on Butler — part coffeehouse, part restaurant, part bar — could prove to be a major Lawrenceville destination.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Still Searching For Response to Arrieta-Caliber Dominance

Pirates Still Searching For Response to Arrieta-Caliber Dominance

The Bucs’ wild-card failures the last two seasons have cast a shadow of doubt if not impending doom over a season that otherwise ought to be ripe with promise.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Welcome Warm Weather with This Bright Summer Shift Dress

Welcome Warm Weather with This Bright Summer Shift Dress

Local fashion line Kelly Lane has the perfect dress to kick off your summer style.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Captain America: Civil War is the Best Marvel Flick Yet

Captain America: Civil War is the Best Marvel Flick Yet

The superhero throwdown caps a hot streak for the comic studio. Plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Finding Sunshine on a Rainy Wedding Day in Pittsburgh

Finding Sunshine on a Rainy Wedding Day in Pittsburgh

You don’t always need blue skies and sunshine to have a beautiful and memorable wedding. One couple shares their advice on making the most of a rainy wedding day and what to do when the forecast is less than ideal.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
A Far From Ordinary House Tour in Wilkinsburg This Weekend

A Far From Ordinary House Tour in Wilkinsburg This Weekend

The Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation hosts a one-of-a-kind house tour on May 7.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
A Week of Education for Adults & Children Alike

A Week of Education for Adults & Children Alike

Remake Learning Days, a program offering new and future-forward educational experiences, is set for various spots throughout the area.

Comments