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 ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Check out three versions of the goal that sends the Penguins to the Stanley Cup final for a sixth time. (Hint) We think we saved the best for last.
Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Eighteen life-like, animatronic dinosaurs will spend the summer in the Steel City.
He Loves the Nickname: They Call Him Dr. Yuk

He Loves the Nickname: They Call Him Dr. Yuk

In the 45 years since coming up with Mr. Yuk, Dr. Richard Moriarty, now 77, has met many grateful parents who told him he saved their kids’ lives.
Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Technological innovators present what could be “the next big thing” at the Carnegie Music Hall in Homewood.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

A small group of dedicated residents sees the restoration of their church in Tarentum as a window to the potential rebirth of their once-booming community in suburban Pittsburgh.
Remembering Henry Hillman

Remembering Henry Hillman

Reflecting on the impact of the businessman, civic visionary and philanthropist.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Check out three versions of the goal that sends the Penguins to the Stanley Cup final for a sixth time. (Hint) We think we saved the best for last.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh Bartenders Give Back By Keeping Time

Pittsburgh Bartenders Give Back By Keeping Time

The Pittsburgh chapter of the USBG partners with Campari USA to create a calendar that will benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

The third outpost of local distillery Wigle, found in the Omni William Penn Hotel, is an instant destination for cocktail fans.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

Frightened about Game 7? You Should Be

A win will send the Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals for a second year in a row and re-write team history.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

The Strip District-based woodworker's cutting boards can be custom made with the wood of your choice.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
If Only the Baywatch Team Could've Saved Us From Jack Sparrow

If Only the Baywatch Team Could've Saved Us From Jack Sparrow

Reviews of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" and "Baywatch," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

Pennsylvania native Jaclyn Jordan brings her newest collection to the Blanc de Blanc Bridal Boutique in Carrick.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Explore lavish homes and gardens with the West Allegheny Historic District’s annual Tour and Tasting, or go on the hunt for hidden treasure during The Great Mexican War Streets Yard Sale.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Explore Your Future with Point Park University

Explore Your Future with Point Park University

The university will host three summer workshops for high school students from July 17-20.

Comments