Partnering with Industry
Engagement with industry has always been important to Ohio State’s College of Engineering. Research and development partnerships with major automotive and aerospace companies date back to the 1940s. And industry’s reliance on the engineering talent we produce has existed since Ohio State’s birth in the 1870s.
Collaboration with industry is more important today than ever. Universities are engines of discovery and talent development, and engines need fuel. For decades, the majority of this fuel came in the form of government funding, both federal and state-based. But the distribution of government funding for universities has changed, therefore we must adapt our methods of fueling the work and knowledge that leads to global solutions.
Research discoveries rarely make a global impact unless they are taken to market by a company or, somewhat less frequently, a non-profit organization. So it makes sense for Ohio State as a whole—and the College of Engineering specifically—to fully explore the multiple and mutual benefits of partnering with market-facing entities on research and development.
The College of Engineering ranks fifth in industry research expenditures among its peers throughout the U.S. In fiscal year 2020, Ohio State Engineering received $44 million in research expenditures from businesses, highly concentrated in automotive, aerospace, energy and defense-related industries.
And we’re constantly searching for new and better ways to partner with industries from within Ohio and around the world.
Tap Into Talent
Growing companies regard Ohio State as a hotbed of engineering talent spanning every discipline. And they don’t wait until graduation to get to know Buckeye engineers. Recruiters are on campus every week, and particularly enjoy two large career fairs specifically for engineering students held in the fall and spring of each academic year. Many companies also engage students through collaborative research projects, workshops, internships and other initiatives.
- Engineering Career Services (ECS) is the primary resource connecting the diverse Ohio State engineering student body with employers seeking talent to grow, innovate and lead. Over 90% of engineering students have had some type of industry-related experience by graduation. Hundreds of companies participate in engineering-specific career fairs in the fall and spring. A sizeable percentage also host job shadow days, sponsor information sessions, offer associates to speak to students about careers, or philanthropically support ECS, which prides itself on catering to employers’ needs.
- OHI/O Informal Learning in Tech: Outside of the traditional classroom, OHI/O connects students to real-world problems and opportunities by engaging with the community and industry partners. The annual hackathon hosts nearly 800 students from Ohio State and other Midwestern schools, while more than 120 students participate in the makeathon each winter. Companies sponsor teams and challenges, and also provide mentors and judges during the events.
- Student Organizations: There are 75+ active engineering student organizations—from the Theme Park Engineering Group to the national champion EcoCAR team—and most of them are interested in interacting with and learning from industry professionals.
- Capstone Projects: Dozens of companies sponsor and work with one or more teams of senior engineering students (with a faculty advisor) to solve an engineering or product challenge. Students can be formed from one engineering discipline a group of diverse specialties, including those outside the College of Engineering. Companies benefit from direct evaluation of potential talent working on real-world projects as well as new perspective and solutions discovered during the project. And summer internships can be connected to capstone projects starting in the fall.
- Training and Continuing Education: The College of Engineering offers customized programming for companies that need to train current employees on new technologies, equipment or techniques. Options include multiple-day workshops, certificate programs, online courses or graduate degrees.
Companies from a variety of industries consistently turn to Ohio State Engineering research experts—faculty, post docs and grad students—to help explore and investigate new frontiers, access state-of-the art labs and apply groundbreaking research real-world solutions.
- Sponsored Research: More companies are realizing the economic benefits of employing university talent and resources instead of committing to significant in-house personnel, equipment and facility investments. The college’s Office of Research collaborates with the university’s Office of Innovation and Economic Engagement to match company R&D needs with individual researchers or world class centers like the ElectroScience Laboratory, Center for Automotive Research and the Aerospace Research Center among many others. Full listing: engineering.osu.edu/research/research-centers
- Grad Student Fellowships: Master’s and PhD students often seek external funding to further their education, which can come from federal agencies, foundations or companies with specific research needs that match a student’s degree pursuits. Some firms choose to fund a small group of graduate students to collaborate on a mutual research interest.
- Resident Researchers: Many of our research centers welcome visiting scholars or resident researchers for weeks, months or even years. Company guests benefit from interaction with faculty experts and their student research assistants.
- Commercialization and Licensing: Our faculty continually make discoveries in materials, medicine, mobility and manufacturing, among many other fields. Often, industry partners provide the most efficient and effective path for these innovations to have societal and economic impact. Whether licensing a new technology to an existing enterprise or creating an entirely new venture, business plays a critical role in technology transfer.