Consider Silicon Valley.

It’s a place that symbolizes everything technology hubs can become. Industry-changing innovation, revelatory research, rising tides of economic prosperity – all stemming from technological innovations that have spilled out at an ever-exponentially-increasing pace.

And, it’s built on the bridge of collaboration – specifically, collaboration between top tech companies and premier universities that are in close proximity.

Take Stanford, for instance. It’s no accident that Google, based in Mountain View, shares 1,915 alumni in common with the school; the two campuses are a short 15-minute drive apart. Accordingly, Stanford is by far the school best represented at Google.

Not coincidentally, the second school on Google’s list is the University of California, Berkeley, another short 45 miles down the road.

Consider Seattle.

It’s home to Microsoft and Amazon – companies that draw heavily on talent from the University of Washington. In fact, the University of Washington accounts for 6.5% of all 124,000 Microsoft employees, and 5.4% of 541,000 Amazon employees.

Consider Austin, Texas.

It’s a relatively new technology hub – and home to the thriving University of Texas.

Here’s the reality: wherever innovation is, education and industry are working side by side.

Consider Frederick.

 

The future of Frederick depends on the bridge between education and industry.

Frederick is a city brimming with potential.

In twenty years, it’s grown from a small town to a bustling mini-metropolis, with a population increase of nearly 60%. It’s an appealing place to live, stocked with undeniable charm that regularly lands it on “Top Places” lists. And it’s in the heart of Maryland, a state that’s pushing toward the top of innovative and educational metrics on a national level.

Frederick has begun to taste the fruits of industry innovation, too, with blooming technology businesses and fast-growing startups contributing to a rise in local employment. Twenty years ago, the Frederick tech scene was negligible – today, it’s thriving.

In short, Frederick’s present is promising, and its future is bright.

But everything hinges on collaboration.

How Partnerships Benefit Higher Education Institutions

For higher education institutions, collaboration plays out in several ways.

Industry partnerships can be lucrative – not only in terms of generating funding for relevant research projects but also in terms of the opportunities they can provide to students.

Take the partnership between Audi and the Technical University of Munich in Germany. In 2004, Audi pitched a collaboration that would support more than 100 Ph.D. students working on issues related to Audi’s competitive landscape. The university jumped in, allowing professors and students the opportunity to work in close tandem with Audi researchers.

The result has been continuing access to a selection of premier opportunities for university students, and a badge of prestige for the university itself. In the process, the scope of the research university is expanded from fundamental basic science to potentially more applied, interdisciplinary problem-solving.

Industry partnerships serve to provide funding and opportunities for students and have the welcome side effect of enhancing the institutional appeal.

What higher education institution wouldn’t want all of that?

How Partnerships Benefit Employers

For employers (both in the public and private sectors), collaboration means access to a steady supply of top talent.

That’s because partnering with higher education grants access to high-skill, low-cost labor in the form of graduate students, internships, and externships. Collaborations with faculty also provide the industry with access to cutting-edge science and a worldwide network of academic contacts. Approaches can be significantly different, allowing for fertile cross-fertilization, and universities may also offer facilities and instrumentation that are unavailable to a company.

The benefits of interns and students for businesses are numerous and well documented; suffice to say, for businesses looking for affordable labor, new ideas, and an easy means of identifying high-fit potential employees, internship programs are too valuable to neglect.

Besides access to new talent, though, collaboration also means chances to hone and improve existing talent, in the form of workshops, seminars, and programs provided by educational institutions.

Again: what employer wouldn’t want all of that?

We’re Bridge Builders.

Frederick is poised for growth. Collaboration is the key.

We’re here to help build the bridges.

As the Center for Research and Education in Science and Technology, our role is to facilitate connections between industry, government, and education. We do that by identifying strategic opportunities for mutual benefit and providing the connections and resources that are needed to make growth happen.

That’s the impetus behind programs like the University of Maryland’s Master of Life Sciences degree, allowing Masters students opportunities to execute the research requirement of the degree at local companies and government labs. Additionally, CREST provides the chance for local researchers to teach in the program: a Current Topics course is being offered Summer 2018 taught by locally identified adjunct faculty right here in Frederick. And, we are constantly soliciting suggestions for beneficial courses or seminar offerings.

Silicon Valley. Seattle. Austin.

Frederick.

It’s true as ever: a rising tide lifts all boats. The path toward growth for Frederick is clear. The future of our city depends on the bridges to be built between STEM employers and STEM education.

Let’s build those bridges, together.