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What is the Ohio Innovation Exchange (OIEx) and what challenges does it help solve?

The Ohio Innovation Exchange (OIEx) is a data-sharing framework and information system that affords greater visibility of and access to universities across Ohio.

When seeking research experts, accessible technologies, and research support services, businesses and industries will often comb our university websites and online faculty directories. In a world where access to just-in-time information has become the norm, they often encounter university websites that return varying degrees of information richness and utility. Their frustrations grow further when they need to find expertise and resources across multiple institutions.

OIEx, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, will help address these barriers to information.

What is the purpose of OIEx and how will it benefit both industry and faculty?

OIEx aggregates into a single, searchable, and open website information collected from Ohio universities describing faculty experts, state-of-the-art university equipment, and research support services. The OIEx web portal enables business, industry, and academic visitors to more easily find, connect, and collaborate. In doing so, OIEx creates additional channels for translating laboratory-to-production floor innovations by connecting ideas, solutions, and people across sectors. While the original driver was connectivity with industry, this is also a great resource for our faculty who are trying to make connections or looking for potential collaborators with researchers elsewhere in the state (when writing grant proposals, for example).

What is the long-term vision and mission for OIEx?

OIEx’s mission is to be a higher education-driven, state government-sponsored, industry-sought solution deployed to meet a real need. Expert collaborations and resource sharing are constrained when expertise, equipment, and technologies cannot be easily found. The long-term vision of OIEx is to enhance access to needed information and strengthen human networking crossties across sectors — universities, business, government and economic development agencies — to create the necessary catalysts to seed partnerships for researchers, expand workforce opportunities for students, and foster economic development for industry sectors.

What are the expectations of faculty who participate in OIEx?

If you are receptive, responsive, and willing to engage industry executives and entrepreneurs looking to develop the next big idea, then having an OIEx profile is ideal. University research collaborators, experts, and resources are often difficult for those outside of academia to find. OIEx helps overcome some of these traditional barriers by making it easy to find, connect, and explore collaborations with leading university faculty.

Once contacted by OIEx Rapid Response, what are faculty responsibilities in working with industry partners coming through OIEx?

Once an OIEx inquiry is received and triaged, you, your team, and department will work directly with industry and other university partners to assess interest, scope of work, and project details. The OIEx Rapid Response team will continue to be available to facilitate communication when necessary.

How could the OIEx promote university collaboration on projects?

Connecting industry with faculty and other university resources, OIEx introduces new pathways for collaboration outside of the traditional university setting. OIEx provides an additional channel for faculty members to raise the visibility of their work, promote its relevance, and explore new channels of application.

OIEx showcases university and industry collaborations through a series of featured case studies detailing how cross-sector partners worked together to solve a roadblock or problem, thus leading to a solution, discovery, or a new product. These case studies will also be promoted through multiple marketing channels such as blogs, social media, brochures, and email campaigns.

What universities are participating in OIEx?

Guided by senior research and technology officials at four leading Ohio universities ― Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, and the University of Cincinnati ― OIEx represents a collaborative initiative conceived and deployed to address the barriers to information that frustrate industries seeking access to faculty experts, institutional equipment, and research services. The data-sharing framework and information system realized in OIEx afford greater visibility and access to universities across Ohio. Since inception, Cleveland State University and The University of Akron have joined the partnership. The strategy and extensible framework of OIEx will position it to incorporate all Ohio universities over time, a goal of ODHE and state officials.

Who sponsors and supports OIEx?

The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) is the primary sponsor of OIEx, accompanied by strong industry support through the Ohio Manufacturing Institute. ODHE is the state agency that coordinates higher education in Ohio under the direction of its Chancellor, a member of the Governor of Ohio's cabinet. The Chancellor provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly and carries out state higher education policy.

Leveraging Ohio’s sustained investment in statewide technology infrastructure organizations, the data and technology underpinnings of OIEx are supported by the Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH), an umbrella organization that includes the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet), the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC), and the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK).

In this initiative, OH-TECH acts as the OIEx broker for institutional asset data, provides leadership for the project, supports the intake of critical and relevant data from Ohio’s institutions, and supports the secure user profiles.