Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ohio, Procter & Gamble establish new research ties - Business First of Columbus:

Ohio, Procter & Gamble establish new research ties - Business First of Columbus:

The state of Ohio and Procter & Gamble Co. have completed a master agreement that should make it easier for the consumer products company to launch research projects at any of Ohio’s 14 public universities.

At a Thursday morning press conference, Gov. Ted Strickland said he hoped the agreement would become a template that other companies can use to deepen their relationships with Ohio research colleges.

“For the first time, with just one agreement, we are unleashing the collective power of Ohio’s universities to help turn ideas into products and products into jobs,” Strickland said.

The agreement is modeled after a 2005 contract with the University of Cincinnati, in which P&G and UC spelled out procedures for handling confidential information, resolving disputes and establishing rules for working relationships between scientists at UC and P&G. That agreement led to an eightfold increase in research spending at UC, said Jeff Weedman, vice president of global business development for P&G.

“In the four years leading up to our agreement we spent around $200,000,” Weedman said. “Since the agreement, we’re at a little bit over $1.7 million.”

That spending represents P&G investments in the Living Well Consortium, which helps companies develop new products aimed at consumers over the age of 50. Several other companies, including General Mills Inc. (NYSE:GIS), Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HRC), and Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) are consortium members.

State officials approached P&G (NYSE:PG) about expanding its UC relationship to all Ohio universities in January 2009.

Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut said at Thursday’s announcement the manufacturing sector is one area ideal for greater cooperation between private industry and academic research. Strickland and Fingerhut both said the new corporate relationships will not impact the quality or independence of academic research in Ohio.

“We have powerful basic research happening in Ohio,” Fingerhut said. “It is and will always be the role of the university to expand knowledge and to think of those things that nobody’s thought of yet.”

Dan Monk writes for the Cincinnati Business Courier, a sister publication to Columbus Business First.


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