How Dal is streamlining its approach to industry engagement and research commercialization

- January 5, 2021

Dalhousie's Industry Liaison and Innovation office will now be known as the Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement, one of several changes made as part of a new engagement strategy. (Daniel Abriel photo)
Dalhousie's Industry Liaison and Innovation office will now be known as the Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement, one of several changes made as part of a new engagement strategy. (Daniel Abriel photo)

When it comes to commercializing research, Dalhousie has long been a leader in Atlantic Canada. By building productive partnerships between the university’s research community and industry, the Industry Liaison and Innovation (ILI) office has helped to address real-world problems, deliver critical innovations to the public, drive economic growth, and train the next generation of innovators, problem-solvers, and entrepreneurs.

But ILI’s business model has evolved significantly over that past few years, and it became time to undergo a strategic review of its operations with a view to finding more efficient ways for its stakeholders to engage with the office and provide greater transparency around processes, procedures and timelines.

To that end, staff members looked at best practices across North America and beyond, mapping out work processes to make sure they are as efficient as possible and studying new and more effective ways of conducting business.

The result? A new name and a refreshed web presence.

As of January 4, 2021, ILI is now known as the Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement (OCIE).

“It was important to revisit our process and procedures to make them more efficient to support our research community,” says Stephen Hartlen, assistant vice president of industry relations at Dal. "Our new name and refreshed website are more reflective of our office’s mandate.”

What’s new?

OCIE will serve as Dalhousie’s gateway for:

•    Collaboration between industry and Dal’s talented research teams
•    Support for the business and economic development community
•    Access to the university’s innovations, such as its intellectual property
•    Early assistance in the creation of startups based on Dal research.

The updated website will support the efforts of the office. It is more informative and transparent, and a more robust resource in uncertain times. Researchers, companies and startups will be easily be able to access downloadable forms, and view process maps to learn more about how the office works.

For researchers

Industry partnerships are increasingly more complex. The OCIE team specializes in building partnerships with industry and supporting those in the Dalhousie research community who wish to commercialize their innovations.

The team can help researchers by:

•    Answering questions about processes and funding opportunities.
•    Providing information about license agreements, non-disclosure agreements, research collaboration agreements and more.
•    Offering details about funding programs.

For companies

OCIE is the central gateway for industry engagement and access to the university’s brain power. The team works to make transactions with our private sector partners as transparent and frictionless as possible.

OCIE can help companies by:

•    Giving an overview of Dalhousie’s research strengths and what to expect working with OCIE.
•    Sharing information about the agreements that support Dalhousie-industry partnerships.
•    Providing descriptions of the processes and timelines involved in the creation of partnership agreements.

For startups

OCIE offers advising support to Dal researchers with the drive, commitment and time necessary to start a company. They’ll need to learn about the critical components of early-stage progress and investment – and will definitely want to tap into Dal Innovates programming to gain the knowledge, skills and contacts that will help them succeed.

The OCIE team can help startups by:

•    Providing an overview of what to expect when launching a company, and the Dal supports available.
•    Sharing details about funding programs.
•    Making policies and tools available to researchers, in an easily accessible format.

Learn more about OCIE by visiting


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