A delegation from a Colombian university recently weathered zero-degree temperatures to learn how Colorado State University commercializes technologies developed by its researchers.
The team from University of Cauca, a public institution in Popayan, Colombia, spent two weeks in Fort Collins working with CSU Ventures, the University’s technology transfer and commercialization agent. The project is part of an effort by the Colombian government to bolster research at its public universities and efforts to commercialize potential technologies.
The Colombian government, through a new agency called iNNpulsa, awarded the University of Cauca and CSU Ventures a grant to fund the project.
“The Colombian governments want its universities to work with other universities with experience and demonstrated success in technology transfer,” said Denichiro “Denny” Ostuga, the vice president of CSU Ventures. “We were one of the few universities selected to help Colombian universities to set up a tech transfer process and office.”
The funding for the visit came from a grant from a new Colombian agency, iNNpulsa; CSU Ventures was a co-applicant on the grant.
Areas of collaboration
During their visit, the University of Cauca group toured CSU labs, met with researchers, visited startup companies and local business incubators.
“The university is the center of knowledge generation but it needs to function in an ecosystem,” Otsuga said. “We wanted them to see and experience the ecosystem we have in Fort Collins and the Front Range.”
Part of the visit was spent exploring research areas in which the two public universities could collaborate, such as natural resources, agriculture and engineering.
“There are a lot of areas where we believe we can work together,” said Chad Hoseth, director of international initiatives within CSU’s Office of International Programs, which helped coordinate the visit. “Our universities focus on similar areas of research.”
Otsuga agreed and said Colombia is viewed as an up-and-coming South American country.
The country, which has reaped the benefits of off-shore oil exploration, is investing millions of dollars in education and research, he said.
“The U.S. views Colombia as a strong potential trade partner,” Otsuga said. “This is an unexplored opportunity for us. CSU Ventures is excited to bring this opportunity for CSU to interact with Colombian universities.”
A budding partnership
At a wrap-up luncheon on the final day of the Colombian delegation’s visit, both sides joked about the weather, which had dropped from nearly 70 degrees to just above zero during the two weeks.
Hector Alejandro Sanchez, who is leading the University of Cauca’s efforts to establish a tech transfer office, talked about the college, its history and the change going on in Colombia.
He also spoke about their visit to Colorado and the future of the budding partnership.
“We conclude that there can be a good relationship with CSU in the long term and are excited to work together,” Sanchez said through a translator.