Joyce Burch is the director of the Office of Corporate Partnerships and Regional Economic Development for the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships. The OCP serves as a bridge between business and industry and the University.
“When Tomás Díaz de la Rubia joined the University in 2019, he requested that the name of the Office of the Vice President for Research be amended to include ‘Partnerships’ to indicate the importance of relationships with outside organizations,” Burch said.
As described in the Lead On strategic plan (Pillar 5, Strategy 1,Tactic 6), “Create new Office of Corporate Partnerships to lead the effort to grow strategic research partnerships with private sector and philanthropies,” the establishment of the OCP indicates the importance of industry sponsored projects in reaching the goal of doubling research in the next five years.
Burch says OCP is a central point of contact between companies of all sizes and faculty/researchers. “OCP identifies, recruits and manages productive partnerships by leveraging OU’s world-class research talent to help industry solve their most pressing problems and opportunities,” she said. “We work closely with the Office of Research Services, the Office of Legal Counsel and the Office of Technology Commercialization to negotiate and execute the agreements necessary to partner.”
OCP also assists faculty by facilitating networking opportunities with industry, helping with private industry related requests, and managing the resulting relationships.
“Faculty are encouraged to contact me if they have any questions about connecting with industry, would like to offer corporate partners a tour, or have questions about the business community,” she said.
In addition, OCP works with state-wide Economic Development Organizations to assist in recruiting new companies to the area.
“A primary consideration in deciding where to locate a facility is availability of talent,” Burch said. “Our office can offer prospective companies information on the curriculum for specific majors, the talent pipeline, and research strengths. The presence of a major research university with talented researchers and potential recruits can sway a company to locate in the region, and a relationship can be established before the company lands in Oklahoma!”
Burch has been with OU for three years, starting in the Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Division in the Price College of Businesss as the director of public/private partnerships, and also served as project manager for the establishment of the Executive MBA in aerospace and defense. She assembled the Aerospace and Defense Industry Roundtable, composed of local A&D companies and organizations. The A&D Industry Roundtable advised the University on the requirements and needs of industry and helped to craft the curriculum. Roundtable advisors included leaders from Acorn Growth Companies, Boeing, Tinker AFB, FAA, Northrup Grumman, Booz Allen Hamilton, Delaware Resource Group, Flight Safety, Kratos and others.
Joyce has 15 years of economic development experience, and believes that OU’s healthy relationships with industry are beneficial to both the University and the economic growth of the state.