Grawemeyer Hall on Belknap campus

Universities are the perfect place for big ideas and “out of the box” thinking to solve problems. But big ideas need resources and connections in order to grow into fruition. 

At UofL, industry partnerships help make that happen.  

Faculty, staff and students routinely team up with industry partners to launch their ideas, cultivating them into tangible realities that improve lives, connect us to our local and global community and prepare students for the workforce with first-hand experience 

Pushing health and energy forward 

UofL responded to the COVID-19 outbreak in many ways, including developing reusable N95 masks to increase personal protective equipment, which was in short supply for health care professionals in the beginning of the crisis. Researchers at UofL teamed up with Advanced Energy Materials (ADEM), to develop and patent the technology to create the masks and AdhviQwhich manufactures and sells the finished products right on UofL’s Belknap campus. This partnership is a shining example of how an idea and research, met with industry capability, can improve lives and health. 

Huang-Ge Zhang, Ph.D.
Huang-Ge Zhang holds up grapefruit, which can help deliver medicine in a less toxic way.

UofL researchers are also teaming up with iTolerance Inc. to discover ways to help people with Type-1 diabetes stay off immunosuppressants and Senda Biosciences to deliver medicine in a less toxic way  by using the natural lipids in plants such as grapefruit and ginger.    

A partnership with startup BioProducts allowed researchers to develop technology that uses spent distillers’ grains, corn and waste wood to a create a low-calorie sugar substitute, which also results in a bio-mass “coal” alternative that could potentially help the environment. To further its clean energy efforts, UofL researchers and partners reimagined the newspaper printing press by using the same roll-to-roll technology to produce thin film solar cells and reduce the cost of solar energy. 

In one of our flashier partnerships, UofL researchers joined forces with Kentucky Advanced Materials Manufacturing (KAMM) to mine diamonds above ground. KAMM’s Louisville facility is the foundation of a billion-dollar worldwide effort to grow large diamond stones, and one of only a handful of global facilities in this highly advanced field. 

Empowering students with the skills of tomorrow 

UofL’s partnership with Adobe has put Louisville on the map as a place where students are provided access to affordable technology and opportunities to hone the tech skills required in a modern workforce.  

As the first Adobe Creative Campus in Kentucky, all UofL students, faculty and staff are offered the full collection of Creative Cloud applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe XD and SparkBy providing this access, UofL is actively advancing digital literacy skills to give students an edge in competitive jobs. 

In an effort to close the skills gapUofL teamed up with IBM to create the IBM Skills Academy, housed on Belknap campus. The academy will provide curriculum and educational tools concentrated on fast-growing technology areas, placing students at the forefront of the future workforce and boosting economic development in the area. 

UofL’s continued and longstanding partnership with UPS also gives students a leg up by preparing them for future careers and providing the opportunity to graduate debt free. The Metropolitan College program allows college students to work the third shift at UPS, which then gives students a paycheck and covers their tuition and fees.  

Hite Art Institute students outside of FirstBuild.

By bringing industry onto campus, UofL ensures students participate in experiential learning, placing them in the middle of the action. Students can gain on-the-job health care experience at Launch, an on-campus customer service center focused on health services with industry leader Cardinal Health, work closely with industry leader Kindred Healthcare at nearby Hive to create healthcare technology solutions and further develop the skills they learn in the classroom by developing new products at FirstBuild, the GE-backed makerspace and microfactory on Belknap Campus.  

Pushing the boundaries of innovation 

These collaborations help transform Louisville into a hub of innovation, inviting more industry leaders to invest in our community and boost the local economy. 

UofL is dedicated to enhancing Kentucky’s position as a technology hub and partnered with the University of Kentucky and Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. in a government-backed effort to bring technologies born in the Commonwealth to market and partnered with other academic institutions and XLerateHealth LLC to create a regional accelerator hub aimed at getting new biomedical technologies to market faster. 

David Calzi, UofL director of industry partnerships
David Calzi, UofL director of industry partnerships

With the recent hiring of Ernst & Young alum David Calzi to lead industry partnerships, UofL is further dedicating its efforts to continue growing its connections with corporate entitiesCalzi will work with each of the university’s schools to launch new strategic alliances and business development initiatives, including corporate training and internship programs and corporate-sponsored research 

Groundbreaking discoveries and connecting with industry partners help UofL stand out as a campus where big ideas propel progress 

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Caitlin Brooks
Caitlin Brooks is a communications and marketing coordinator in the Office of Communications and Marketing. Brooks joined OCM after earning her Bachelor of Science and Master of Art degrees in Communication from UofL. Brooks previously worked as a graduate assistant and public speaking instructor at UofL and is an avid Disney fan.