We believe that the center will provide longer-term, larger-scale, and more cost-effective research solutions in measurement sciences than can be currently achieved in-house or through contract research organizations. Indeed, the center is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the initial demonstration of new technologies and capabilities and the delivery of practical working solutions.

As with all IUCRCs, the CBM is engaged in pre-competitive research. Pre-competitive means the research lies at the interface between fundamental discovery (usually carried out in universities or research institutes) and company-specific product development. It is the work needed to advance technology that is the middle ground between focused cutting-edge research and proprietary research performed in corporate laboratories. The work of the center is cooperative and often developmental in nature, leading the way to full-scale competitive development in the future.

The center’s cost-effectiveness is further enhanced by the fact that there is no overhead charged to center-sponsored research, thus 100% of fees go directly to projects.

How it works, step-by-step

  1. Industry members share technical gaps and needs that could potentially be addressed via analytical measurement science.
  2. The Industry Advisory Board (consisting of a representative from each member company) selects list of most important topics and problem areas to issue as a request for proposals to faculty and staff in the analytical areas of PU, ND and IU.
  3. Faculty and staff from the academic institutions respond with short proposals of research that could address the problem areas.
  4. The IAB votes on the allocation of funds to the projects they prefer most, with each member assigning funds in proportion to the membership fee that they pay.
  5. Selected projects are kicked off, with at least one industry liaison from funding companies associated with each project. Liaisons participate in periodic project calls and meetings with the academic team and contribute to experimental planning and interpretation of results. Ideally, these are supplemented by visits of industry liaisons to university labs and of students and academics to industry labs during the project.
  6. Publication upon completion of the project, typically with joint academic/industry authorship.

Common Industry Research Needs

Partners have already shared some of the research they’d be interested in tackling on a pre-competitive basis, including:

  • Improving sensitivity for trace-level biomarkers and impurities
  • Discriminating subtle differences between large biomolecules
  • Reducing volume and material demands for analysis and experimentation, as well as increasing throughput and productivity
  • Analyzing rare/extremely dilute cells/molecules/exosomes, etc.
  • Single cell analysis, genetic profiling, panel screening vs. measuring individual analytes
  • Online, near-line measurements
  • Point-of-use analysis, companion diagnostics, inexpensive testing in the field
  • AI-driven instrumentation, feedback optimization, ‘driverless’ instruments
  • Enhancing imaging of cells, organisms, chemical processes, experimental arrays

Center leaders would welcome other input, ideas, and themes for CBM research of value to industry collaborators.