James Taylor, the new director of Weber State University’s Office of Sponsored Projects and Technology Commercialization, has said he hopes to bring new and added opportunities to students and alumni alike.

The Office of Sponsored Projects and Technology Commercialization is looking to increase the amount of federal grants in order to expand opportunities for research that can be done by faculty and students at WSU.

Taylor set his sights high and seeks to make more collaboration a reality by doubling the amount of money available for student and faculty research projects to $24 million within a few years.

Receiving more money in federal grants is a benefit in more ways than one, with the ultimate goal being to help students put their ideas and innovations into the actual workplace.

“We want students to have more practical experience and applied opportunities,” Taylor said. “Students will be able to graduate with more in their portfolios, which I believe employees will look for more and more in the coming years.  They want graduates with real-life experience in their respected fields.”

Taylor said he knows WSU alumni can be helpful to the cause.

“We invite them to bring ideas to campus that students can run with and help develop,” Taylor said. “Alumni may even bring concerns they are dealing with in their respective businesses and give students the opportunity to help make a difference in the marketplace. It will be a great collaborative effort that will benefit students and alumni alike.”

Taylor also said he hopes more internships from a variety of different companies will be made available for students, as well as opportunities to help start-up companies get off the ground.

Cade Lubeck, the assistant to the vice provost, said he is excited about the opportunities this could afford students.

“The Office of Sponsored Projects and Technology Commercialization is going to show the world that we are doing just as much research as other universities,” Lubeck said. “However, we are actually going to help make companies out of it as well.”

WSU communication major Kelly Stratford shared his thoughts on how this could be helpful for many graduates going into the workplace.

“I’ve had a class or two where I’ve had to do actual research and work in the marketplace,” Stratford said. “I had the chance to brainstorm with a certain start-up company, helping them in a campaign and plan for an upcoming event, which was a huge learning opportunity in and of itself. I hope that professors will see the value of working hand in hand with business owners as part of course curriculum.”

Taylor said he wants all community members, and especially students, to know his office is always open.

“It’s an open office,” Taylor said. “I want students to feel free to come in here with fresh ideas that we can research and try to take into the marketplace. The possibilities are great.”

Taylor’s office is located in the Miller Administration Building, Room 102.

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