The Foundation links researchers and industry around the advantages of innovation
By forging partnerships between U.S. and Mexican universities and research consortia, USMFS widens the pool of intellectual talent to speed discovery of new technologies and innovations in both countries. The aim is strategic: to bring new knowledge beyond the lab and into the marketplace. Example projects include:
- Working with the U.S. Department of State and the Mexican government, USMFS led a pilot project to create commercial enterprises with technologies developed in Mexican university laboratories. Based on the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, Mexican scientists, guided by business executives, learned to identify valuable products and services emerging from their academic research and how to bring them to market.
- Two companies— Biotechnologica Mexicana and Bleps Vision—were able to get up and running thanks to USMFS’s support. USMFS provided experienced consultants and mentors, helped the corporate teams to understand the market, guided them in improving their products and designing a successful marketing strategy, integrated the U.S. and Mexican consultants and mentors, and identified viable research results that well-integrated project teams could produce.
With NSF support, USMFS has been instrumental in launching the first bilateral consortium of researchers, technologists and industrialists, based on the NSF’s Industry–University Cooperative Research Centers Program. These newly formed alliances enable long-term partnerships between industry and academia that can carry out leading-edge research to benefit both nations’ economies. For example, USMFS has worked with Honeywell Aerospace to build effective collaboration with Mexican universities (Universidad Autonoma de Baja California and CETYS Universidad). These partnerships are:
- developing local laboratory capabilities, in conjunction with the Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys Industry/University Cooperative Research Center, to advance research of interest to Honeywell,
- helping to train teachers and postgraduate students for these universities, and
- setting up joint research projects with U.S. universities in areas of interest to Honeywell.
- Working with U.S. Departments of State, Education, Commerce and Energy; the NSF; and Mexican Ministries of Public Education, Foreign Relations, Economy and Energy, the Foundation played a key role in creating the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education (known by its Spanish acronym FOBESII). Launched by Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto in 2014, FOBESII brings together government, the higher education community, the private sector and nonprofits to promote cooperative educational and research ventures. This forum also encourages broader student access to postsecondary education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields to develop a competitive, prosperous 21st-century workforce. As summarized in this brief report , among many promising outcomes of this dialogue:
- More than 115 new cooperative agreements have been signed between U.S. and Mexican universities.
- U.S. students studying in Mexico have increased 26 percent, from 3,730 in 2012-13 to 4,712 in 2014-15. Meanwhile, Mexican students studying in the United States have increased 18 percent, from 14,199 in 2012-13 to 16,733 in 2015-16.