Q&A with Kevin Leland, Halo
What is your current role at your institution/company?
I’m the Founder of Halo, a collaboration platform for scientific innovation. We connect companies with scientists for research collaborations through a simple RFP process. We take a network approach to collaboration, so scientists, university administrators and sponsors can all join Halo and learn about the research interests of the other. Ultimately, our mission is to move science forward. If you haven’t joined yet, you can sign up here :)
How long have you been a NACRO member?
I joined right before last year’s NACRO Conference in Pittsburgh so it’s been about a year!
What do you enjoy most about your NACRO membership?
Being involved with NACRO has been really critical to Halo’s success thus far. When we launched in January with three RFPs from Baxter, many of our first users were NACRO members and most of the scientists who submitted proposals found out about the opportunity through them. Now we have over 200 universities represented on Halo across five continents and are about to launch several new RFPs with Bayer and other industry partners.
So far, what has been your greatest Corporate Relations success? What has been your greatest challenge?
For our first program with Baxter, we received over 80 proposals from around the world and Baxter is funding three projects out of UCLA, Arizona State and UNSW Sydney. We don’t have exact numbers but the total funding should be close to $1M. While our second program with Georgia-Pacific is still underway, the company has already identified projects of interest out of Penn State, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia and NC State. I don’t know for sure, but I bet these scientists learned about the Georgia-Pacific RFP through NACRO members as well.
The biggest challenge has been overcoming the objection from some industry partners that universities are challenging to work with as it relates to IP negotiations, and the perception that academic research is too far out from being commercialized. As a great counterpoint, Georgia-Pacific was initially interested in startups, but four out of five of the finalists it selected are university scientists.
What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
Oh gosh, I don’t know. I was a White House Intern for Bill Clinton. Does that count?