Ohio State, Smucker's come together over coffee

Adding to their longstanding tradition of collaboration, Ohio State and The J.M. Smucker Co. have partnered to conduct innovative research on one of the world's favorite beverages: coffee.

The university's Industry Liaison Office (ILO) and theTechnology Commercialization and Knowledge Transfer Office (TCO) recently teamed up to create a sponsored research project with the Orrville, Ohio-based food company, whose many brands include Folgers coffee.

Bryan Kinnamon, ILO director for CFAES, worked with Smucker's during the early stages of the partnership, identifying a research need that involves expertise housed in the university's Center for Applied Plant Sciences (CAPS).

"The formation of an Opportunity Team within the Center for Applied Plant Sciences to work with Smucker's scientists to accelerate post-harvest coffee research is at the core of CAPS' mission to find practical solutions to challenging problems through synergy," said Erich Grotewold, director of CAPS and a professor in both the Department of Molecular Genetics and the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science.

"We look forward to the positive contributions this collaboration will have for both parties and are fortunate to have these valuable resources near our corporate offices."—Jim Trout, VP for Coffee Research and Development, J.M. Smucker Co.

CAPS is a joint initiative of CFAES and the College of Arts and Sciences whose goal is to facilitate the translation, or connection, between basic research and applications in areas such as photosynthesis and carbon fixation, biomass and bioproducts, crop production enhancement, and plant-microbe interactions.

"The project with The J.M. Smucker Company is a great example of the high-value partnerships Ohio State is structuring to encourage industrial research and development projects on campus," said Ray Atilano, director of TCO.

New paradigm, new partnerships

"As part of a new strategy with the Office of Research, TCO is reaching out to large- and medium-sized companies to create a new paradigm in public-private partnerships that focuses on long-term product development and ideation to establish a competitive market advantage."

Jim Trout, vice president for coffee research and development with Smucker's, said the company is pleased to be partnering with Ohio State on this initiative.

"We look forward to the positive contributions this collaboration will have for both parties," he said, "and are fortunate to have these valuable resources near our corporate offices."

-- Mauricio Espinoza, Communications & Technology