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Insight: EMD Group on the value of UIDP membership

Mike Matthews

Mike Matthews, EMD Group

Jelena Sepa

Jelena Sepa, EMD Group

EMD Group joined UIDP in FY2018 and participated with attendance at six events over two years. Mike Matthews, director of partnerships, and Jelena Sepa, director of partnerships and scouting, recently spoke with UIDP on the value of active engagement. This interview is featured in UIDP’s FY2019 Annual Report.


Mike: We do technical scouting, and the network of people that go to UIDP events are “our people.” They’re industry peers and, very often, the people at universities that we want to see.

So UIDP events are our front door to going into the universities. The networking we do there is very valuable.

The high quality of both the industry and university network has been one of the early returns over the last two years.

Jelena: It’s also good to hear best practices from other companies—how they do partnership scouting and figure out metrics, for example. UIDP is a nice forum to bounce ideas off of each other and talk about challenges we all face and how to solve them.

Mike: We’re in California, so having the right people from the universities at one event, from different regions, is very valuable.

Jelena: Even for some of the local entities where I already had a network established, you always meet new people at UIDP conferences. In December, when we attended the event in Palo Alto, we made new connections to parts of the university systems that I didn’t even know existed.


Mike: Number one, it’s a very well-run organization.

The curation of what organizations are members (and who attends events) is done in a very effective way.

There’s a certain seniority in the member organizations that makes the environment productive.

Our industry sector peers are members, too. The topics handled through UIDP projects are also relevant, because members propose them, and we all share common issues.

UIDP is a non-competitive forum where we can talk about new technology and about stimulating innovation. The right players from government and industry collaborate in a very effective, organized structure. I never feel like I’ve wasted my time.


Mike: I brought one of our more junior staff members to a UIDP conference as a training opportunity. He got to learn firsthand how to engage at this level. For people that are new to the field, UIDP resources are a great way to accelerate their understanding of what topics are relevant, and to see what a consensus view might be, even if individual companies have their own particular view.

Membership in UIDP has helped me understand the university perspective on all these topics. Universities have completely different goals, and UIDP gives us exposure to that way of looking at the world.

We also did a webinar last year that UIDP organized on our behalf. It was beneficial for us to connect with others and share a wealth of information. Doing a UIDP member webinar helps you organize your thoughts and connect with people who have struggled with the same issue.

Download the report