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VOL. 133 | NO. 31 | Monday, February 12, 2018

FedEx Institute of Technology Makes New Strides in Innovation

By Andy Meek

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The FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis has been laying the groundwork for a few years now via hires and launching specific industry focuses to become the center of technology and innovation in the city.

One of the newest fruits of those efforts is the imminent opening in Memphis of DayaMed, a Waterloo, Canada-based medical technology company bringing its U.S. headquarters to Memphis.

The company is in the process of nailing down a location in the university district, executives told The Daily News. They needed to expand, didn’t want to do so in Canada, and were attracted to Memphis in part because of the presence of FedEx and the resources of the FedEx Institute.

The institute, meanwhile, has been at this sort of work and attraction of talent, deliberately, for the last few years. Its efforts included the hire of Cody Behles, its manager of innovation and research support. He helps identify emerging technologies and research areas that are of potential interest to the university.

The institute also rolled out a series of what it calls research clusters that are meant to help set the operational direction for the institute. Those clusters – including a biologistics research cluster that attracted the attention of DayaMed – represent topics around which the institute wants to build research, programming and interest from outside the institute’s four walls.

About the biologistics research cluster, specifically, Mihalis Golias – the cluster’s co-director – said it “brings together researchers and practitioners to develop and test innovative solutions for the unique challenges of this emerging field of supply chains.”

“Companies like DayaMed provide great opportunities to our research community for collaboration with the industry and applied Memphis-based careers for our students,” Golias said.

It’s also about helping make the university district a perfect home, Behles said, for companies by giving them access to “world-class” research, talented students who are ready to enter the job market and other resources that only a university can help bring to the table.

DayaMed, Behles said, is bringing its U.S. headquarters to Memphis to “create collaborations and grow their business in partnership with the U of M.”

“The FedEx Institute of Technology established the country's first biologistics research cluster in 2016 in order to advance emerging technologies innovation in the area,” he said. “This is an exciting opportunity for the university and the FedEx Institute and helps to advance Memphis as a destination for international technology companies seeking an entry into North American markets. Memphis' position as a national leader in logistics, medical device, agriculture and service industries makes our city an attractive place for young companies.”

The U of M has signed a memorandum of understanding that will help bring the U.S. operations of DayaMed to Memphis. The company is a leading provider of mobile medical devices and patient-centric data analytics. The partnership will allow DayaMed, among other things, to engage university faculty and graduate students in research collaboration, innovation design, market expansion and partner development activities. DayaMed executive director of regional development Troy Parkes said the company is working on a deal to lease a former Memphis Public Library branch building on Highland Avenue and expects that to be wrapped up in a few months.

“After being in Waterloo for almost four years now – and we’ve had a great relationship with FedEx for some time – we decided to take advantage of all the great stuff going on in Memphis with FedEx and the university and the institute and expand our operations there,” said DayaMed CEO Justin Daya.

The DayaMed news follows other recent developments out of the institute that include analytics leader SAS announcing the location of a first-of-its-kind training center there.

Experts from SAS, supported by U of M faculty, will collaborate to deliver SAS training using both classroom instruction and a virtual lab environment. The SAS course schedule will include content on SAS programming and advanced analytics topics, and the agreement marks the first SAS public training center at a university.

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