“It is unusual,” says Laura Schoppe, president of Apex-based Fuentek, which consults with universities and companies on projects like this.…  Especially as federal and state research contracts shrink with all federal spending, this kind of relationship could be the wave of the future, she adds. Schoppe says the deal makes sense as universities must turn to private industries to keep their research programs chugging along.… “Once you have that relationship, the ability to multiply it is much easier,” she says. “Instead of having to hunt and peck for (grants) here or there.”