Finding relevant websites that might be consider linking to your site depends a lot on how much quality content your site has to offer. If you are an authority in your niche, it will be much easier than if your site is a MFA (Made for Adsense) site.
Assuming that you have quality, relevant content, here is a strategy I have used successfully many times to get difficult to obtain one way links from authority sites: Consider whether or not your website might provide useful information to their visitors. If so, what questions would your site answer. These are the most logical sources of inbound links.
Open up notepad on your computer, and draft a short email response as follows:
I noticed on your Shoe Technology page, http://www.xyz.edu/shoetech.html,
you reference Urethane Copolymer technology in sole formulations.
A lot of people who aren’t chemists have trouble understanding what Urethane Copolymer’s are and how they help running shoes during lateral stress.
You might consider linking to this page, which does a good job explaining Urethane Copolymers:
Open up Google and type in this query for .edu sites:
urethane copolymers site:*.edu
Google will give you a list of universities and schools that would be good candidates for inbound links. Modify each email with the url of the page you think might be the best candidate, and then contact each sites webmaster with your recommendation.
If you have great content, this will develop some high quality deep links into your site, which the search engines love.