Companies have realized that forming partnerships with universities and colleges has become a necessity to maintain a competitive advantage. However, just like most collaborations, they are not easy to create. There has to be a balance of interests between both parties—the company and the university—so that the desired outcome can be achieved. Some thorny issues that companies have to contend with include:
- 1. The open nature of universities
- 2. Research topics to address
So how does a company navigate all these challenges and avoid wastage of company resources and time? Read on to find out.
Open Nature of Universities
In academia, the openness of information is encouraged whereas, in business, secrecy is vital for commercial benefit. Managers can create structures that facilitate openness to make the partnership thrive without intellectual property limitations. This model attracts academics into the program because they know they can publish the results. For a company, this model creates new ideas and discoveries that the company can use.
Conflict of Research Priorities
Agility is key for businesses, and that is why businesses focus on time-sensitive projects on a day-to-day basis. Academia research, on the other hand, is focussed on working on big challenges that take a long time to solve. Also, if you factor in the bureaucracy in universities, then working with them becomes hard. So how can companies handle this?
Companies can fund well-defined research goals that align with the company’s interests. An example is the issue of rising costs in the development of drugs for pharmaceutical companies. The discoveries made in such collaboration will outweigh the cost of secrecy in the long run.
Another benefit of funding long term research projects is the discovery of new fields and markets. When discoveries are made, the companies behind the projects become not only experts in that field but also market leaders.
If you apply the above tips, they will help you forge a vibrant university research collaboration.