10748704275?profile=RESIZE_710xUniversity partnerships are crucial for helping firms find new ways to interact with the greater innovation ecosystem, which is the engine of the innovation economy, as well as sources of talent and ideas.

These ecosystems involve more than just universities and businesses; they also feature a large innovation community that includes venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and government agencies, with universities serving as a key participant.

Although industry and universities have different goals, work settings, and organizational structures, they are increasingly exploring and learning about areas of shared interest, which leads to the development of additional supporting infrastructure.

Successful partnerships with university requires the right people, procedures, and organizational support to ensure success and to identify and resolve areas of friction.

Universities and businesses now-a-days look for multifaceted relationships that move away from:

  • Singular to the institutional level.
  • Informal connections to formal partnerships.
  • Knowledge-gaining occurrences to development of fresh intellectual property and ventures.

Industry-university collaborations in the past have typically been ad hoc. Modus operandi being that a person from the business world seeking a solution to a challenge, contacts a connection at a university on their own, and completes the task.

Now, the focus is on strategic work, big challenges rather than incremental problem solving. Corporations have institutionalized specialized divisions for university interactions as a result of the development of strategic initiatives.  They frequently have positions within the corporate R&D organization with senior management as their reporting line.

The following 6 questions that should be considered when choosing partners have been developed as a result of a 4-year research effort on creating, managing, and enhancing the intrinsically complicated partnerships between universities and industry:

  1. What are the business objectives that necessitate the university partnerships?
  2. What are the main focus areas in the university partnerships, and what selection process safeguards their alignment with the business objectives?
  3. Which yardstick has been applied to choose the principal university partners, who are they?
  4. What partnership arrangements pair with the set focus areas and business objectives?
  5. What human resource, process, and organizational structures aid the university partnerships?
  6. What key performance indicators are extremely effective for assessing the university partnerships? 


Let's go to a bit more depth with a few of the questions.

What human resource, process, and organizational structures aid the university partnerships?

Making the company-university partnership work requires clearly stating the objectives that guide it.

Corporations are interested in university relationships for a variety of reasons, but they frequently struggle to articulate their objectives in straightforward economic terms.

By addressing the 1st question—which corporations hardly ever do—a firm has the ability to present a well-organized picture of its corporate objectives and how they relate to its interactions with universities.

What are the main focus areas in the university partnerships, and what selection process safeguards their alignment with the business objectives?

The business objectives' priority for innovation should serve as the foundation for choosing the university partnership's primary focus areas.

The selection process for such collaborations should be as rigorous as a comparable internal procedure would be to ensure that university partnerships align adequately with the company's business objectives.

Which yardstick has been applied to choose the principal university partners, who are they?

Companies must have strict and open criteria for working with universities.  It ought to be shared and understood by universities as well.

Interested in learning more about the 6 Questions, the 6 Benefits, and the 8 ways of partnering with universities?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Strategic Partnership with Universities here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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