How do universities and industry partners collaborate on research in a way that promotes innovation and accelerates the development of new technologies and products for the betterment of society? Why are these partnerships essential? What barriers and challenges can occur?
Another theme that became evident through conversations with attendees is that there is no singular, perfect way to manage these partnerships. Universities deploy different models for managing the relationships and, relatedly, offices are structured differently at each institution. Some exhibit a well-coordinated, holistic model, while others have components of the partnerships managed by different offices.
Again and again, the audience heard the same message-- both industry and universities want to increase collaborations with each other and form true partnerships. That this isn’t always the case seemed to stem from a few common barriers:
- Industry opportunities must meet university needs.
- University proposals must meet industry needs.
- Both sides desire a true partnership.
- The InfoReady Platform helps make university-industry partnerships simpler. There are a few salient features in the platform that are important to facilitating university-industry partnerships.
- The InfoReady Platform is a cloud-based tool which provides a secure place that stakeholders from different or outside organizations can access and thus facilitate improved corporate engagement.
- Administrators and reviewers of applications for sponsored programs or funding can be from both industry and academia. This enables them to be true partners from the beginning of a process without having to share sensitive information over email.
- The InfoReady platform acts as a comprehensive database with reporting capabilities. This allows both parties to have access to data and information that can help inform strategy and track outcomes.
- InfoReady’s Engagement Hub serves as a hub to showcase opportunities otherwise scattered across different websites. Engagement Hub provides a space to advertise opportunities, announcements, technology/IP, and faculty and industry partners all in one place. Here is an example from the Agricultural Research Institute, part of the California State University System.