The partnership between universities and industries is believed to be a major collaborative effort on the part of the two distinct and diverging enterprises- academia and industry sharing their knowledge, skills set and resources in an effective and efficient manner for attaining mutually compatible goals of research, innovation and commercialization.
Such collaborative arrangements are effectively in practice in the technologically advanced societies for years paving the way for some of the revolutionary inventions in modern history and realizing the overall socio-economic development of these countries. Whereas, this phenomenon is relatively novel in the developing countries like Pakistan. The reason is that developing societies have not realised its value and worth. If pursued diligently it culminates in a win-win situation for both the partners.
This blog post highlights some of the driving forces for the industries to collaborate with the universities and for the universities to collaborate with the industrial partner. But before this, it is important to under how this marriage of convenience shall be beneficial for both the parties.
Significance of university-industry linkages
When put to some serious efforts, these joint ventures change the outlook of business firms by turning them into learning organizations. Thus, firms discover new ways of doing business and this ultimately transforms the landscape of the technology ecosystem.
Collaboration provides an enabling environment and inspires a higher level of learning- learning about cutting-edge technologies, discovering new methods for developing innovative solutions and finding out the ways new technologies might affect the existing business.
University-Industry linkage helps to identify scientists and research groups engaged in the research ventures relevant to the Industries, facilitating their synchronization, arranging their confluences, organizing seminars and capacity building initiatives to deliberate upon the problems confronted by the firms. There are numerous drives for the industry to join forces with the university. Some of these are briefly discussed here.
Driving forces for the industry to collaborate with the university
There are numerous reasons for companies and firms to cooperate with universities. Industrial firms reckon networking with potential trained students, qualified researchers and professionals, access to innovative technologies, improvement in the company’s standing, approach to cost-effective resources and admission to university labs and facilities as few of the drivers fostering nexus with institutions of higher education.
Industrial firms join hands with institutions of further education to get hold of new scientific knowledge, new research and new methodologies. Business firms happened to be concerned with effective utilization of the outcomes of research endeavours to facilitate the resolution of their pressing business problems and to address challenges of immediate nature so as to maximize net earnings.
The business concerns used to cooperate with the universities to get: (1) access to critical mass of HR encompassing trained graduates and learned faculty, (2) access to basic and applied research results from which innovative products and processes will evolve, (3) access to professional expertise found deficient in individual environment, (4) access to university facilities, not available in the company and (5) being good local citizens or fostering good community relations.
There are many potential benefits to be realized when industrial firms and universities work in concert. Institutions of higher education liaise with industrial firms primarily to acquire basic research funding, industrial expertise, exposure to practical real-world problems, and employment opportunities for university graduates.
The driving force that pushes university to get together with industry are (1) Industry provides financial support to the university, (2) Industrial firm provides for startups and job opportunities, (3) Industrially sponsored research provides student with exposure to real-world research problems, (4) Industrially sponsored research allows university’s researchers to work on an intellectually challenging research projects and finally (5) Universities design, modify and update curriculum to meet the changing needs of the business firm in order to train students in the state-of-the-art methods and techniques.
Another important motivating factor for the academia for alignment is the enhancement of teaching followed by funding/ financial resources and reputation enhancement. Whereas, the ‘knowledge gain’ from industry researchers and the access to empirical data from industry are regarded as another leading motivation.
The bottom line is that the academia and industries should understand the thrusts significance of such collaborative undertaking under which the university and industry are allowed to interact with one another in a more meaningful and proactive manner.