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The 10 most powerful barriers in developing strong university-industry linkages?

University-industry collaboration is one of the wildly used interactive best practices, a powerful tool for generating a favourable environment for technological innovations and enhancing global competitiveness, eventually, advancing the interests of the industry as well as academia across the globe. Nevertheless, academia and industry have miserably failed to realize the potential of such a collaborative enterprise.

The blog post “Developing strong university-industry linkages: A real need of the time” has revealed why strong collaboration has not been established between university-industry, whereas, the article, 10 Reasons, why University needs Industry and Industry, needs University? has identified the underlying reasons for a strong university-industry collaboration. In this blog post, the most powerful barriers in developing strong university-industry linkages in developing countries have been highlighted.

What makes university-industry collaboration successful?

As a matter of fact, university and industry thrive in a volatile and competitive market conditions and their very survival counts on their ability and willingness to adapt to an unprecedented pace of change. Academia interacts with industrial firms largely to obtain basic research funding, industrial expertise, exposure to the practical work experience and employment opportunities for university graduates. The driving force that presses on the university to collaborate with industry is that the industrial firms provide an ingenious source of financial support to the university which involves less bureaucratic red tape than the government financial support.  

Under this partnership mechanism industries make a contribution to the universities in the form of money, exposure to work site and equipment. Such contributions are extremely valuable for academia, since, the university has much more leverage in using these funds for up-gradation of laboratories and or provision of fellowships to the students, or granting seed money for initiating new research projects.

Bottlenecks in developing effective collaboration between university and industry

In fact, there are numerous factors which have hindered effective collaboration between academia and industry.   To begin with the university across the world has having well-defined autonomous self-contained kind of set up, characterized by freedom of teaching and research. On the other hand, the industry has having a formal hierarchal structure with limited space for such enterprises.

The top ten most widely cited barriers in developing strong university-industry linkages include:

  1. Conflicting functions, structure, goals and objectives
  2. The intrinsic disparities in philosophies, culture, vision, mission and policies
  3. Divergent systems of values, different governance structure and leadership styles
  4. An unfriendly attitude of the faculty members and reluctance of the management to join forces
  5. Lack of effective communication and confidentiality problems
  6. Lack of government patronage and strong public support
  7. Inertia and lack of interest on the part of both the university and industry
  8. Lack of exposure to collaborative undertakings
  9. Lack of realizations of the prospects of such collaborative enterprises
  10. Lack of confidence to team up, grow together and flourish


In the changing scenario, the role of the institutions of higher education has drastically transformed.  As a result, university-industry linkages are becoming critical for both the academia as well as industries.  To be competitive universities and industries must combine continuity with change, expanding their role and functions, join their forces to respond to the emerging challenges and new demands to overcome these barriers.