1 - Fostering collaboration between Universities and Business

1.1 - Combining forces in a shared direction: collaboration strategy


Is the relationship between Universities and Business the result of necessity? We can find numerous examples of relationships between the two, with a variety of positive and negative results. However, in times of crisis, the relationship should certainly be retained, and ideally be strengthened to face the challenges posed by socioeconomic circumstances. The aim should be one of effective collaboration in terms of effort and efficiency.

The first step in paving the way towards achieving this involves designing a well-defined road map which is accepted by all the agents involved, and helps lead to the creation of solid long-term links. It is also important to define the expectations and interests of both parties by specifying objectives and communication channels, as well as strategies for knowledge and technology transfer.

There are other vital aspects concerning the design of an efficient strategy which should not be overlooked, including the promotion of collaborative thinking and teamwork. One of the options which could help Universities and Companies to begin to define partnerships would be to encourage cross-participation of personnel in their respective decision-making bodies.

Another recommendation is to explore and define the expectations which each party hopes to gain from collaboration and the communication processes which need to be put in place. As such, it is important to promote transparency by making strategy clearly visible and accessible to everyone, by, for instance, featuring content on the website of the Company or University.

If necessary, it would be useful to seek outside help to develop strategies. To this aim, information should be provided on the different professional skills necessary for a given project as well as the channels and tools for maintaining fluid communication between team members. A policy for the effective protection of intellectual property also needs to be defined.

Finally, the collaboration strategy should include a section clarifying relevant concepts such as "confidential information", "intellectual property", "people in charge" , "responsibilities and functions of project leaders", "implementation of dynamic team workshops", etc.


Nord-Pas de Calais (France)

The involvement of University staff on the boards of directors of Companies or of Directors on the governing bodies of academic institutions is one of the practices employed in the region of Nord-Pas de Calais. Thanks to this working method the experience of both parties is invaluable in the design of a more consensual strategy which identifies mutual needs and developmental potential. On the other hand, one of the keys to the success of competitive clusters in this region is the implementation of a strategy for joint collaboration.

Implementation process

Agents required for implementation

The definition of a collaborative strategy can be implemented by one or more enterprises on a bilateral basis with the University, depending on the interests of each of the agents.

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  1. Conseil Regional Nord-Pas de Calais. Interview to Fréderic Lebourge.
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  4. Global Knowledge Management at DANONE. Harvard Business School, 2008. Networking mentality.
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