1 - Fostering collaboration between Universities and Business

1.7 - Promoting good practices based on the impact of University - Business relationships


The university-industry relationship is symbiotic. Companies need Universities in order to grow in the same way that Universities need Companies as channels for the transmission of their knowledge. For this reason, it is important to design a conceptual framework of mutual cooperation which emphasises good practices as a driving force.

The purpose of this recommendation is to demonstrate the outcome of a research project developed at the MIT Sloan School of Management.


The following seven recommendations were part of a seminar held at MIT Legatum (USA) by John Chisholm, a widely-recognised entrepreneurial mentor, aimed at improving University - Business collaboration and the impact of marketing. This list of good practices is based on the following premise: what matters is not the direct result of research or collaboration, but the impact that this information will have on the marketing of the company’s products or services. These seven ideas are the result of a study conducted with 25 Companies which participated in some 100 projects with MIT.

  1. Defining the strategic context of the project and the company as part of the selection process. It is absolutely essential to specifically adapt business strategies to the project. As such, the company’s research portfolio is used to establish opportunities for collaboration, define specific collaboration goals and identify individuals in the company who can benefit from the findings.
  2. Selecting project managers who have a sound knowledge of the technology needs of the research project, good management and networking skills in the various departments and functions of the organisations involved, and are able to identify opportunities and points of connection between research and applications for products.
  3. Developing a shared vision with the University team of how the research project can help the company.
  4. Investing in long-term relationships through multiyear collaboration projects. In this respect the aim should be to encourage personal interaction with key researchers in Universities, even at times when there are no projects programmed.
  5. Creating a strong communication link with the research team through meetings and interviews and establishing a communication mechanism as a form of maintaining contact and promoting the exchange of personnel. This enables researchers to leave Universities and join the company.
  6. Guaranteeing the prioritisation and effective dissemination of the project within the Company in such a way that links between the researchers and sections of the company are successful. These interactive contacts are important to ensure that the initiatives carried out by the research group are in line with the objectives of the Company.
  7. Supporting the collaborative activities during and after the contract so as to ensure that the results of the research process are fully exploited. It is important that Companies are equipped with the necessary technical and management support mechanisms.

Implementation process


  1. http://legatum.mit.edu/ - Legatum Centre for Development and Entrepeneurship (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).