7 - Mechanisms for the management of University-Business relationships

7.0 - Beginning


The environment in which both companies and universities develop their activities is becoming more complex due to globalisation. This is also true of the relationships between them, marked as they are by uncertainty and continuous changes to adapt to new demands for goods and services. Therefore, collaboration between the two is the only way of building long-term understanding and converting their differences into opportunities.

It should be remembered, however, that these differences tend to occur, in most cases, in processes and activities which support research and development, and which are normally carried out without any major problems.

Nevertheless, the implementation of tools, primarily of a technological nature, to facilitate the management of this relationship, would be a step forward in the search for a common language and goals. As such, the most interesting examples focus on the development of flexible databases and user-oriented initiatives, aimed primarily at bringing companies together and analysing their technology needs with university groups. These tools can take on many forms and are unique assets for the institutions which own them. Moreover, some of them involve relatively little investment, although they do require a change of attitude towards a prospective partner and a clear commitment to collaboration as a response to the various challenges that arise.

Problems identified

  • Excessive bureaucracy of university administration.
  • Limited flexibility in the relationships between Universities and Business.
  • Overly complex incentive procedures.
  • Lack of tools which are specifically aimed at encouraging collaboration between Business and Universities.
  • Cultural differences and lack of awareness of mutual interests.
  • Difficulties in the management of changes, incidents and/or non-conformities during collaborative projects between Business and Universities.
  • Obsolete management support structures.