7 - Mechanisms for the management of University-Business relationships

7.3 - Gathering information about potential partners


One of the most important aspects of collaborations between Universities and Companies is the identification of the ideal partner to begin a project. The selection should be based on a careful process which takes into account the specific nature and objectives of the venture. In this respect, it is necessary to develop a methodology, complete with support tools, in order to identify and evaluate potential partners within the University and establish working procedures. To this aim, special attention should be paid to aspects which quantify the scientific and technical output of an organisation working in a particular area of knowledge, by analysing: patents obtained, fields of application and potential associated licensing agreements; articles in specialised publications, their impact, and whether they are written in collaboration or individually; participation in scientific conferences and their repercussion; and involvement in national and international R&D&i projects. The primary objective is to clearly define the research team so as to ensure that only the individuals who are best suited to the needs and objectives of the Company are selected, and to create teams which are both consistent and productive.

Another recommendation is to request information from University-Business liaison offices (OTRIs / TTOs) and other companies which have previously collaborated with research groups which may be of interest. Once a group has been selected, efficient communication channels should be established determining the frequency of the physical and virtual meetings for monitoring the project, as well as the specific functions and objectives defined for each team member. This preliminary phase at the beginning of the project is vital to clarify any doubts and set clear goals.

Implementation process

Agents required for implementation

The implementation of this process requires a mutual agreement between companies and intermediary agents so as to decide whether it can be included in the range of services they can provide. Alternatively, it can be established by Universities themselves.

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  1. Responsible partnering: A guide to better practices for collaborative research between science and industry. EIRMA, EUA, EARTO, PRO TON. Handbook for responsible partnering.
  2. Partnerships for research and Innovation between industry and universities. A guide to better practice (collaboration by ICARG, AURIL, DTI, EPSRC, HEFCE, CVCP).