The University-Industry Collaboration

The University-Industry Collaboration

Marcello Fernandes Chedid (University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Leonor Teixeira (University of Aveiro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7365-4.ch055

Abstract

The collaboration between academia and industry—university-industry collaboration (UIC)—may occur according to different formats (multiple types) and recently has increased based on the third mission of the universities. This relationship offers advantages to both entities, addressing global challenges to their mutual benefit as well as benefits to society. Nevertheless, this relationship is complex and often appears threatening to both the university and industry through value and goals conflicts. In order to achieve success in this relationship, it is important to understand the three drivers that are part of UIC (i.e., the motivation for collaboration, the channel of interaction and outcome, and benefits of collaboration). Their understanding allows one to mitigate barriers, overcome differences, create an environment of trust and commitment, and consequently, achieve success of the UIC. This chapter aims to address these three main drivers of this relationship based on literature review.
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Background: The University - Industry Collaboration

Since the end of last century, factors such as the globalization, the growing competition and the rapid technological advances have transformed the complex business environment with impact on life cycles of processes, products and services (Kauppila et al., 2015; Mendes, Nunes, & Sequeira, 2012). This scenario forced the companies to find partners to face the new challenges, representing the University-Industry Collaboration (UIC) relationship a key resource for innovation (Lee, 2000), for promotion of technological change (Cohen, Nelson, & Walsh, 2002; Freitas, Geuna, & Rossi, 2013; Lee, 2000; Mansfield & Lee, 1996) and for promotion of higher productivity and greater economic growth (Freitas et al., 2013).

For universities, this relationship also became important, as with better awareness of the business value of its work and its research, universities have shown more interest in the marketing of theirs products (Santoro & Bierly, 2006). So, in addition, to contributing to the better training of theirs students, the UIC can provide to universities access to expertise that they do not have and that is only possible with direct experience with companies (Ankrah & AL-Tabbaa, 2015).

In fact, both the university, and the industry recognize the potential of UIC relationship. Nevertheless, this relationship is complex and often appears threatening to both the university and industry through value and goal conflicts. The key challenge is the understanding of the organizational form of the other partner. As soon as each institution understands the needs of the other, a large number of opportunities will exist (Sherwood, Robinson, & Butts, 2011; Wallin, Isaksson, Larsson, & Elfström, 2014; Wright, 2008).

Universities and industries have different objectives, focus and ways of working, which represents some barriers to the UIC (Sherwood et al., 2011). One of the barriers faced in this relationship is the difference of views with respect to the deadline for execution of works. Universities have a long-term vision, while industries work with a short-term vision. The time frames are different (Pertuzé, Calder, Greitzer, & Lucas, 2010). Another important barrier highlighted by some authors refers to existing divergence between what is developed by the researchers in universities and the real needs or expectations of the industries (Franco & Haase, 2015) which sometimes are completely disconnected or opposed to seeking industries (Arza, 2010).

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