Exploring university-industry interaction in collaborative R&D projects
This paper focuses on how academic researchers and industrial partners view central aspects of the collaboration process in government funded R&D projects.
In much previous work on university-industry collaborations (UICs), universities or researchers and/or firms have been studied without any direct reference to the other party, thus neglecting the fact that the motivations, perceptions and actions involved in UICs are two-sided at the least.
This study, in contrast builds on interviews with academic-industry project leader pairs to identify how both sides perceive factors in the initiation, interaction, conditions and outcome phases to produce value. While there is unexpected overlap in both parties’ perceptions, there is also a clear tendency for academics to stress the less tangible or distant factors (e.g., ‘a culture,’ ‘priorities,’ or general university support), while industry actors emphasize more tangible operative factors (e.g., collaborative networks, timing issues, and having project owners and conflict resolution procedures). This might illustrate different cultural or professional mores as well as different notions of what types of efficiencies to seek in project work in general. In this paper, we propose an understanding of collaborations based on the notions of ‘productive interactions’ and ‘translation’ that can be utilized as a basis for evaluation frameworks for collaboration programs.