How do academia and industry collaborate?
November 30, 2009 12:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for non-traditional collaboration models between academia and industry (any field) or between companies/consortiums. Any pointers?

As a personal project I'm trying to map out how academia and industry collaborate. It seems to me the de facto model is one in which academia either works on specific projects for industry (with IPR rights agreed on beforehand) or academics spin out a company. However, I'm interested in other, non-linear examples of different modes of collaboration. Examples or pointers both welcome.
posted by gadha to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In the research dept. (academic) that I am in, we always collaborate on a per project basis. The arrangement usually is that we come up with a project idea and then find an industrial partner to work with so they can pick up our clever developments and take them to market. They contribute money, hardware, expertise, etc. IP agreements vary. I would say we are working with industry, not for.

As we work with different competitors who are in the same market, it is important to clearly separate different projects contentswise, and to work with NDAs. The lawyers are uncomfortable with this, but it's never produced a problem.
posted by gijsvs at 12:53 AM on November 30, 2009

Although it focuses on the more typical cases you describe, Shapin's The Scientific Life is probably worth a look for you. I've returned mine to the library, or I'd offer more specific information.
posted by Jorus at 5:06 AM on November 30, 2009

KTPs might be a slightly unusual model in that they're a graduate, employed by a university, working in a company, funded jointly by the company and government. But in essence they are your de facto model.

Universities in the South West sponsored senior academics to become Non Exec directors in 2008. (The consortium Knowledge West is no longer funded, the case studies on the site may be useful to you).

A visiting lecturer where I work happened to be the chief engineer on a landspeed record project which has led to the university becoming quite involved with the whole thing. What fun.
posted by Ness at 5:37 AM on November 30, 2009

So, I'm familiarizing myself with this same topic right now, and I'd be curious to hear what you come up with. Even though I'm new, I can give you a few examples, and some pointers on how to go about this for your project. Based on my work thus far, I would recommend 1) investigation into proof of concept centers (example), 2) head over to the National Academies Press site and look through the reports generated by the National Academy of Science (or at least the executive summaries, which are free) which sound pertinent to your scope, and 3) check out reports/working groups of the Kauffman Foundation. (example)

It seems you're also interested in learning about intercompany collaborations as well? If so, depending on your country, I'd start by looking at what your country's scientific research program has established. Often scientific research agencies will facilitate collaboration where competition normally exists, in order to achieve a common goal/set of standards. Other facilitating agencies may be medical practioner societies seeking to advise on recommended treatment guidelines where varying protocols/methods exist. (<>
Hope that helps a bit. As I said, I'd be curious what you come up with, even if it's after this thread closes, so feel free to followup later, by email, if interested!
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:10 PM on November 30, 2009

The weird bracket-y <> thing meant to read: " I'm speaking from a biomedical background, so this last suggestion is a bit specific obviously."
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:11 PM on November 30, 2009

Another lead/org to look into, for resources and more information on this topic, potentially:
posted by NikitaNikita at 6:02 AM on December 1, 2009

You may also be interested in The RNAi Consortium, in which academic researchers are developing libraries of research tools that are distributed by large, established industry partners (rather than a small spinoffs).

Since it's outside of the scope of your question, I won't explain what the libraries do, but MeMail me if you are interested in followup.
posted by Jorus at 6:56 AM on December 2, 2009

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