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University/Industry Partnerships - A Changing Culture

A Triple Helix 5 Workshop proposed by:

Elliott C. Kulakowski, Program Director, Technology Development, Application and Commercialization Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA
email: elliot.kulakowski@osp.utah.edu

The aim of this Workshop will discuss several models of University/Industry interactions, some of which involve state and Federal government and non-profit institutional support for product development, commercialization, and productization. This workshop also will discuss new programs that have been developed at universities to integrate science, business and technology and provide trainees with hands on experiences in management of research and technology programs and research based small businesses. These models are changing the culture of universities and how they interact with industry.

This workshop will focus on diverse approaches to capitalize on the strengths of universities and industry interactions to further economic development. This is a two way interaction with technologies from universities moving into the private sector, and industry, especially small companies, seeking closer relationships with universities. This paradigm is changing the culture of both universities and industry. Examples of each will be provided.

Strong relationships exist between the leading research Universities and Industry. The Bayh Dole Act in the United States helped facilitate the interaction by allowing Universities to own the intellectual property developed by their faculty. Owning the intellectual property was not enough; Universities were required to attempt to commercialize technologies. These efforts led to stronger interactions with industry and an entrepreneurial culture developed at many universities, which continues to evolve. Among the actions undertaken by Universities are:

  • Licensing technologies to large and small companies both within the United States and internationally, where in many cases the university faculty continue to engage in research and development of the technology,
  • The establishment of small businesses with the university assuming an equity share in the company,
  • The development and/or expansion of Research Parks at major research universities that house small businesses,
  • The establishment of incubators for product development,
  • The creation of industry memberships in Centers that allows priority access to certain data, early access to new technologies, and access the Center for joint industry or single projects, and
  • The establishment of subsidiaries of universities separate from their technology transfer offices to commercialize specific unique resources that a university may have.

Beyond development of their own technologies, industry is establishing closer working relationships with universities. Industry is seeking out the expertise of university faculty. This support of universities includes:

  • Direct support for basic research,
  • Support in the applied and developmental technology areas, and
  • Engaging schools of business through student programs for development of business and marketing plans for small companies, for establishing and managing small businesses and for faculty to serve on the boards of such companies.

Economic development is a prime motivator of programs developed the Federal government of the United States and by state governments. To enhance economic development and competitiveness the Federal government and state governments have developed programs to support and stimulate interactions between universities and industry. Models for the types of programs include:

  • Technologies that, for example, the Federal government has, but that could be utilized in the public sector after further development, commercialization and productization,
  • Identifiable needs that a particular sector of the Federal government may have, and they seek to have industry and universities work in collaboration to meet the need,
  • The establishment of Centers whereby various academic institutions are brought together to work with the Federal and state governments, industry in a related field,
  • The establishment of Centers of Excellence located at universities and supported by economic development programs of state governments to enhance late stage research to develop new products, and
  • State programs that support small start up businesses, but that require that the business seek and interact with local universities.

Through a series of examples, this workshop will explore the various methods that are evolving where universities and industry are capitalizing on the knowledge and expertise of each other. This is leading to cultural changes within universities and industry whereby partnerships are being developed.

Triple Helix Conference I Amsterdam, 1996 II New York, 1998 III Rio de Janeiro, 2000 IV Copenhagen, 2002 V Turin, 2005 VI Singapore, 2007 VII Glasgow, 2009 VIII Madrid, 2010 IX Stanford, 2011 X Indonesia, 2012 XI London, 2013
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