Knowledge transfer between industry and academia is the core driver of innovation. Knowledge transfer between industry and higher education institutions (HEI) is a potential mission activity, just as the activities of teaching, research and knowledge transfer between universities have been regarded as crucial mission activities in earlier times. In recent decades, HEIs all over the world have substantially come forward and accepted the collaboration proposals with business in order to contribute to local and national economic development. The research increased number of patents from universities in last two decades among which an exponential growth is witnessed for joint patent applications with industry. The combined efforts of industry and academia can step up the technological developments.
Industry too is coming forward in offering fellowships, scholarships and faculty consulting programs which would fuel the efficiency of the collaboration and focus more on patenting and IP generation. With higher education systems involving industry, the efficiency of the academia-industry machinery is leading towards successful research innovation and value creation.
Need of Industry Academia Collaboration in India
The Industry Academia collaboration (IAC) encourages knowledge and technology exchange. It leads to build the organization’s knowledge stock. Off late, a tremendous increase is seen in these collaborations in India owing to the pressures on industry and institutions. Indian industry faces the pressure of rapid technology exchange, short product lifecycles and intense competition. On the other hand, institutions remain under pressure of growth in new knowledge and face challenge of increasing cost and resource.
The IAC offers multiple joint platforms to achieve the goal of value and wealth creation. These include academic spin-offs, individual consultancy, information exchange forums, collegial interchange, conference, publications, tech talk sessions, student involvement in live projects, licensing of intellectual property rights, joint venture research project with institutions as research partners, innovation incubation centre, research and technology parks and the like. IAC offers multiple opportunities for mutual benefits to both the parties. The academia are benefited with access to funding for research besides getting business opportunities like exploiting research capabilities and obtaining patents, and discovering new knowledge and testing application of theory. IAC helps them to obtain better insights into curricula development and offer exposure to students and faculty to practical problems-applied technologies. The benefits are tremendous for the industry as well in the form of financial gains from serendipitous research results. The industry accesses cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art expertise, research facilities and complimentary know-how. IAC improves the corporate image while encouraging business growth and reducing and sharing of risks.
Benefits of collaboration & support from government
While many research projects commence in university laboratories, multiple other benefits can be reaped by working with industry. Industry offers the research to be close and in line with its practical applications and the real life usage. The two sectors can accelerate certain type of investigations through engaging their researchers and sharing resources. The Indian government has taken a leap forward with schemes like Industry relevant R&D (IRRD) under which academic and industry partners can utilize the expertise available in institutions and national laboratories to solve industry specific problems. The government further encourages the engagement of HEIs with industry in the form of business incubators, R & D centre and tech transfer organizations. The governments all over the world are actively encouraging IAC as a means of improving innovation efficiency and thereby enhance wealth creation.
The industry offers direct funding to the research labs as well as sponsorship to students for research on technological enhancement in its products and business. IAC could lead to future research proposals as well as publications.
How you engage in collaborating with Academia?
Industries invest in research and development by building a separate wing that approaches academia with technological problem statement that requires research. They seek early career researchers to engage in finding solutions to the existing problem statement as part of their thesis or research work. This encourages the new generation of researchers to focus their research towards direct benefit of society.
In conclusion, the main configuration of institutional relationship between industry and academia is that the industry becomes the driving force for the collaboration where institution acts as provider of academic talents, taking the lead. Both the actors act as partners focusing on transition of knowledge to society.