Continuing the conversation between industry and academia

Dr Roslyn Hickson

Roslyn Hickson
EMCR Forum Executive Member

The EMCR Forum would like to thank the many people who provided feedback on our consultation draft of the discussion paper “Starting the conversation between academia and industry”.  We are currently working on an updated version for this discussion paper. We will also be using the feedback to direct our development of a best practices guide on collaboration between academia and industry.

We appreciate the feedback that identified incorrect generalisations. We apologise at our oversight in not acknowledging the world-class research conducted in some government departments, such as fisheries research and Great Barrier Reef research by QLD government departments, amongst others. We also appreciate those who wrote to us saying they thought the paper captured the differences between the sectors well.

There was a general call for more case studies. If you have a case study or know of a case study, please get in touch. We are particularly interested in case studies that focus on how your interaction between the sectors originally began and how it developed. Similarly, if you know of resources or initiatives that we have missed, please tell us.

There were some suggestions to include more information for academics on the “this is industry” side. Specifically people requested information identifying the different corporate structures and what they mean for decision-making processes. There was also interest in the different types of intellectual property (IP) agreements, in the differences between types of patents and in patenting versus licensing, etc. Also in identifying where to look and what for, when considering an industry partner. You should look forward to these additions in the next release.

Much of the feedback incorporated views on what industry research involves. For example, that industry is most focussed on the ability to deliver. Scientific reputation is an important but secondary consideration to the ability to deliver. Industry is a lot less focussed on whether you’re from a G08 or other university, and are not at all interested in your H-index. It was suggested that businesses talk to each other more than to universities, so mismanaging a project with one company means others will know about it. A good reputation for industry collaboration must therefore be developed in the same way academics develop other records, be they publication, teaching, or supervision. Industry research involves requirements in reporting and accountability well above and beyond any other funding body demands.

Some of the feedback that was provided directly ties into recommendations for the best practices guide. For example, how best to recognise of the contribution that industry research makes and the trade-off that effects the publication list on your CV. Another suggestion was the development of a national database of research projects that went unfunded by the ARC or NHMRC, to promote productive conversations between sectors.

Thank you to all who have provided feedback, it will greatly influence the final document. We look forward to hearing from you with more case studies and information on other relevant initiatives.

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