This month sees the launch of a new book written, somewhat unusually, by practitioners from industry on how they see and develop successful collaborations between their global companies and universities. It resulted from an idea by colleagues Dr Max Riedel (Siemens), and Dr Lars Frølund (Aarhus university and MIT), who noted that despite the large amount of text written by scholars, relatively little was published by those in business whose job it was to ensure these partnerships were successful.

Max and Lars drew together a collection of experienced colleagues from different companies to share experience, which in the end resulted in many agreeing to contribute a chapter to a book.

The book is perhaps timely in its publication given that NCUB also published its “State of the Relationship” report this month which notes an (albeit cautious) increase in international collaboration with UK universities. However, the work actually took some time before it coalesced into publishable form. Around a dozen major companies originally came together to share experience, and the team enjoyed much good-natured debate and challenge to their ways of working. I can certainly say that I learned a lot from the experience!

In the end, eight companies are featured in the book, and you can read insights from BMW, DuPont, Ferrovial, IBM, Novo Nordisk, Rolls-Royce, Schlumberger, and Siemens. The authors concentrate on different but equally important aspects of collaboration such as how they choose where to focus, which university partners, and how they choose collaborative formats in a systematic way, as well as factors involved in having the right organisational support, evaluation criteria, and people.

Strategic Industry University Partnerships book launch2It presents how these world leading companies identify and face up to the challenges of developing and managing strategically important relationships, as well as identifying some of the success-factors, risks and mitigation.

Picture: Some of the co-authors celebrating the publication of the book: (L-R) Max Riedel (Siemens), Kate Barnard (Rolls-Royce), Lars Frølund (Aarhus University & MIT), and Mark Jefferies (Rolls-Royce).

Strategic Industry-University Partnerships: Success Factors from Innovative Companies is published by Elsevier Academic Press and is available directly from the publishers (with introductory promotional code FINAN318) and other retailers including Amazon.

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Mark Jefferies is Chief of University Research Liaison for Rolls-Royce plc, overseeing the company’s strategic partnerships with leading universities around the world