24Companies (and especially SMEs) in many industries face major challenges in developing and commercializing new products. Studies show that companies with university linkages have lower research and development (R&D) expenses while having higher levels of innovative output. University-Business Cooperation (UBC) therefore is a strong driver for innovation as it encourages the sharing and transfer of knowledge, fosters long-term partnerships and mutually beneficial value creation between businesses and universities. However, despite practically undisputed recognition of UBC importance among relevant stakeholders, the practical results in terms of university-business cooperation often remain suboptimal. One of the main reasons why cooperation outputs often remain behind their expected goals is that the cooperation partners themselves are not totally aware of their personal goals and targets of cooperation in the first place.

It is important that all related partners define the strategic context of the UBC partnership, both internally and among each other – based on their own strategic targets. Typically UBC projects require a lot of resources and commitment from all partners and projects that are only carried out for their own sake are usually doomed to fail. Therefore, it is imperative that all partners have a clear strategic roadmap for navigating their options and eventually forming productive and focused partnerships. Converging limited operational resources on a smaller number of higher value partnerships delivers the expected long-lasting benefits only if the choice of partners is rooted in organisation’s strategic priorities. This aspect is particularly important in strategic partnerships and is not intuitive for smaller partnerships which are often viewed as stepping stones for subsequent strategic partnerships.

This module helps you to understand and communicate your motivation of cooperation with HEIs. This is the necessary pre-requisite to develop a structured framework to search for the right partners and to start a successful partnership.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

-Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919, Scottish-American industrialist)