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In the last decade we have witnessed an explosion of research partnerships between local colleges and business organisations.

Companies, limited by their budget or organisational goals, are reducing their expenditure on early-stage research.

Instead, universities are filling that gap

Universities are also viewing their academic-industry partnerships as a welcome change. These partnerships give them funds for academic research, which are hard to come by when there is a lack of government support.

Both sides can benefit a lot from forging long-term collaborations instead of one-off projects. Let’s find out how.

Benefits for companies

The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) reported that there were nearly 103,000 corporate partnerships between universities and businesses across Europe in 2017. This figure has certainly increased in the past few years.

This rapid increase in industry-academic relationships may indicate the huge benefits that a company can gain from a partnership with a university. Here are the top advantages of signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with your local university.

  • The company gets access to state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment
  • Universities are a hot bed of fresh ideas, perspectives and talent for corporate finance management
  • University campuses can provide space for a growing business
  • The research support received by universities can translate into funding and support for initial stage startups
  • New age universities are better aware of industry trends than ever before.

Benefits for universities

With government research funds tightening, universities are interested to see how the corporate sector can fill the gaps.

Partnering with companies and businesses gives universities access to more resources to fund their research and diversify their research areas. They also receive industry feedback and guidance on their inventions helping them to improve further.

Industry partnerships also allow universities to expose their students to real-time industry jobs. Most students involved in incubator projects are often offered a role within the company after their graduation since they have had time to adjust to the company culture.

Students turning into full-time employees as a result of the partnership can be a powerful PR tool for the universities. High placement numbers can be used to entice prospective students and possible corporate partners.

Lastly, partnering with companies allows universities to conduct networking events which are extremely important for students’ career prospects.

How can companies improve their partnership prospects with universities?

It can be beneficial for companies to consider a relationship model for their engagement with universities. A long-term relationship can help them avoid lengthy negotiations for every research project and stay connected with early-stage research.

There is always room for improvement when it comes to forging partnerships with universities. Here are some ways businesses can improve the quality and number of university partnerships.

    Targeting universities near talent clusters and industrial cities Funding early-stage research projects in universities Exploring beyond the top schools Having an extensive dialogue to find a common ground for non-disclosure Developing a more flexible system for patent licensing Re-negotiating partnerships in good faith.

The GISMA-TCS Partnership

A successful case study of an industry-academic partnership would be the recent partnership between GISMA Business School and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

TCS is considered a world leader in providing IT services, consulting and business solutions to organisations across the globe. This partnership provides GISMA students with connections to different global organisations. The partnership between TCS and GISMA covers a wide range of collaborative activities like conferences, seminars and other organised events.

The partnership saw the birth of TCS Sustainathon Europe, a platform to give young students a chance to collaborate with private and non-profit companies.

The Sustainathon also aims at solving different MIMO (Most Ignored but Most Obvious) business challenges like microplastics through extensive discussions and research projects.

The collaboration will see the exchange of research material, publications and educational resources between TCS employees and GISMA students. The partnership also allows for academic support to TCS employees who can update their skills through various GISMA programmes.

Simultaneously, GISMA students can expect internship opportunities within TCS through the Pace Internship programme.

TCS isn’t the only corporate business to benefit from the impressive talent pool at GISMA. GISMA has been associated with many other industry partners like Volkswagen and Smartvie GmbH for short-term projects.

The GISMA Business School in Germany offers a chance to get real-time industry insights from these partnerships with the course MSc Corporate Financial Management, awarded by the University of Law. You can also choose from a wide range of industry-oriented courses in many disciplines and subjects.

Click here to view the list of programmes available at GISMA.

  • Market your institution to our tertiary learner database
  • Market you institution to our nationwide schools database
  • Advertise on our CAD4ALL institute online learner management system – LMS
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • CPD Training
  • DesignBuild Expo
  • Hire our facilities for your training

The University of Bath provides industry, organisations and individuals many ways to collaborate. With access to leading research, skills, facilities and innovative technologies our Industrial Partnerships team will help you to navigate a path through the university, connecting you with the right teams, people and services.


Our research capabilities at the University of Bath align with the National Industrial Strategy and regional industry sector strengths.


Research Collaborations A dedicated team is available to facilitate collaborative research opportunities, sponsored research and access to skills that will enhance your businesses research, technology or practices. Through our Industrial Partnerships team you can tap into our pool of innovative researchers, technologies and equipment:

Make a step change in your business by taking advantage of our unrivalled research capability, wealth of industry experience and wide range of business services and facilities.

How we can help you

We can help you to:

RNLI Knowledge Transfer Partnership

  • find innovative solutions to business challenges to give you a competitive advantage, through consultancy or collaboration
  • test new technologies using our cutting edge facilities
  • access start-up business support to get your new high-tech enterprise off the ground
  • commercialise the University’s innovations through a licensing agreement
  • find talented graduates and students through recruitment and student placements
  • unlock funding for research by accessing grants only available through a university collaboration – for example from Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) and the European Commission. Research and development activity could also qualify your business for tax relief

Assessing public-private research collaboration: is it possible to compare university performance?1 Giovanni Abramoa,b,*, Ciriaco Andrea D’Angeloa and Marco Solazzia a Laboratory for Studies of Research and Technology Transfer School of Engineering, Dept of Management University of Rome “Tor Vergata” b National Research Council of Italy Abstract.

It is widely recognized that collaboration between the public and private research sectors should be stimulated and supported, as a means of favoring innovation and regional development. This work takes a bibliometric approach, based on co-authorship of scientific publications, to propose a model for comparative measurement of the performance of public research institutions in collaboration with the domestic industry collaboration with the private sector. The model relies on an identification and disambiguation algorithm developed by the authors to link each publication to its real authors. An example of application of the model is given, for the case of the academic system and private enterprises in Italy. The study demonstrates that for each scientific discipline and each national administrative region, it is possible to measure the performance of individual universities in both intra-regional and extra-regional collaboration, normalized with respect to advantages of location. Such results may be useful in informing regional policies and merit-based public funding of research organizations.