Collaboration between the university and the industry
- strategies for a Win-Win concept
Håkan Schroeder
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SWEDEN
[email protected]
Collaboration between university, industry
and society is being increasingly emphasised
In order for universities to secure access to economic
resources for research, increasingly strict demands will
be placed on the benefit of this research for commercial
or other societal development in the short and long term.
The universities need to develop the capability of using
the research knowledge for new products or services.
three target areas for collaboration between
the university and industry or the society
Collaboration for:
• knowledge development and growth, i.e. university
participation in the knowledge and innovation system.
• better education, i.e. dialogue between universities and
the surrounding society on the content and scope of
degree courses and external contacts by students during
their education.
• democratic development, i.e. the work of universities on
communicating research for public education.
Examples of collaborations tools from SLU
Two examples of collaborations a the Faculty of
Landscape, Horticulture & Agriculture (LTJ) at SLU
• ‘Partnership Alnarp’ (
• ‘expansion in Horticulture’ (
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Partnership Alnarp
academic and
commercial life
Partnership Alnarp – facts
• Partnership Alnarp (PA), which was started in autumn
2004, is a collaborative organisation between SLU and
commercial businesses, authorties and organisations in
the Southern Sweden region
• About 80 members (companies and organisations)
• By the beginning of 2010, 431 projects had been
approved since PA started in 2004. 20-25 per year have
been workshops and conferences with about 2000
• total turnover for the projects has amounted to around
SEK 100 million since the start, with SLU contributing
approx. SEK 5 million per year. In addition to this
funding, SLU bears the costs of coordination and
administration (SEK 1.8 million in 2011).
• The subject groups normally have an external
Partnership Alnarp - goals
PA has the following area and action goals:
• To contribute to the long-term sustainability of a landbased industry with its foundations in the production of
food, raw materials for industry, bioenergy and
ornamental plants.
• To contribute to high quality research and education
within the green sector.
• To develop enduring and effective contact interfaces
between participating businesses, universities and
• To increase insights among other actors and the public at
large regarding the significance and development and
innovation potential of land-based industries.
• To develop international partnerships.
Partnership Alnarp - indicators for goal
Examples of indicators for goal fulfilment are that:
• Partner businesses and organisations are developed through a
change in behaviour that can lead to increased costeffectiveness and/or value added to goods or services provided.
• Research and education at SLU is of high quality.
• Research results are applied in practice.
• Students are attractive on the employment market.
• The level of competence within the sector is high.
Bengt Persson,
The only hope for the future is
through knowledge - new
knowledge or better use of
existing knowledge
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Henrik Stridh, adviser:
Five years ago, scientists
in Alnarp were involved
with what they thought
was fun, usually
something that were of
little benefit to us.
With Partnership Alnarp, it
has become a big
difference. Now the
researchers are solving
the problems we face
within the horticulture
industry and are keeping
in regular contact with us..
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Anders Borgqvist, chairman
Södra Sveriges Frö- och
Partnership Alnarp is one
of the stars of SLU. It is a
very successful partnership
that we fully intend to
continue and expand
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Partnership Alnarp - activities
• Research projects in collaboration between SLU and
• Meetings (conferences, seminars, workshops)
• Student activities (mentoring, degree project)
Evaluation questionnaire to members
Question: How did the company first became aware of the existence of
Partnership Alnarp?
Answer: Contact with a named person
Conclusion: If you want to start coop with business: employ well known people
with huge network in the business!
Q: Why member?
A: Knowledge and networking
C: Offer knowledge and networking
Q: Main obstacles?
A: Lack of time and geographic distance
C: Time?, build local networks
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Interviews with academics and students
Project leaders:
The contact with industry is stimulating and fruitful
Partnership Alnarp is viewed as a lubricant in the contact between research
and the surrounding environment
It makes the university known
Many projects would never have come into existence without Partnership
Tendency toward relatively small projects
Seminar organisers:
• Very satisfied with the collaboration with Partnership Alnarp
• Would like to see more members participating
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Heads of department:
All appreciated the closeness to the surrounding environment and the
Some, especially those with more basic research, were unsure about
whether the funds available are being used most efficiently in this way
Transparency very important
The overall view was favourable
• The aspect they appreciated most was acquiring insights into industry and
making contacts there
• It’s good for academic staff to come into contact with industry
• Students can receive help, financial and networking, with their degree
projects and theses through Partnership Alnarp and this is very valuable
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Partnership Alnarp a “success story”, a generator of
growth and a brand creator for SLU, Alnarp
Networking, closeness and personal relations crucial
Attention to the role of science: firms and organisations
usually favour short term problem-solving applied
research, while scientists wish for long-term research
The trend is toward more collaboration between
research/education and industry
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Challenges in enhancing the utilisation of
research results
• The universities must continue to develop enduring
networks and relationship that are based on mutual trust
between the parties.
• Leaders within academia must highlight the importance
of collaboration with industry and society.
• Documentation of measurable deliverables as a part of
the academic qualification systems
• A specific challenge in supporting innovation activities
will be to identify forms for the commercialisation of
research innovations if the researchers themselves do not
want to bring the idea on to commercial level.
• Supporting systems must be developed for resourceefficient utilisation of results, so that researchers can
continue to focus on their research activities.
Collaboration benefits for the academy
University research and education can benefit from close
collaboration with knowledge users in several ways.
• External funding places demands for up-to-date and
relevant research topics. Through close collaboration
these research topics can be expanded.
• University degree courses are exposed to competition
through the increased mobility of students. Courses
involving prospective employers are attractive since they
improve the opportunities to get a job after graduation.
• A well developed network and effective dialogue with
actors within the industry and other sectors of society
contributes to the external analysis that universities must
prioritise in order to keep pace with a changing world
with new challenges