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Report from 5th EUIMA-Collaborative Research Workshop, The Moller Centre, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, UK (5-6 December 2011)

14 December 2011

This fifth workshop of the EUIMA-Collaborative Research project was the last of the workshop series examining collaborative research initiatives at the national and regional level through case studies with some European comparative perspectives.

The workshop was opened by Prof. Lynn Gladden, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Cambridge who emphasised the key importance of building trust in establishing successful university-industry collaboration through individual research contacts working through to the development of long-term partnerships and commitments based on identifying mutual interests and benefits. She noted that the focus of the EUIMA project addressed the important issue of developing indicators that would measure the success of the 'open innovation' environment of university-industry/business collaborative research. The opening session also provided an overview of the national policy context for the further development of collaborative research with viewpoints from Dr David Sweeney, Director of Research, Innovation and Skills, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and from Prof. Geoffrey Crossick, Vice-Chancellor of University of London, who addressed the challenges for collaborative research in the fields of the Arts and Humanities.

Workshop sessions offered a full range of research collaborations involving key actors from industry, vice-presidents of large companies and CEOs from SMEs. Research collaborations were presented in a ‘double-act university-company’ format, that is, by an academic partner and his/her counterpart in the industry sector. Collaborations between the University of Cambridge, BP and Rolls-Royce respectively were discussed and, for comparative perspectives, research collaboration from other European countries – in Norway, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU, Trondheim) collaboration with the company, DNV Research and Innovation, and in Belgium, KU Leuven collaboration with an SME, Metalogic.

The Cambridge workshop also paid specific attention to the nature and development of collaborative research in the fields of the social sciences, arts and humanities with ‘double act’ presentations from University College London (UCL) and an SME collaborator, SHM productions Ltd, and from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) with their collaborative partner, Accenture (Spain).

Focussing issues for the sessions were identifying the processes of the development of the collaboration, the role of the local and regional environment and key actors, the 'drivers' and 'barriers' encouraging and inhibiting effective collaboration, the incentive mechanisms for fostering research collaboration, and the measurement of the benefits arising from collaborations.

To view the workshop programme and presentations, click here.

Photo from left to right: Prof. Geoffrey Crossick, Dr David Sweeney, Dr Lidia Borrell-Damian, Prof. Lynn Gladden, Dr John Smith

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