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University-Industry Collaboration

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December 13, 2023

Why in news?

Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) approved the draft guidelines on ‘Sustainable and Vibrant University-Industry (UI) Linkage System for Indian Universities’.

What are the benefits of proposed UI linkage?

  • Address the local issues - Universities and industries can collaborate at State and central level to address the technological needs of that region.
  • Benefit students – It will offer industry exposure and make students globally competent and improve their employability.
  • Single window opportunity - One industry can cater to many universities through the IRC, and one university to address the needs of many universities through the URC.
  • Improves business productivityThrough URC, MSMEs can benefit from faculty knowledge and student skills to improve the overall productivity of their businesses.
  • Advances research and innovationIRC can help universities obtaining funding for R&D besides offering students opportunities to interact with industry practitioners.

university-industry

What are the hurdles in collaborating?

  • Different goals – Higher education institutions (HEIs) are service motive that predominantly seek to educate students while industries are profit-driven.
  • Different focus - HEIs focus on creating theoretical knowledge and conducting research while industries pursue practical applications of knowledge to enhance productivity and innovation.
  • Funding basis – Unlike HEIs, an industrial company might be sceptical about funding a research project if it believes that the outcomes do not translate into prompt saleable applications.
  • Cultural differences - HEI needs more academic rigour and theoretical profoundness while the company will focus more on practical outcomes.
  • Lack of recognition – Industry recognizes the product development which is mostly a team effort but academia recognises only the individual effort based on number of publications the individual has.

What is the way forward?

  • Evolve shared goals - The two parties must engage in an open dialogue, develop a flexible attitude, and find common ground where theoretical knowledge and practical applications can coexist.
  • Bridge the cultural gap - HEI researchers could refine their findings into practical recommendations that the industrial partner can implement, while the industrial partner could provide more context to the data.
  • Establish communication – Indian HEIs must establish good communication channels with the industry to work out a mutually agreeable IP arrangement and non-disclosure agreements.
  • Facility oriented collaboration - Universities with minimal research facilities can focus on short-term collaborations with local companies that lack technical expertise.
  • Universities with good research facilities can focus on long-term research collaborations with industry that aim to develop cutting-edge technologies.

 

References

  1. Times of India| UGC guidelines for Sustainable UI Linkage
  2. The Hindu| Hurdles in UI Linkage
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