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Fostering Strong Interactions Between Industry And Academia

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.205.1 - 2.205.5



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Paper Authors

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T.R. Kurfess

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M.L. Nagurka

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Sesssion 0575

Session 0575

Fostering Strong Interactions Between Industry and Academia

T.R. Kurfess, M.L. Nagurka Georgia Institute of Technology / Marquette University

ABSTRACT This paper highlights a number of key issues in the development and execution of joint university-industry engineering projects. Government funding reductions have lead to decreased support of university research and economic forces have driven corporations to reduce or elimi- nate internal R&D centers. These are two driving factors behind the renewed ties between universities and industries. In developing a plan for a joint research project and when working together towards its solution, both sides need to be cognizant of their respective roles to ensure a successful partnership.

INTRODUCTION Interactions between industry and academia continue to increase in frequency. This growth is a result of the requirements and abilities of both parties involved. Many universities currently suffer from cutbacks in government funding and are looking elsewhere for research support. Simultaneously, corporations have reduced their R&D staff in an epidemic of “down- sizing” due to (generally, short-sighted) economic reasons. Many of these corporations still have significant demands in research and development services that cannot be met by their reduced number of staff. This demand can be met by faculty members (and full-time researchers) at universities seeking to develop active research programs. However, researchers (and administra- tors) at universities must recognize that there are differences when working with industry, as agreements, expectations and time frames for corporations are substantially different than those for the government. Also, engineers (and managers) in industry must understand that universities are not corporate business units nor consulting firms. At a university, the primary objectives are creation and dissemination of knowledge. This paper discusses some issues in developing a strong cooperative research effort between industry and academia. The paper is divided into two major areas, preparation and implementation, each of which must be addressed if a joint venture is to succeed.

PREPARATION Before an agreement can be reached and a project initiated, some background work must be accomplished. Preparation is critical in developing a successful working relationship with any individual or group. In this section three critical tasks are presented that foster the development of a strong foundation from which interactive research may be conducted. It is important to note the symbiotic nature of the relationship, i.e., both sides (academia and industry) are necessary for success and both should have significant input in all phases of the project. One commonly accepted view is to assume that industry will provide the funds and a technical problem, and that the university will generate the solution (e.g., in terms of a report). Such a philosophy is not optimal, since there is much to be learned from both sides during the problem formulation as

Kurfess, T., & Nagurka, M. (1997, June), Fostering Strong Interactions Between Industry And Academia Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6577

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 1997 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015