According to an R&D Magazine study forecasting research trends for 2014, collaborative research partnerships with academia today are among the most common form of partnerships in the world. This trend is expected to continue to increase over the coming years as federal funding remains in question and universities and industry partners continue to see the benefits from these arrangements. While there are many guides and references available which describe the nature of these partnerships, and offer guidance for structure, process, funding, and intellectual property, there are virtually no resources which highlight the specific considerations that actually enable and support people working together. Drawing on existing information on success factors for research partnerships, as well as interviews and tours with participants working in academic-industry collaborations, the objective of this report is to identify the unique design constraints inherent with these types of arrangements and provide a guide to creating optimal space for partnered research.
While the types of partnerships vary wildly, there are three basic categories which most research partnerships fall into: 1) direct academic-industry collaboration, where a private company contributes funding and resources to a University laboratory to conduct research designed to solve a specific problem; 2) University-based research consortia, which rely on multiple companies and institutions all contributing funding and resources to the development of research, with the results made available to all parties for further development and commercialization; and 3) university-based start-ups, where ideas created by faculty or students are incubated on campus into viable products
Just as there is no one-size-fits-all solution to creating the perfect research partnership, there is no single way to create an ideal setting for collaborative research. There are however, common themes which contribute to successful settings for research, which can be used as a guide for enabling research partnerships. By evaluating existing models of partnerships and discussing the critical success factors with their users, seven common principles emerge which all have a direct impact on physical space and how researchers interact to reach a common goal. The following pages will discuss these principles, as well as their importance in creating successful partnerships, and illustrate how they can be applied to the design of a research setting in order to foster stronger collaborative research.
1. Create a Strong Research Community
2. Enable Interdisciplinary Research
3. Encourage Interaction and Communication
4. Develop a Collaborative Structure
5. Create Dynamic Research Environments
6. Embrace Cultural Differences
7. Foster Trust