Industry Academia Collaborations Add Value to Corporates and Universities
The Need for Industry Academia Collaborations
Industry and Academia cannot exist independently of each other. Just as the education system prepares students for their future careers, it also has to collaborate closely with industry to try to understand the needs of the industry so that they can prepare the students accordingly. If there is no collaboration between industry and academia, the students graduating from the colleges and universities will be unemployable as they lack the requisite skills that are needed to succeed in the competitive corporate world. Indeed, this is the reason why many employers feel that a majority of the graduates from colleges and universities in Asia cannot be employed because they are simply not skilled enough for the jobs in the corporate world. Further, research and development that takes place whenever industry and academia collaborate can lead to actualization of the needs that industry wants and which are fulfilled by the academic institutes. This is the reason why industry and academia must collaborate actively.
The Practice of Industry Academia Collaboration in the West
In the West and the United States in particular, there is a great deal of collaboration between industry and academia, which is a win-win situation for both. The corporates fund the universities and the research that they do and the universities in turn share the findings of the research that they do with the corporates. Often, it is the case that the stellar and innovative ideas emerge from campuses like MIT, Stanford, and Wharton where cutting edge research is done with close collaboration with industry. Indeed, the game changing idea behind Facebook has come mainly from the campus in which Mark Zuckerberg was studying as well as the recent innovations in robotics and artificial reality that have come about mainly due to close industry academia collaboration. One can go as far as to suggest that industry academia collaboration results in gains for both as the universities gain from the funding and the establishment of chairs whereas the corporates gain from access to the leading academic minds of the day, which is useful in spotting future trends and identifying game changing ideas. This is the reason why the west and the US in particular have been as good at innovation as they nurture and incubate talent right from the time they are in college and even schools.
Some Emerging Trends in Industry Academia Collaboration
The future of industry academia collaboration looks a bit shaky, as the ongoing economic crisis has severely dented the ability of the corporates to continue funding to the universities. Further, with so much of saturation in the market for new ideas because of the glut of innovators who want to beat the recession with true cost effective technological innovations, the corporates are increasingly finding it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Of course, this does not mean that industry academia collaboration is on the rocks. Far from that, the future might very well portend another level of partnership between the defence companies and the universities as the former need latest advances in technology and the latter needs funding to sustain themselves. The best-known example of such an effort is the creation of the internet, which started as a project by the Pentagon in collaboration with academia. The future of industry academia collaboration can also take the shape of part time moonlighting between the students and the corporate sector, which means that industry would be closely involved directly instead of through chairs and trusts that route the funding to the students.
There is a lot that universities in Asia (especially in China and India) can learn from the West as far as industry academia collaboration is concerned. It is high time for the universities and the industry in India and China to get together and work together so that these countries can become innovators and game changers in their own right.
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