Need to bridge academia-industry gap

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Though universities and industry in the developed world have been collaborating for over a century, but the rise of a global knowledge economy has intensified the need for strategic partnerships that go beyond the traditional funding of discrete research projects. World-class research universities are at the forefront of pioneering such partnerships as they look beyond the horizon to run longer and invest more and prefer to transform the role of a research university marking it a vital centre of competence. The developed world is now reaping the huge benefits of this strong rather improved linkage between academia and industry, something which is critically missing in Pakistan. According to studies done on Pakistan, this industry-academia gap is a major obstacle in promoting the culture of research and development and subsequently the industry has to look towards the foreign research models or entrepreneurs in an attempt to meet the international business standards. It has been strongly observed that academics and industrialists have very sharp contrast in their approaches, visions, orientations and ultimate goals. The former is striving for recognition from his or her peers while the latter is striving to survive. One side prefers proven solutions with a low risk, whereas academia is interested in creating new solutions with a high innovation rate. Subsequently this approach hardly allows both the sides to sit together and devise a roadmap for research and development. Since the culture of RandD has not yet got promoted, universities normally do a poor job of supervising students who are on attachments with many unsupervised throughout their time in factories and companies. There are several dimensions to the process of building institutional capacity to respond to the knowledge and RandD demands of local firms. Arranging of open houses is considered the best practicable solution that provides students of different faculties with an opportunity not only to display their projects but also avail the chance to interact with experts from the industry and academia. All universities ought by now to establish an industrial relations department within their structures with a budget, so that the private sector is not looked upon to solely finance engagements between the two sides. Moreover, we must start teaching our students how to be entrepreneurs if we are to produce graduates we can proudly call our own. Universities also need to employ aggressive business model tactics for advancing science-based research such as procuring resources from corporate partners and fostering the flow of knowledge and talent between industry and academia.


Published in: Volume 05 Issue 27

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