Industry academia linkages, challenges & opportunities

Industry academia linkages, For an efficient national innovation system, the collaboration of industrial and education sector is increasingly becoming more crucial.

Industry-academia-linkages,

Industry academia linkages, There are several benefits associated with examining the university-industry collaboration in developed countries as it enables to shed light on the motivations, barriers of cooperation and influence of public policy in developing such linkages. However, in developing countries, there are several challenges associated with such alliances and stress on the differential approach to foster industry-academia linkages.

Industrial-academia linkage (IAL) is a crucial mediator and modulator of skill development, adoption of knowledge and promotion of entrepreneurship. It also aids in the strengthening R&D investment via exploiting the synergies and complementarities present in scientific and technological capabilities. This, in turn, nurtures commercialisation and mobility of labour in both the public and private sectors.

A well-documented benefit of IAL was seen in Chile and Colombia where it increased the production and patents through universities sustainability and industrial vision. The IAL could be of different types based on the scope, objective and institutional arrangements. Depending upon the type IAL could be more focused on training and research activities and might be formal, which is more prone towards equal partnerships, research-based projects, patent licensing, capital mobility, publications and interactives.

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The IAL could either be long-term or short-term. The long-term collaboration is characterised by the inclusion of joint project, development of mutual research centres and provision of the core set of services in which terms are goal-oriented and flexible while the short-term collaborations are need-based and involve contract research and consulting. The long-term IAL provides a broader platform for both university and collaborating industry to use capabilities, methods and tools developed at university.

 It is also open-ended for the development of strong innovative capacities. Collaborations between industry and academia provide open innovation strategies, vast access, integration of knowledge and achievement of the solution towards various problems that can trigger economic growth and development. Mergers of academia with industries has given rise to the mutual benefits as it provides opportunities for academia to train as per the industry requirements and speed up the creation of spin-off entities and licensing of patents.

 It has given equal opportunities to all teaching, research and entrepreneurial universities to raise their standards in R&D, commercialization and generation of Spin-offs. The progress of a developing nation is tightly regulated by the IAL. For sustainable national progress, it is deemed necessary to identify the areas of collaboration between the academia and industry as this model has extensively been used by the developed nations.

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The industry is the main indicator of the growth of a nation. Higher education institutes are instrumental in the economic growth of a nation and must serve according to requirements of the current marketing trends. This will boost the growth and development of the industry as suggested by the scholars of various disciplines. It has also been stressed out that a nation’s social, cultural, economic growth is related to well-coordinated, well developed and regulated IAL.

IAL situation in Pakistan is still discouraging. All the elements that lead to the successful development of IAL are running in different directions. There are little or almost no collaborations between universities and industries. Lack of interest of the universities to produce collaborations and no serious attempts by the industries to join hands with universities is the major stumbling block.

In addition to this, the effort of the government has also been reluctant to generate any meaningful practical interest. Lately, the apex education governing body of Pakistan HEC (Higher Education Commission) has begun to reduce the gap between industry and academia but this late surge has yielded poor results.

 Local economy development works hand in hand with IAL. IAL facilitates recruitment of students, retention and workforce development. The commercialisation of innovation, development of projects, collaborative research, industry-specific consultancy and projects all come under the broader umbrella of IAL. This level of IAL facilitates the exchange of ideas between educationists and high executives. The professor goes to the industry to understand their demands and higher executives visit the university to share their experiences.

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This generates a high level of linkages which helps in promoting satisfaction for both parties. The industrial lack of manpower for research is fulfilled by the academics and need of funds for university is supported by the industries. This linkage promotes economic growth. The dismal situation of the research in Pakistan is a product of inefficient IAL as the majority of the universities lack the necessary funding to carry out the required research and thus has resulted in the declined economy over the years.

Strong IAL guarantees the development of an efficient innovation system. It ensures that all the research and development are goal-oriented and are as per the requirement of the industry and targeted market. Society is also benefitted by the strong IAL as the latter provides opportunities for fresh graduates and competitiveness. Together, these components ensure economic growth.

This news was originally published at dailytimes.com.pk

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