If you have a research idea which has the potential to be of interest to a business partner, you may wish to explore opportunities for research-business-collaboration. By embarking on a collaborative project with a business partner, you can explore new pathways for generating impact. Applying your research expertise to business challenges or sharing your research insights with stakeholders within the private sector can provide you with valuable opportunities to gain new insights and experiences, expand your network and develop transferrable skills.
While business-research-collaboration can yield fruitful outcomes, businesses and researchers often operate with different interests, priorities, time pressures and stakes. Consequently, any research-business collaboration or partnership needs to be carefully negotiated to prevent conflicts of interests which can jeopardize the research process.
If you are interested in engaging with business through your research, make sure you have paid careful consideration to the following key issues:
- What makes an organisation a suitable partner for research-business collaboration and how do you identify a suitable partner for your project?
- Are business and research interests well balanced in the design of your research project? Is the collaboration mutually beneficial? Is there any risk that it might jeopardise the integrity of your research?
- Have you signed a collaboration agreement with the partner organisation which regulates each party’s roles and responsibilities, intellectual property rights, researcher’s compensation, as well as the use and distribution of research outcomes?
- If you have been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, have you considered the consequences for your research project and future research career?
- Do you have a contact or supervisor within the partner organisation who can facilitate access to the data, contacts or resources that you need for your research project?
- Have you arranged a work plan with the partner organisation which allows you and your partner to manage your activities, outputs and progress?
- Do you have a Plan B in case the collaboration doesn’t work out as planned?