Report Reveals Gap Is High Between Current Advancement And Future Priorities In UBC

The report entitled “Future of University-Business Cooperation: Research, Policy, Practice” released last week suggested ‘more work needs to be done’ to reach the desired advancement in the policy, practice, and research priorities identified by a diverse group of European and Australian UBC stakeholders.

The multi-method study presented in the report aimed to investigate future directions for UBC, drawing from over 1000 responses by groups of HEI managers, academics, technology transfer professionals and businesses based in Europe and Australia. Executed in two steps (i) identification of priorities and (ii) assessment of future importance vs. current performance in UBC, the study has generated a line of insights for the stakeholders looking towards the future of UBC.

The two-steps process

The qualitative first phase of the study included a survey with three open-ended questions inquiring the priorities of the stakeholders for the future of the UBC. The nature of the questions allowed participants of all groups to make their voices heard, particularly of the practitioner experts, who represented 43% of all participants. The analysis of the data led to the identification of 80 priorities across seven broad categories of priorities for the future advancement of the UBC.


The second phase of the study surveyed HEIs and businesses in 33 European countries, asking the participants to rate these 80 priorities based on their (i) importance for the future, and (ii) current advancement. The findings show that of all future priorities ranked, current advancement lags behind. Specifically, the largest gap between importance and advancement was found in the area of UBC research in regards to priorities “Investigating UBC across different industry sectors and cultural contexts”, “Understanding the impact of UBC on research”, and “Developing innovative business/partnership models for HEI engagement with SME”. The findings also indicate that while the discrepancy is high between the importance and advancement, perceptions across priorities show strong similarities between the two respondent groups.

With its large geographical coverage and substantial amount of participants from diverse groups, the study provides us with a good snapshot of how UBC experts perceive the future of the UBC in the context of Europe and Australia. While the priorities of the stakeholders differ within the triangle of policy, practice, and research, this might also help identify areas for new opportunities to emerge. The findings revealed in the report are therefore expected to start conversations not only within, but also between the groups of stakeholders who have the potential to shape the future of the UBC together.


Meet the authors

A/Prof Carolin Plewa
Dr Carolin Plewa is an Associate Professor in Marketing at The University of Adelaide Business School. She specialises in interaction and value co-creation across organisations and individuals, with a particular passion for university-business collaboration. Her research and managerial expertise in this area was recently recognised in her appointment to the South Australian Science Council and the Scientific Board of the University Industry Innovation Network. Dr Plewa has won a number of competitive research grants, with her research published in internationally recognized journals, such as R&D Management, Higher Education, the Journal of Business Ethics, European Journal of Marketing and others.

Professor Todd Davey
Prof. Dr. Todd Davey is a passionate researcher, practitioner, speaker and recognised expert on the topics of Entrepreneurship and University-Business Cooperation (UBC) as well as being author of the book ‘Entrepreneurship at Universities’. Formerly a Senior Manager with Deloitte Australia’s Technology Commercialisation Group and Strategy & Business Development Manager for one of Australia’s fastest growing start-ups, Todd has ‘switched sides’ to work within academia. Having just completed his PhD on entrepreneurship at universities at the VU Amsterdam, Todd also divides his time between his roles as Director of Strategy with the University-Industry Innovation Network, worldwide network focussed on the topic of university-industry interaction, and Managing Director at the innovation spin-out apprimo.

Balzhan Orazbayeva
Affiliated with the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre (S2BMRC) at Münster University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) in Germany, Balzhan Orazbayeva researches university-business collaboration and knowledge transfer processes. She is a researcher in the consulting project for the European Commission (DG Education and Culture), implementing the largest European study in the area of university-business collaboration. She is the capacity building designer and researcher for the Erasmus Plus project, aiming to establish a long lasting Knowledge Alliance between academy and industry and to produce an educational toolkit for trainers to raise strategic e-Leadership skills. Balzhan also coordinates industry projects executed by students as part of International Marketing and Strategic Marketing modules at MUAS. Her research interests include university-industry relationships, higher education, knowledge management and transfer, cross-cultural communication and intercultural competence. Balzhan is a doctoral candidate and focuses in her PhD on higher education in the context of university-business collaboration. She holds a Bachelor degree on International Relations in a field of political and social sciences from German-Kazakh University (DKU) in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In addition, she holds a Master degree on Integrative Project Management from International Institute (IHI) Zittau, a central academic unit of Dresden University of Technology (TUD) in Germany.

Dr. Victoria Galan Muros
Dr. Victoria Galán-Muros is an active professional with a broad international expertise in university-business cooperation, higher education management and innovation from different perspectives. As a senior consultant, currently associated at Technopolis Group UK, has worked with universities and governments in 14 countries along with the European Commission. She is the scientific and policy manager of the two largest studies of university-business cooperation in Europe, for the European Commission (DG Education and Culture). Victoria has delivered professional workshops in 15 countries, co-authored 18 public reports and participated in 12 government funded projects.