Facing up to the risks in commercially focused university-industry R&D partnerships
The number of university-industry R&D partnerships (UIPs) has increased significantly over the past decade, in most OECD countries and in Australia, yet the study of risk in such commercially focused collaborative ventures is still a developing area. This review paper seeks to contribute to debate on this increasingly important phenomenon by addressing three key areas of risks for universities in entering such collaborations. The commercialization of research findings presents particular risks to universities, most notably the possibility of financial loss, which has a greater impact than for companies in cross-sector collaborations. Another major type of risk faced by universities is relational risk, and this can significantly alter the trust dynamics that underpin research and innovation. There are also institutional risks to universities and their research staff engaged in commercializable R&D and, ultimately, to their reputation as a neutral source of expertise. It is argued there is a need for universities in Australia to develop comprehensive policies to manage the risks of commercialization and R&D collaboration with industry partners.
Higher Education Research & Development