Characteristics of Effective University-Industry Research Relationships Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Robertson, Tausha D.
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management
  • The landscape of interactions between private industry and academia was changed by the passage of the Bayh-Dole act in 1980. This legislation allowed research institutions to retain the rights to discoveries made through federally funded research. The newfound ability to capitalize on scientific discoveries through patents and licensing created a new revenue source for universities. In addition, the preamble to the Act lists the promotion of collaboration between commercial concerns and nonprofit organizations as an objective. In recent years, researchers have also faced the reality that public funds for research are decreasing, further contributing to an increased reliance on corporate funding for research. Overall, corporate giving to universities grew from $850-million in 1985 to $4.25-billion a decade later. As industry support increases some argue that the risk to academic integrity may increase as well. In response to this concern, a myriad of documents have published documenting failures of industry - academic research relationships, warning of potential conflicts of interests and the threats to academic integrity. However, few have translated their growing discomfort into a forceful call for the changes needed to safeguard the autonomy and integrity of universities. Since the interaction between industry and universities will continue, it is iv important to identify ways to help them work together in the most effective manner while protecting the integrity of the research. The goal of this study was to develop guidelines to inform future academic-industry research relationships. The study's aims included: (1) identifying the characteristics of effective partnerships from the literature, (2) determining whether the characteristics of university-industry research relationships were similar to the characteristics identified in the literature, (3) assessing the degree to which these characteristics impacted perceived effectiveness of the university-industry research relationship. This study utilized mixed research methods approach -literature review, interviews, subject self rating using effectiveness scale, and expert panel review. The literature review identified the characteristics of effective partnerships from various disciplines. Semistructured interviews were conducted with principal investigators at major universities who received industry funding for research and industry representatives of companies that provided funding for university research. Subjects also self-rated the perceived effectiveness of their research relationship. The findings from the literature and the interviews were combined to develop guidelines that were reviewed by an expert panel. This research found that successful academic-industry research relationships possessed the characteristics of effective partnerships found in the literature. The research also identified specific processes that should be in place to ensure the success of the relationship and the maintenance of academic integrity. The recommended guidelines include suggestion that will assist future academic-industry research relationships in replicating the characteristics from the literature and incorporating the specific processes identified as important for relationship success.
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  • In Copyright
  • Brooks, Edward F.
  • Open access

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