Michael D. Moberly July 1, 2008
The goal is to respectfully and efficiently move ideas and research into commerce!
A substantial and growing percentage of the value of research and its potential for literally adding value to a collaborative (R&D) partnership, and become a (future) source of revenue and wealth creation, lie not only in the production of IP, but also, the (proprietary) know how and competitive advantages and other intangible assets that inevitably evolve from collaboration.
Research and innovation outcomes however, can become valueless if the realities necessary for sustaining control, use, ownership, and value are overlooked, dismissed, or considered un-convergable with the tradition rich principles for conducting research in university environments.
Perhaps a potentially larger reality of corporate – university research collaborations is that little or no value will be achieved by supporting, sponsoring, or investing in research that’s already been substantially compromised, it’s value diluted, it’s competitive advantages undermined, or it’s IP infringed, misappropriated, counterfeited, or pirated.
A collaborative research relationship should begin with a clear and respectful consensus about what constitutes effective stewardship, oversight, and management of the research project throughout its functional – value life cycle and the knowledge-based assets that will ultimately be produced. This should include respectfully frank and fact-based discussions about the realities of conducting research in today’s hyper-competitive, aggressive, predatorial, and winner-take-all global R&D envionment.
The goal should be to have well defined measures in place to protect, preserve, and monitor the assets’ value, risks, sustainability, and defensibility (that reach beyond conventional IP protections) throughout the collaborative (contractual) relationship and thus hand-off (transfer) more secure, valuable and defensible IP.
Successful corporate-university research collaborations should also include respectful consensus for the measures necessary to mitigate preludes to known risks, challenges, and disputes that can adversely affect the collaboration, e.g., stifle project momentum and/or prompt hemorrhaging of the innovations’ value and competitive advantages.
In the final analysis, the success, effectiveness, and potential profitability of corporate-university research collaborations may have less to do with traditions, customs, past practices, and cultures and more to do with:
1. ensuring efficiencies and responsiveness in the overall administration (stewardship, oversight, management) of the collaborative experience, and
2. sustaining control, use, and ownership of the innovation by protecting, preserving, and monitoring its value and the IP and intangibles being produced.