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University-Industry Engagement Week

University-Industry Engagement Week provides a weekly round-up of current news and information in the world of industry engagement, delivered to your inbox every week (sign up here). It is published by University-Industry Engagement Advisor newsletter, which is available as a monthly subscription. For more information or to subscribe click here.

To attract corporate partners, universities need to speak the language of business

A detailed article on communicating more effectively with industry, including a sample capabilities statement and engagement website layout, appears in the November issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For subscription information, click here.

Universities across the nation have a problem telling corporate America about their faculty resources, their institutional capabilities, and their overall capacity to enter into industry partnerships. While many universities have cracked the code, many others are stuck in neutral when it comes to reaching out beyond campus for something other than philanthropic donations.

There are many reasons for this: The way universities are structured — decentralized among colleges and departments — just doesn’t lend itself to comprehensive corporate engagement; a mindset that doesn’t view research as a marketable product; marketing departments focused, and understandably so, on students and parents, not companies; and a general reluctance, or inability, to craft a message that the private sector wants and needs to hear.

UIDP and its consulting subsidiary UI Collab, organizations devoted to supporting university-industry collaboration, succinctly sum up the problem in their quick guide, “Communicating University Research Strengths to Industry Partners.”

“A university’s success in communicating research strengths comes down to its ability to reach the intended audience. All too often, universities direct industry representatives to dense websites and print materials written for faculty or students. This causes corporate partners to get frustrated, thus increasing the time it takes to form a collaboration. At worst, universities can lose strategic opportunities without even engaging in a conversation with a prospective corporate partner.”

For universities caught in this cycle, the quick guide proposes a solution that can move the communication needle — create a one-page Capabilities Statement, a clean and precise document that can easily be shared and that conveys a clear message: We want to collaborate with you on XYZ and here’s what we have to offer in terms of faculty, facilities, existing centers/institutes, business-facing programs, and contracting approaches that make our university an attractive partner.

In tandem with a capabilities statement, the quick guide also recommends creating an uncluttered landing page, something prospective industry partners can visit without having to click through the many pulldown menus that encumber university websites.

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Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week