Tech Transfer Central

What is Industry Engagement?

In the context of universities, industry engagement involves a variety of arenas and efforts to bring corporations and the world of academia together for mutual benefit. Engagement can be small – a single project or initiative – or can involve what is known as “strategic engagement,” in which the university and a corporate partner work together on a continuum of projects and activities: student recruitment, sponsored research, curriculum development, clinical trials, philanthropy, workforce training, and more.

Increasingly, universities are creating separate industry engagement or corporate partnership offices devoted to developing these relationships. These offices are looking to recruit new companies to become involved in campus activities, such as in sponsored research or student internships, and build on those relationships by viewing them in a holistic way, across that entire “strategic” continuum.

The results of these partnerships can be profound for the universities that nurture them, not only in terms of research funding and philanthropy, but in terms of overall impact on their regions in areas such as economic development, jobs, and skills development. For the companies involved the benefits can also be significant — in access to new innovations, new talent for their workforces, and more skilled workers in high priority fields such as engineering, computer science, and many others.

The best university-industry partnerships are truly win-win, are long-term, and bring with them critical funding for research and economic development, but also highly skilled graduates, better job opportunities, new innovations with a positive impact on society, and an integration of effort that yields stronger communities, better employees, healthier companies, and universities that better support their faculty and better prepare their students for bright futures.


For a weekly round-up of industry-engagement news, click here to visit the University-Industry Engagement Week archive.

Click here to learn more about University-Industry Engagement Advisor, the only how-to newsletter devoted to helping universities expand holistic industry engagement efforts and attract more corporate partnerships.