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Choosing the right business collaboration for you

In the second of two articles on collaboration, David Gauntlett, a media and communications professor at the University of Westminster, considers how to work with businesses and organisations in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

My previous article was about fruitful ways of working with other researchers, primarily in an academic context. Although that kind of collaboration doesn’t come naturally to everyone, many academics are more comfortable with it than they are with the idea of working with businesses. After all, university-based researchers are likely to have some natural affinity with other academics, and be aware of the typical pressures they are under and expectations of them.

One professor I know was asked by a company to present a proposal for a "deep and broad" analysis of a creative industry and its potential futures, and sent along a schedule for a suitably rich 2-year research project. Only at that point did the company mention that they had anticipated that the project should take what they considered to be an unusually long period of 6 weeks.

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