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University-business collaboration should be a two-way street

Giving more freedom for academics and taking a more flexible approach to intellectual property would help universities tap into businesses’ keenness to collaborate, says Muthu de Silva.

We are on the verge of a change in how businesses and universities engage with each other. Businesses are moving away from seeking a one-way transfer of knowledge from universities; they would much rather work closely with the institutions to generate products and knowledge together.

Many businesses, however, struggle to do so. For our report Collaborate to Innovate, we at the Big Innovation Centre surveyed more than 200 businesses. Over 60 per cent said they had successfully accessed the talent and ideas at a university, but only 40 per cent had successfully worked with a university to cocreate or co-innovate.

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