Patently clear

Posted on 4 Jun 2010 by The Manufacturer

Three universities have pooled their talents to create a new performance measurement system to assess knowledge collaborations between businesses and academic institutions.

Research shows UK industry, commerce and public corporations invested £233m in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the academic year 2005/06 for business-led R&D and knowledge shares. Much of this is complemented by public sector or foundation grants. However, aside from counting patents or profits made from actual produce of the projects, effectively measuring how projects are faring is varied and much unchartered science.

Hence, this system, produced by the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and Loughborough University and built around the notion of complementing subjective measures of success with objective ones – allows projects to be evaluated while they are on-going in order to allow improvements to be introduced and obstacles to be removed. It works through a series of ‘success maps’ such as this:

Academics from each university involved have co-authored a report entitled How Should Firms Evaluate Success in University-Industry Alliances? A Performance Measurement System. In it they present the rationale of the project and the methodology of the tool.

‘While firms increasingly engage in formal alliances with universities, there is a lack of tools to assess the outcomes of such collaborations,’ says the report. “We propose a performance measurement system for university-industry alliances. We derive a success map from existing research on university-industry relations, indicating the causal relationships underpinning successful alliances. The success map distinguishes between different process stages, including inputs, in-process activities, outputs and impacts. We discuss specific measures for each of these stages, and how they should be deployed.

“The resulting framework includes both prospective and retrospective measures and subjective and objective measures. It provides R&D managers with a tool for assessing university-industry alliances that is prospective, reliable and multidimensional.”

Download this report to find out more about the system and how it works.