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Can Industry-University Collaborations Converge? a Historical Perspective on Driving Forces

Mukund Karanjikar, Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, 3901 Briarpark, Houston, TX 77042, Sanjeev Saraf, ioMosaic Corporation, 2650 Fountain View Drive, #410, Houston, TX 77057, Prashant Mandare, Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, and Vishwas G. Pangarkar, University Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India.

Industrial research started in France in 1790s as the young government was protecting itself against the domination of rest of Europe. The success of Robert Bunsen, William Perkin, Lord Kelvin, Leo Baekeland, John Dunlop, Samuel Morse, and Alexander Graham Bell was attributed to intuition, commercial acumen and systematic approach to problems of societal importance. World War I and II forced accelerated development within aircraft, materials, arms, ammunitions and electronics industries.

Industrial research today remains largely purpose-driven fueled by specific driving forces including but not limited to market needs, competitive advantages or stock returns. University research, to a large extent, is a result of human mind's quest of exploration, intellectual satisfaction and need for higher education. Thus university and industrial research generally have different objectives. In recent past there have been several attempts to bridge University and industrial research. The passage of the Bayh-Dole act promoting university-based technology transfer has adversely affected the status of university research. An increasing need for intellectual property led industry to attempt basic research. In order to effectively manage research projects, both industry and academia should recognize their driving forces, basic strengths and ultimate objectives thereby increasing efficiency of research projects.