Friends in the business: what characterises companies that partner with universitie

Australian businesses that work with universities are happy with the experience

A newsurvey of Australian business finds that 99 per cent of firms that cooperate with universities intend to either maintain or increase their involvement. However surveyed companies that do not work with universities assume they would not benefit from doing so.

The survey, report by Carolin Plewa (University of Adelaide), Todd Davey, Arno Meerman and Victoria Galán-Muros and published by the University of Adelaide and German partners finds; “businesses cooperating with universities have higher perceptions regarding their UBC capabilities, compared to businesses who do not cooperate.”

However, the gaps between the two groups are much the same on a range of factors which shape a willingness to collaborate, notably, university and business motivations, businesses perceptions of university awareness of opportunities, and lack of public funding for cooperation.

What is interesting is that some of the larger gaps between businesses that do/don’t cooperate with higher education institutions reveal more about the nature and aspirations of the firms surveyed than the reasons for university links, or their lack.

Firms that do not cooperate say they don’t have the money, don’t know who to talk to and have “limited absorbitive capacity.” In fact, what distinguishes firms that work with universities from those that don’t can come down to mind-set. “Businesses cooperating with universities also engage in broader cooperation efforts. Indeed, more than 70 per cent of businesses that cooperate with universities in relation to research and development or education and training also cooperate with other businesses in the same activity.