domingo, 14 de diciembre de 2008

Tandem University-Enterprise (I)

Even in times of crisis is talk of the binomial University-Enterprise ... last Aug. 29 in El Pais published an article that read: "The government will encourage private investment in the campus' ... "barely 4% of the university funding comes from the company ... very enlightening huh?

The article is very interesting because it reflects what we all already know so simplistic "The company generally does not go to the University as an asset in which to invest," and now comes the thousand dollar question: why? or ... What is lacking at the University to make it an interesting target for private investors? What he needs to private investors to understand that the University is a source of invaluable knowledge and therefore requires investment to grow?

On the one hand, an incentive to companies through improved fiscal and otherwise, it seems, encourage in any way, the hiring of researchers. The two things I think are good measures that will facilitate the process but there is a background that seems that nobody wants to touch it, we all look sidelong: why marriage to the university-industry lacks chemistry? (Of course, I'm going to skip the added problem of the transfer of responsibilities to the communities that much more difficult this relationship and I am going to focus solely on the tandem that should be both).

And reading the article, which for many thoughts, I mention some interesting phrases:
- "It's always reticent who feared a university in the service of the company" ... always the same fear ... and the University really should be at the service of society ... and the company is a vehicle.

- "It would be a mistake to investigate just what the market requires" (words of the chairman of the rectors, Angel Gabilondo) ... Of course, we should raise it with nuance: "We have to investigate essentially what the market requires" ... But not only that, basic research is essential to develop the applied.

- "[...] It would be a mistake to put funding into the system if there is no reflection upon and a roadmap for achieving excellence. Just as clear objectives [...]" (Cristina Garmendia, Minister of Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation) . With this statement reinforces the need for mechanisms of control and project management that is capable of justifying each euro invested in a project looking for, yes, what is its direct profitability (for results of this specific project) or induced (by Results of other projects that have been based on what developed in the latter).

On the one hand it is clear that basic research can not disappear, however applied is vital for society therefore, as the article suggests, is also a good measure of the fact that it is the government who invest in basic research and companies who do so in private. That is, I believe that society-investing with their taxes in the training of skilled hands of the University-less see embodied the hopes that investment in improvements to our quality of life (in all fields of knowledge). The companies, in this sense, are perhaps waiting for something more demanding short-term results to justify their investments. and are capable of resolving their problems, achieve a high level of productivity and competitiveness ... This is also logical.

In this sense, is still a long way to go to get that on the one hand the university is an efficient manager of private and public investment and be able to justify, through indicators or efficient control panels, each euro cent invested on the part of both public institutions (including European funds) and from business organizations. The laxity that is manifested in the economic management of scientific projects makes businesses fear that their investments are not sufficiently exploited and no rule of profitability as a criteria (when I see the huge amount of money is being invested in projects from Europe and The same carelessness that it takes to make sure the result and its impact on society gives me a stomach ache)

Given that, as I say, that relationship is not entirely "cordial", I believe that the STP must be a very active and vital element in the process of rapprochement between the Company and the University. Due to the difference in language that is spoken in the university versus the company, in some cases, not unusual, it should be a "translator" to bring the two positions.

It seems clear need to find mechanisms to create an atmosphere of trust and loyalty between University and Enterprise, which promotes collaboration agreements where the University be strengthened in the image of motor knowledge of quality.

Perhaps, in this case, it seems that much help dispose of professionals working within the University to find points of connection between the two environments ...

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