Five levels of Industry Academia interaction


While everyone talked of the challenges, opportunities and learnings from the operation of “captive units” for major US corporations, I had to pitch in with the supply side, specifically the issue of industry-academia interaction.

Based on my years of industry interaction I had put together the 5-levels of interaction (that matures over the years) on the lines of five levels of SEI CMM Model

The first level is Supplier Buyer relationship where the primary focus is on recruitment

After a couple of years of successful recruitment drive, the corporates invests (though in small amounts) in the form of scholarships and sponsorship for student events (CulFest, TechFest); I call it Donor-donee relationship.

At the next level is Consultant – User relationship where the trust has gone up; corporations utilize faculty by way of consulting projects (short duration projects)

With some more trust building on the part of corporation and delivery capability on the faculty part the relationship matures to Sponsor – Receiver relationship where large projects (with multiple faculty members and multi-year projects) are endowed at the Institutes.

The final stage of relationship is what I call come on board – where faculty members are invited to sit on the boards of corporations and senior executives occupy board level position in the University Senate / Board

Ultimately such a mature relationship should lead to

  • Intellectual gains (Turing award winners, Academy winners, Fellows (IEEE / ACM)
  • Wealth creation for individuals and corporations 
  • Generation of amazing products & services (iPod or iPhone like products)
  • Creation of marquee companies that create jobs (next generation Infosys)
  • Research-led institutes (like Stanford University)

right in Bangalore

(Round table of “captive” unit heads of corporations in retail, high tech, financial services and consulting services in Bangalore held at Target India campus in EGL, Bangalore on April 27, 2009)

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One Response to “Five levels of Industry Academia interaction”

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