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Higher_Education_Institution (HEIs) _as _Game _Changers, University-industry Collaboration



Higher Education Institution (HEIs) as Game Changers, University-industry Collaboration — by: Ahmed Raza
This article is based on the ranking of universities on the globe designed by Times Higher Education (THE) and it’s consultancy group’s report which is an eye-opener for developing countries.  Knowledge-based economies are flourishing on the basis of knowledge transfer and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) act like power engines to provide an impetus with creative ideas. Universities generate financial support from contributions, endowment, fund-raising projects, intellectual property (IP), and corporate alliances. Ranking of THE has a most astonishing angle, University-Industry collaboration for research, publications, and revenue generation. The First 200 universities have an average income of USD 36000 per staff member earned from university-industry collaboration. The first part of this brief article is based on the university-industry relationship and it’s vital role in economic development. In the second part a brief view of Stanford University and silicon valley will be explained while in the end lessons for Pakistan will be discussed.
University-Industrial collaboration and income generation for research
Western economies especially the US have devised a mechanism to create an umbrella or ecosystem around it’s HEIs for research-based projects to boost the corporate sector. The US geared up it’s industrialization after the 1870s  which culminated into the birth of corporation culture in business. Second world war transform the economies and world politics. Scientific development and creative ideologies in entrepreneurship emerged into knowledge-based economies. US converted it’s universities into a creative hub for corporate sectors which will be reflected in the case of Stanford University in the later part. Report of THE reveals, the pandemic hasn’t affected university-industry collaboration rather corporations have enhanced investment to redesign business and it’s strategies. Analysis of the first 200 universities in ranking marks five countries who are leading now. US has 59, UK 29, Germany 21, Netherlands 11, Switzerland 7 and France with 5 universities in this rating which are also pillars of research and development and generating huge income for themselves. Average income earned through university-industry collaboration per staff member in these countries has following order:
Netherlands USD 64000
Switzerland USD 49000
Germany USD 47000
USA USD 9445
UK USD 1700
Oxford University is leading the ranking of THE having average staff member earning from industry USD 57000.  Stanford University was on top but now ranked second having an average income per member USD 107,000. If we make an order of top universities having high industrial income on an individual basis then we can find:
1. California Institute of Technology USD 118,000
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology USD 108,000
3. Stanford University USD 107,000
4. University of California USD 90000
5. University of Oxford USD 57000
Top four universities out of five are from US. Remember one thing, three out of four universities are from California in the vicinity of Silicon Valley. Astonishing thing is, the Netherlands with a population of approximately 17-18 million has 11 universities in the top 200  universities with the highest income from industrial collaboration.
 Co-authorship of research publications (university-industrial collaboration)
 The top three sectors which contributed to collaboration and research publications are material Sciences, computer sciences and medicines. Mathematics, Geology, Environmental Sciences, Political science, history and art also have a sizable share. The Netherlands again leading with 5.8% research publications based on university-industrial collaboration while 7.1% of these publications were based on material Sciences. US, Germany and Switzerland have the largest proportion of publications in computer sciences.
Important companies with the highest R&D budgets
Microsoft has 7900 research publications from 2015-2919. It collaborated with 2400 universities worldwide. An interesting fact is, it has close collaboration with Tsinghua University, China. It formed a joint institution here in 2015 with an investment of USD 40mn. It had a budget of USD 14.7bn for R&D in 2018.
Huawei is a Chinese corporation 3200 publications from 2015-2019 in collaboration with more than 100 universities around the globe. It has built a European research institute based in Belgium. It’s the prime focus I’d 5G technology. It has experimented 5G ultra-dense network for vehicles in collaboration with Aalto University, Finland. It allocated USD 19.5bn for R&D in 2019.
Samsung is a South Korean corporation that co-authored 800 research publications after collaboration with more than 1400 universities during 2015-2019. It opted for almost 540 educational institutions in east Asia while it has close cooperation with Stanford University. It allocated USD 15.3bn
Alphabet is the parent company of Googles which has more than 5000 coauthor research publications from 2015-2019 in collaboration with more than 1700 universities. It is keen in developing quantum software with the collaboration of the University College London and the University of Bristol. It had a budget of USD 16.2bn for R&D in 2018.
There is a large number of companies which have extended relationship with universities like IBM, Intel, Apple, Facebook, Bosch, Philips, Daimler, Audi, etc. Germany has third-largest economy which has an emphasis on manufacturing and engineering. The University of Stuttgart has earned a great reputation in this regard. In Canada, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada also has a good reputation for industrial development especially joint projects with IBM which has more than 140000 patents.  Interesting thing is, East Asia is following this pattern of industrial collaboration especially Tsinghua University, Being, China. Hong Kong and South Korean universities have successful achievements in this scenario.
Stanford University (case study)
Leeland and Jane Stanford laid the foundation of Stanford University, California, in memory of their late child. It’s motto was in the German language which meant “wind of freedom blows”. Initially, it’s research activities were confined to agriculture. It became an engine for silicon valley which innovative business hub of US and produced 19 Nobel laureates.
Silicon Valley became a business hub after the second world war and defense projects were established initially. Silicon name originated from integrated circuits(IC) and semiconductors. Material Sciences and information technology revolutionized it and now “Silicon Valley” epitomizes US leadership in technology and entrepreneurship.
Stanford Research Park
The game-changing event was the establishment of Stanford Research Park in 1951 and professor Fredrick German played a vital role in the project. He graduated from Stanford in Chemistry but obtained a doctorate degree in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Park had 700 acres of land and facilities were provided for companies. Bell Hewlett and David Packard who graduated from Stanford, established Hewlett-Packard( hp) took interest in the project. Now it has facilities for more than 150 companies like Lockheed Martin, Hewlett-Packard, Tesla Motors, Skype, SAP, Ford, etc. Stanford urges it’s students for entrepreneurship as was the idea of Frederick Terms. An example is, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who completed their project during graduate studies and materialized it into their own company, Googles. In the nutshell, we can say an ecosystem in universities is a tool to transform HEIs into a research hub that not only contributes to the development of nations rather earn finances for research institutions.
Lessons for Pakistan
The irony of fate is, Pakistan has traditional structures for HEIs which have roots in the colonial period. Innovation and research are reflections of creative abilities. The traditional examination systems cannot judge creativity, it is an attitude measured by a psychological inclination of students. There is no effective forum or collaboration among business organizations and HIEs. We can quite a few examples only like HEJ institute which has done effective work for chemistry and medicines.
Universities should be granted more autonomy to make alliances with organizations. Chinese universities had the same plight from 1985 to 1995 but the government gives them complete autonomy for such alliances to improve their budgets. Second thing is, we can’t expect results like western universities but we can follow the relevant approach. It is a game of wisdom and takes decades for fruitful results. The first phase should be the identification of available business sectors within the country and convincing them for collaboration. HEIs cannot entertain the idea with traditional management and faculties rather professionals having a visionary approach should be incorporated in HIEs. Pakistan is an agricultural country, so sectors like seed development, livestock, pesticides, foods, textiles, etc., should be approached at the initial level. One common thing is computational solutions to problems in every business sector. This trend of IT is dominating in every university in top 200 rankings after material Sciences. Analysis of THE report concludes that universities are driving force for innovation and after collaboration with the industry it may become a breeding ground for entrepreneurship. Universities can generate enough finances by these practices and can enjoy more autonomy by eliminating the dependency on government budgets. The need of an hour is to devise the plan as Chinese Philosopher Sun Tzu said, outthink your enemy instead of outfighting him.