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Breaking down the barriers to collaboration with industry.

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Presentation on theme: "Breaking down the barriers to collaboration with industry."— Presentation transcript:

1 Breaking down the barriers to collaboration with industry

2 Project Aims  To formalise the channels and processes used to communicate and interact with industry by the university.  To use these channels and processes to develop more effective and efficient relationships between the two.  To share our findings with other HEIs and the STEM community in an accessible way.

3 FINDINGS SO FAR Review  Meetings and interviews were conducted with a wide range of individuals, including:  Academic staff,  Students,  Professional services staff, within the College of Engineering, Maths and Physical Sciences and elsewhere within the university.  The responses were analysed and some recurring themes for problems with engagement were revealed:

4 FINDINGS SO FAR Barriers  Difficulties in communication between HEIs and industry.  Lack of knowledge of industry/HEI needs.  Establishing and maintaining relationships over time to maximise benefit is a challenge.  Lack of awareness regarding the communication channels that already exist between businesses and institutions.  It can be difficult to know where to find the most relevant literature and in some places the abundance can be overwhelming.

5 CONNECTING PEOPLE CRM system  A customer relationship management system has been suggested as an effective way to keep track of ongoing relationships with industry.  It was cited as a useful tool to quickly research interactions with a particular company in order to present a professional image to industry.  Concerns have been raised over privacy and personal contacts – suggestions have been made about how to overcome these issues.  Implementation – College-wide or institution-wide? Discussions are ongoing with staff at all levels to decide how best to move forward with this.

6 CONNECTING PEOPLE Brochure  A brochure has been suggested as a way to outline to employers the procedures involved to engage with the College.  It could also be used within the University as a way to ensure that employers always get directed to the relevant person, no matter who they contact.  Engagement for a project is often seen as difficult to achieve.  A brochure should clarify what the different types of engagement entail, what would be required and what the benefits are.  However, it is noted that for employers, an innovative design (e.g. not a traditional paper booklet) would be necessary to capture their interest.  One idea that was suggested by an employer would be to store all relevant information on a credit card-shaped memory stick to distribute to employers at networking events.

7 SUMMARY  Improve communication between the university and industry.  Contribute towards the implementation of a CRM system.  Develop a employer-facing college brochure.  Ensure the materials are accessible.

8 PROJECTS WITHOUT BORDERS: UNDERSTANDING HOW UNDERGRADUATE PROJECTS DIFFER ACROSS STEM DISCIPLINES Project Aims  To improve the quantity and quality of industrial involvement in student projects in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences.  Discover the specific barriers to engagement for different types of project.  Research best practice to overcome these barriers, both within the university and in the available literature.  Build a guide to enable different types of projects to be compared with these best practice examples, and to draw on relevant recommendations.  Ensure that this information is easily accessible

9 STUDENT PROJECTS Findings so far  The majority of students who have had involvement with industry are positive about their experience. Some reasons include:  Improved employability  Good experience  Enjoyable/something different  Learnt new skills  Established links with industry – through research etc. – sometimes lead to further collaboration through student projects.  Maximising engagement with existing industrial partners is seen to be very important.  A good relationship with an industrial partner can help motivate the student.

10 STUDENT PROJECTS Barriers  Discrepancies between project timings and industry timings can lead to problems.  Employers are sometimes unsure which year group would be most appropriate for their needs.  Communication between the student, academic supervisor and industrial partner needs to be sustained for the project to be successful.  If employers have a bad experience with a student project, they will be more reluctant to engage in future.  Intellectual property rights and nondisclosure agreements (or lack of) have caused problems for many student projects.  Not all employers see the value in a student project

11 COMMUNICATION Communicating with Industry  As a result of our investigations, we aim to produce guidance to help universities ensure that engagement with industry for student projects is effective, no matter which stage they are at, or the type of project.  We particularly want to present this information in an accessible way.  Much engagement relies on “repeat business” after a good experience – we hope that our guidance will minimise the chances of a negative experience.  Our work will emphasise the importance of clarity and outlining expectations at every stage of a student project.  In short – communication is key!

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