Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

‘Top Tips’: How to make, and keep, Industrial Contacts School of Engineering 8 th February 2012 B.J.Mayo FREng.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "‘Top Tips’: How to make, and keep, Industrial Contacts School of Engineering 8 th February 2012 B.J.Mayo FREng."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘Top Tips’: How to make, and keep, Industrial Contacts School of Engineering 8 th February 2012 B.J.Mayo FREng

2 It’s all obvious, but it takes some diligence to do it well… Good dialogue between industry and universities can be extremely worthwhile to both parties, perhaps especially in engineering. Even if there is no immediate financial gain, it can be an invaluable source of stimulus, good advice and reassurance. Industrial organisations and universities have related but different objectives. This can create complications in contract preparation, but it is usually fairly easy to identify complementary contributions from each party. You need to be convinced that the above is true! Doing it well takes effort, and this can only be justified via a hard-headed assessment of the possible benefits to both parties. The most productive relationships are developed patiently over several months / years, implying the need for good strategy and constancy of purpose. 2

3 Organisational Context – making us Easy to See, and Easy to Work With Developing our Research Themes. We need to be able to  Describe succinctly the main focus of our research and its potential applications  Communicate an enthusiasm for working with industry  Illustrate with reference to successful interactions in the past. Implementing the recommendations of the Links with Industry Strategy Team  Industrial Advisory Board(s)  Development of our website.  Enhancing our reputation for effective technical consultancy.  Invitations to Lectures and Seminars  Tuning the Administration to ensure that arrangements for Contract preparation are slick and flexible, including the treatment of IP (a common trip wire). 3

4 The ideal academic contact, seen from the industrialist’s perspective Shows genuine interest Has (or can provide access to) knowledge, experience, or facilities that are of direct relevance Understands what you’re trying to do and offers some fresh insights about how to do it Is candid about the extent to which he / she can help To the extent that help is possible, has enough time / clout / influence / imagination to get something done about it Is sensible and straightforward about what he / she expects in return Can be trusted to respect confidentialities 4

5 Making Industrial Contact (1) The key to forging and sustaining any relationship is mutual benefit. It’s important to be clear what might be in it for both you and for your industrial contact. The benefits can vary from the general to the very specific, and from free advice to £m ventures. From your point of view they might include  Help to inform or focus your research  Open –ended exchange of ideas (eg keeping up to date with technical developments).  Exploring new collaborations of mutual interest  Sale of technical consultancy  Collaboration in projects of limited duration  Financial support for your research  Opportunities for other members of staff, or students 5

6 Making Industrial Contact (2) Make sure you have a grandstand view of the technology and its applications. Use all the usual means to do this (Internet, Conferences, Regional networking systems, Discussion with colleagues, alumni etc). Help each other to do this. Find out who the movers and shakers are (if you don’t already know). Attend relevant conferences and meetings. Introduce yourself to knowledgeable and /or influential participants, and register the contact with a short email when you get home. Use this network to help identify the specific individuals who might offer opportunities. Set up informal meetings (a future conference, lunch on neutral ground, an invitation to the School etc). During these meetings  Illustrate that you have know something about his / her organisation, and why you feel that there might be a case for some form of interaction.  Try to be clear about what differentiates you from other players, and why your work (or that of the School / University generally) might be of interest.  Listen carefully to the response! 6

7 Deepening and maintaining the relationship Try to maintain  a reasonably wide network of influential players to help you stay up with the times and to identify new avenues of inquiry  A smaller number of active contacts (perhaps only 2 or 3?) who offer a real possibility for beneficial collaboration. Sustain all contacts via email and occasional meetings, remembering that you must be able to offer something as well as receive it. Don’t overdo the ‘selling’ of your activities. Instead, try to understand the issues facing the industry / company, and form your own views about what you could / should do to help. Start modestly, and grow the collaboration as trust develops and the benefits become clearer Don’t be sentimental. If the incentive for collaboration has declined (or really wasn’t there in the first place), acknowledge the fact. You can still remain friends! 7

8 Top Tips….. Help to make the SoE a supportive and receptive ‘host’. When contemplating industrial contacts, start with a simple assessment of what’s in it for you, because only then can you justify allocation of time. Think about the possible opportunities by trying to decide where your work fits. Why, and to whom, might it be of interest? If required, use conferences, colleagues to secure introductions to influential players. Then use these to help find the people you really need to be dealing with. Think carefully about what each partner hopes to get out of the arrangement, and what he/she is expected to put in Be patient and realistic Help each other 8

Download ppt "‘Top Tips’: How to make, and keep, Industrial Contacts School of Engineering 8 th February 2012 B.J.Mayo FREng."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google