Sharing academic infrastructure is regularly considered by universities as a smart way to access industry budgets. On top, such collaboration does great in all kinds of government statistics.
One challenge is making an appealing offer to industry. After all, for serious budgets ‘no’ comes all to easily. And once people say ‘no’ a few times, it may turn into a habit. Discussions on how to involve industry have been repeating over various projects I did in both the chemicals and the ICT sector. How to involve industry when purchasing an electron microscope, a supercomputer, or a synchrotron?
I will share one of the more valuable best practices: flexibility. Companies tend to find spending money on profitable projects very acceptable. However, when few such projects are available such as during a recession, sunk cost quickly turn into a burden that is dragging the company down.