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Accepted Paper:

Misalignment and alignment in academic-industry collaboration and research policy  
Alan Irwin (Copenhagen Business School) Jane Bjørn Vedel (Copenhagen Business School)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, we develop a framework for misalignment and alignment with particular reference to academic-industry collaboration. Building upon an extended qualitative study of seven companies, we argue that misalignment plays an important role with far-reaching implications for research policy.

Paper long abstract:

For several decades, the question of how to optimise interaction between academic research groups and industry has been a major concern for international politicians and policy makers. In this paper, we develop a framework for misalignment and alignment which can be used for understanding and accounting for the dynamics of academic-industry collaborations. Drawing upon an extensive qualitative study of one Danish pharmaceutical company and interviews with six further companies, we argue that misalignment (as well as alignment) plays an important role in academic-industry collaboration. Rather than representing a barrier to collaboration, misalignment at various points can serve as a driver to collaboration. This role has however largely been overlooked in research policy studies that have mainly viewed misalignment as a problem for resolution, and alignment - or 'bridge building' - between academia and industry as the key role for research policy. Our evidence also suggests that in successful collaborations academic and industry partners do not necessarily move from misalignment to alignment. Instead, several (mis)aligning relations are possible. Consequently, we suggest that, rather than merely 'bridging gaps', policy in this area has an important task in developing programmes that can incorporate and indeed positively value misalignment. For instance, this could involve the development of non-linear policy frameworks that are not based on a sequential, aligned distribution of roles between academia and industry but rather on programmes that allow misaligned forms of co-production.

Panel T086
Rethinking innovation and governance
  Session 1 Thursday 1 September, 2016, -