Best practices of collaboration between university and industrial SMEs
Benchmarking : An International Journal
Purpose -The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the implementation of best practices of collaboration between university and industrial small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Design/methodology/approach -This paper presents the experience carried on by a university group fostering the collaboration with SME companies involving young engineering students and researchers in projects designed for the resolution of real industrial problems. A collaboration model is proposed and
... Four real case studies are presented. Findings -The purposed model promotes the involvement of the young engineers with authentic industrial experiences, enables the build-up of their practical framework and encourages their entrepreneurial growth. It also promotes the innovation process in SME companies through the close collaboration with universities. Practical implications -The collaboration between universities and SME companies should be based on a small projects base. These projects must be focus in localized and specific problematic areas in the industrial companies, where the potential of improvement and innovation is large, must diagnose the problematic situation and propose new and efficient solutions supported by technical/scientific methodologies. The involvement of managers and collaborators of SME companies and the clearly definition of their roles in the project are fundamental issues for the collaboration success. Originality/value -The model presented in this paper describes an innovative step-by-step procedure, easy to be implemented by the universities. It emphasises the impact of some details during the collaboration process that enhance the success potential of university-SME companies' projects, the quality of the research work produced and the quality of young future engineers training. It also fits with the SME companies' demands of a mix of structured knowledge and empirical experience.