Investigation Report Collaboration embedded into research and educational pedagogies

Green plants with thick leaves.

This blog post is part of a series exploring the factors within four key themes that contribute to university readiness for engagement, as identified by the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report. Already available in this series, you can read about the importance of an ecosystem approach, and a collaborative organisational culture. The next and final post in this series will be about the key resources that make HEIs ready to engage. This post focusses on the factors related to the theme ‘collaboration embedded in research and the educational pedagogy’.

Engagement readiness is strongly associated with the research profile of an HEI, as well as whether the university has an educational pedagogy that incorporates collaboration as part of its curriculum.

To ensure engagement readiness at an HEI, the value of collaboration and cooperation, as well as the skills needed for such ventures, should be integrated into the university’s research and educational programming.


Academic Entrepreneurship & Research Collaboration

One of the key attributes for an HEI that is read to engage is a good level of academic entrepreneurship. Academic entrepreneurship refers to mechanisms that foster start-up and spin-off creation, as well as research collaboration through joint R&D, consultancy and the commercialisation of R&D. The research-related collaboration process tends to be the most common form of academic entrepreneurship, as businesses actively sponsor or fund researchers to explore areas which would benefit their business growth and enhancement. Organisational prerequisites for academic entrepreneurship on the HEI side includes the importance of soft bureaucracy, which increases the flexibility and adaptability required by the institution to enable these practices.


Engaged & Entrepreneurial Learning

Another key attribute for an entrepreneurial, and therefore engagement ready, university is the integration of collaborative and entrepreneurial pedagogies into its curriculum. These pedagogies and learning experiences are often developed through collaboration with business in curriculum design, and sometimes jointly delivered by HEI and businesses. These educational programmes aim to develop the key entrepreneurial competencies of bearing uncertainty, making new combinations, exploring opportunities, creation of organisation, as well as community and social entrepreneurship.


There are many different forms of collaborative education that can be facilitated by engagement with external partners including, but not limited to, tailored degree programs, jointly organised courses, and thesis projects. The use of special advisory boards made up of industry experts who work with university staff on the design of its courses and programs, for example, is an effective way of producing subject content that is aligned to industry needs. Student internships and academic exchanges are another important means of bridging the gaps between academic and industry. Business experience, gained through an internship or exchange programme, can be considered as a form of coursework to be evaluated as part of student’s advancement in their degree programs. These internships are a key in the creation of job opportunities for students, and on the business side, create a pool of experienced talent to hire from.


Thanks to this collaboration that is embedded in research and education, businesses and HEIs share knowledge and integrate said knowledge into their joint sense making processes. They also work together to help students with job placements and career guidance, simultaneously addressing business, HEI and student needs.


To read more about this topic, head to the Engagement Readiness Investigation Report.



Blog editors: Fleur Schellekens (UIIN) and Alexandra Zinovyeva (UIIN) 

Header photo by Blanca Paloma Sánchez on Unsplash

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