Does your business want to collaborate with a university?

Does your business want to collaborate with a university?
Collaborative research projects help develop ground-breaking technologies and innovation. Img source: DocuSign / Unsplash

Partnerships between universities and businesses achieve incredible results.

Like this one between Rio Nuevo and Falmouth University...

Bridging Continents: Rio Nuevo and Falmouth University Forge a Sustainable Future for Cacao Farming
Rio Nuevo Chocolate and Falmouth University’s visionary Design team have come together for a project that seeks to boost sustainability, and strengthen the ties between academic innovation and real-world impact. A Ripple of Impact The secret to crafting high-quality, flavourful chocolate isn’t just about the type of cacao; it’s also about what happens after the fruit is harvested. Fermentation is the key to unlocking the full potential of cacao flavour, unveiling those fruity, nutty, floral, and

Collaborative research projects help to develop ground-breaking technologies, boost the UK economy and shape future talent.

But despite the vast amount to gain from these partnerships, there are many businesses that are unknowing of the possibilities and benefits of working with a higher education institution.

Before entering a university-industry project, first consider the following points...

#1: What is your reason for collaborating?

First things first, you should get a clear understanding of why you are seeking a university to partner with, and what results you hope to achieve. When it comes to university and business collaborations, both parties offer high-value benefits.

For SMEs and startups, for example, reasons for partnering with a university might include access to highly specialised equipment, world-class expertise, and the opportunity to help shape the future. Whereas universities may be on the hunt for a business to partner with to test the practical application of their research.

For more on the benefits of collaboration for businesses and universities, check out our previous article.

#2: Who can you collaborate with?

Once you have a clear idea of your ‘why’ and the specialist knowledge, expertise, and facilities you will need to achieve your objectives, the next step is to find your ‘who’.

In other words, who do you want to collaborate with?

There are a few avenues to take when it comes to identifying the right university for your business.

You can get in touch with your nearest knowledge transfer advisor. These are professionals who are on hand to help connect forward-thinking businesses with the UK’s knowledge bases to deliver innovative projects. You can find a list of contacts across various regions of the UK here.

Don't be afraid to reach out to your nearest KTP advisor! Img source: Microsoft 365/Unsplash

And if those avenues don’t suit you, then why not contact the university or academic directly via email? Or attend university-led events and networking sessions to build connections and engage with prospective partners.

#3 - Why are you a good fit?

If you get the green light to meet up with someone who is a potential university collaborator, then you might want to ask questions about their specific area of expertise, the university facilities, and about their previous knowledge exchange activities.

Why is this individual best suited to your projects?

Keep in mind that the university itself may also want to learn more about your business and to see if it's a good fit for them. The partnerships that benefit both parties are always the greatest ones.

Many businesses go into a new partnership with a specific outcome in mind. However, it’s important to know that these collaborations evolve quickly.

Don’t be put off by the assumption that finding a long-term collaboration is tough. The truth is, there are many researchers and universities who are also on the lookout for businesses just like yours- and that's where the KEVRI platform comes in handy!



KEVRI is a collaborative software platform and consultancy that helps you surface innovation at your organisation and support impact pipelines. Email us at to find out more!