The global demand for greater social accountability, responsiveness and relevance on the part of higher education has manifest in an emphasis on universities’ contribution to the national economy. Increasing attention is being paid to the potential contribution of universities as knowledge producers interacting with firms to build learning and technological capabilities in a national system of innovation, and hence, contributing to sustained economic growth and structural change, under the specific conditions of developing countries.
Under the then HESA, the Research and Innovation Strategy Group commissioned research in 2011/12 to inform advocacy to promote university-industry-government interaction in key sectors in South Africa. In relation to university-industry interaction, HESA needed to:
- Understand current forms of collaboration and partnership between university and industry, and the benefits and constraints thereof for research and innovation.
- Understand the dynamics of best-practice collaboration in key sectors in relation to international trends.
- Understand institutional dynamics within universities and the policy interventions in the national system of innovation that support and facilitate university-industry interaction.
The purpose was to lay the foundation for a common framework and a functional model for HESA and its members to anchor, promote and sustain university-industry partnerships. This Report therefore presents an analysis of current trends, best practice, policies and structural arrangements, with a view to recommending an appropriate framework for university-industry interaction in the South African context.
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