The cooperation between university and firms can be due to the increase of the international competition, to the diffusion of scientific knowledge and to the efficient formation of the human resources.
The change from a consumer culture to a Knowledge culture focuses the firm’s attention on the universities, that is from a material good production to more sophisticated productive systems and dominated by that immaterial we define services , Know how, information, development research, human resources’training , the knowledge production or diffusion. The level and the complexity of the scientific necessary Knowledge nowadays to the productive world make the collaboration with the university really strategic.
Five successful factor in the cooperation between entrepreneurs and university world can be found: The quality of interpersonal relations, the reciprocal trust, the patience, , the flexibility, thinking on a large scale. If we analyse the concrete forms that the collaboration between universities and firms has taken during the last years, we can note two typical experiences: the “basic” collaboration and the institutional collaboration. The “basic” collaboration has as protagonists the university departments and the single firms and satisfies four main needs: certification, research, consultation and didactics.
Certification: the institutes and the university department carry out , by order, routine technical activities such as analysis, checks, adjustments, exams, tests and experience. The analyses are realized and certified on public bodies’and firms’requests. The universities carry out experimentations aimed at certifying the effectiveness of some industrial products.
The research contract is the most significant and strategic form of cooperation as a Technological innovation. The contract promotes and rules a program of studies pertaining to frontier scientific themes supplied with a high innovative potential requiring an average time length and suitable human and economic resources. The consultation contract establishes a form of technical-scientific collaboration different from the research contract ; it usually consists in resolving in that short period specific problems, tightly connected with the productive activity of the firm purchaser. The reciprocal information conventions , the technical assistance for the use of data banks or very complex scientific and technical instruments , the technological transfer activities, the assignment of applied research results are part of the consultation.
The forms of company involvement in the university didactics are naturally differentiated and graduated as follows: on the first level, the firm does not propose to take a certain number of the university course graduates, it does not interfere excessively in the course design, but, instead, it worries to insert some of its managerial staff among the teachers and to make the student know the firm ( stage, visits, scholarships ); on a second level , the training course is established on the basis of a consolidated collaborative experience between university departments and firms for the scientific research; the managerial staff’s training , so, occurs , already in relations’ fertile humus ; on a third level The firm “ orders”the university a training course; such procedure is preferred for the training and the professional refresher course of managerial staff already appointed and involved in productive reorganization and restructuring operations.
Moreover there is an institutional collaboration that has usually, as protagonists, the universities and the employers’associations. The convention – managerial staff between industrial associations and universities, the pool and the associated societies, the scientific and technological parks, the initiatives of technological transfer and diffusion of the applied scientific research results, the collaboration for the national research programs, the connected initiatives between universities and firms for the creation of new university courses.