Managing Relations with Industry

The Case of Brazilian Universities

Institutional Management in Higher Education

For a long time, university-business relations were a matter of individual, informal and intermittent contacts. Once the innovation process picked up speed, businesses began asking more from universities (longer-term co-operative research, for example), and governments placed university-business interaction at the centre of their innovation strategies, with the universities having to organise interface structures as well as developing internal standards for the agendas of teachers-researchers, industrial property, etc.

In Brazil, universities started to do this during the 1990s. The Brazilian experience shows that the success of interface structures depends not only on the national innovation policy but above all on the conditions specific to each establishment. This article discusses the results of three surveys conducted by the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul concerning the technology transfer and intellectual property offices of Brazilian universities, and is set out as follows: 1) the background to university-business relations in Brazil; 2) the characteristics, strong points and weaknesses of university offices, based on their development over the last decade; and 3) benchmarks for the development of internal strategies.

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