Academy-Industry Cooperation: Case Solar Decathlon Competition

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School of Economics | Master's thesis
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The aim of this study is to explore the academy-industry cooperation in the Solar Decathlon competition project in Finland. Interviews with academics and the companies’ representatives answered to four main questions research established; namely the reasons for the both parties to cooperate, the factors that impede and facilitate the collaboration, and the use of the project’s results in the future. The findings show that the academy and the industry have different reasons for the cooperation, i.e. the academy is interested in the science development in the research and teaching, while the industry pursues the economic objectives through the publicity and products development. Although they have different aims in cooperation, they have areas of mutual interest and complement each other. This cooperation project has been successful and had no major problems. However, the main challenge arose in the project organization and management due to the large extension of it. Thus, it is important for the parties to evaluate better potential partners in the preplanning stage and to find the strategic fit. In addition to that, the cooperation can be facilitated with the common goal or a social mission that motivates all participants to work harder. Furthermore, good interpersonal relations, high levels of commitment and trust, efficient communication and mutual understanding encourage collaboration. Previous relationships have a positive impact on the future establishment of the cooperation. In general, the academy-industry cooperation can be fostered by providing the industry with interesting cases and practical knowledge. The academy wants to have a greater understanding of the companies’ needs. The results of the current cooperation will be used in the development of new collaborative projects between the universities and the companies. The industry will utilize the knowledge generated in this project for production and marketing. The academy will use the results of this project in the development of the multi-scientific teaching and cooperation inside of the Aalto University. This project has also promoted the cooperation among companies and has a deeper meaning for the society’s innovation system in whole.
academy-industry collaboration, inter-organizational interaction, cooperation, dyadic relationships
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