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Partners in Research: Balancing creativity and responsibility

Partners in Research: Balancing creativity and responsibility

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Partners in Research: Balancing creativity and responsibility

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  1. Partners in Research:Balancing creativity and responsibility Ian Leslie University of CambridgeComputer Laboratory http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~iml/ Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  2. Goal • Examine the relationships between industry and academia. • How do we engage with industry to further our goals, further their goals and retain independence? • Focusing on research relationships • Drawing on my experiences from Cambridge • Try to convince you that: • Flexibility is key: One size does not fit all • Recognition of diverse motives (yours, theirs) will determine appropriate rules of engagement • These are my opinions, not my University’s! Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  3. Outline • My Context: UK, Cambridge, Computer Lab, Me • Recognise (celebrate!) diversity: • Goals of individual academics • Industry: Size, Dominance, Sector specific dynamics • Government: Macro, Sector Specific, Social Engineering, Fads • My Experiences: • Our programmes with industry • Links with research labs in Cambridge: Microsoft, Marconi, Intel • Analysis, Observations and Conclusions • Understanding goals and motivation • How do we measure? • Retaining control of the agenda Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  4. Context Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  5. UK Government Dept for Education Trade and Industry HE Funding Councils Research Councils T R 3 Research Contracts Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  6. UK Context • UK Government acts through • Research Councils • identify “beneficiaries of results” • Adventurousness • Dept Trade and Industry • Promote industrial-academic collaboration • Keen on “SME’s” • More recently: • Third stream funding for universities • Lambert Review of Business-University Collaboration (in progress) www.lambertreview.org.uk Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  7. Cambridge Context (1) • Oxford and Cambridge Acts of Parliament • IPR, consulting: • Under many circumstances intellectual property belongs to the individual academic • Academics are free to consult for industry without limitation, so long as they perform their academic duties • Cluster Effect: • Cambridge has large information technology and biotechnology clusters • “Only” 20% of ventures “spun out” by the University • “Cambridge Phenomenon” reports Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  8. Cambridge Context (2) • Research Rating: • Whether by intention or not, the UK government funding of universities has made Cambridge, in financial terms, a research university. (This, I hasten to add, is not a good thing in my opinion.) • Cambridge did extremely well in the last government initiated research rating of university departments, and purely for financial survival must be highly focused on maintaining its ratings. • Lambert Review • Singles out Cambridge in two ways: remarkable success and disorganised Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  9. Cambridge Context (3) • Co-located Laboratories • (I don’t like the term “embedded laboratories”.) • Some are embedded, in the sense that they have no independent existence outside a university department. • Hitachi in Physics • Glaxo in Pharmacology (no longer) • BP-Institute (Fluid dynamics) • Microsoft Research Cambridge • Intel Research Cambridge Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  10. Cambridge Context (4) Q: How many Cambridge professors does it take to change a light bulb? A: Change? Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  11. Cambridge Computer Lab Context • Broadly based: theoretical and practical • Long tradition of consulting activities, interaction with industry (from 1961) • Key ingredient in “Cambridge Phenomenon” • 80 companies founded by Lab graduates • Large activity in communications with trend towards public domain • Dominant players: Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  12. Context: Me • Active in computer communications, about half of research activity with direct industry partners • Sector with some short time scales • Two startups • Not HoD for Microsoft engagement • HoD for Marconi and Intel engagements • Active in University “politics”, including IPR Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  13. Diversity Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  14. Diversity: Academics • Academics do not all share identical values or motivations for being academics • Different subject areas can correspond to industry sectors with different opportunities, time scales, different development path fragmentation, and different competition patterns (compare computer games industry with pharmaceutical industry). Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  15. Diversity: Industry • Companies have different motivations for wanting to interact with Universities • Different industry sectors have different time scales, different development path fragmentation, and different competition patterns • Let’s look along the size axis… Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  16. Diversity: Industry: Large • Large companies may have medium term research agenda which requires specific expertise found in universities • Recruitment • Interaction: potentially complex Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  17. Diversity: Industry: Medium • Medium size companies tend to be more interested in short term expertise, that is, consulting. • Recruitment • Interaction: should be straightforward Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  18. Diversity: Industry: Startups • Startups want help with special infrastructure • Recruitment • Interaction: should be straightforward Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  19. Diversity: Industry: Global (Dominant) • Global companies may seek to gain wide influence by collaboration with universities • Can afford long term commitments • Often more concerned with growing sector rather than gaining competitive edge • Often have the capacity to distinguish goals of internal and external research • Recruitment • Interaction: can be straightforward Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  20. Diversity: Government Goals • Long term economic growth, social improvement • Will intervene (via research funding) in sectors which are deemed ripe for exploitation or require regulation • Fad churn: short term/long term, industrially relevant/adventurous, (and in computer science application/generic…) Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  21. My Experiences Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  22. Computer Lab Programmes • Long established “Industrial Supporters Club” • Originated from local (small) industry as a focus for information exchange • Is to a large extent a recruitment club (and not so local). • Growth of department now lets us increase use for information exchange • Recently established Graduate Association • Realisation that our prime output is people and that we didn’t have a good handle on what they were doing (and therefore what value we were generating). Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  23. The Microsoft Engagement(1) • 1996: Microsoft Research decide they should have research facility outside Redmond. Cambridge UK chosen. • 1997: Basic plan with benefaction from the Gates Foundation partly funding a new building (The Gates Building) for the Computer Laboratory part of which will be rented to Microsoft Research. Just need to sort out intellectual property arrangements…. • Microsoft Research set up in temporary accommodation in Cambridge • 1998: Mass panic from some about Microsoft “buying” the Computer Laboratory Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  24. The Microsoft Engagement(2) • 1998: IPR discussions follow model of previous embedded laboratories. Complication of individual academic ownership of IPR recognised by Microsoft. • 1998: Microsoft recognise that they don’t really care about blanket IPR agreement (takes their lawyers a bit longer) • 1998: Agreement reached which says if there is joint invention there is joint ownership (true with or without such an agreement) and agree to move forward to resolve (agreement to agree) Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  25. The Microsoft Engagement(3) • 1998: Realisation that Microsoft will not fit into their allocated space in Gates Building by the time it is built • 1999: Microsoft Research Building (now the Roger Needham Building) started. Panic subsides • 2001: Gates and Needham Buildings complete Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  26. The Microsoft Engagement(4) • Collaborative research: • Almost all under public domain arrangement • Joint projects, sponsorship of research students • Most collaboration in theoretical areas • Small fraction of Microsoft Cambridge work is with the University • Microsoft Research Cambridge provide research funds to many other universities in Europe • We still have (indeed nurture) many who are critical of Microsoft • Lessons • Working hard for a null agreement was worth it • Lucky with building being too small • Dominant players can live with public domain agreements • Transparency Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  27. The Marconi Engagement(1) • 1999: Marconi approach University proposing Marconi Research Cambridge to be sited in a building next to the Gates and Needham Buildings • March 2000: Marconi and University sign MoU outlining a £24M donation to the University (building, research funding) with just some IPR issues to be sorted… • Mid 2001: Despite research principals in University and Marconi having complete agreement about IPR and other issues, institutional negotiations stall and then run into Marconi’s financial difficulties. Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  28. The Marconi Engagement(2) • 2002: Marconi Research Cambridge closes • Lessons: • University administration not flexible on IPR • Lack of clearly stated IPR principles from the outset was a problem • Marconi big, but not dominant, therefore IPR trickier • Probably would have eventually been agreed if Marconi had not run into financial difficulties • Had we agreed before financial difficulties it might have been even worse! Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  29. The Intel Engagement(1) • 2002: Intel see closing of Marconi Cambridge as space opportunity • 2002: Intel start Cambridge “Lablet” in Gates Building • 4 Lablets (Berkeley, Washington, Carnegie Mellon, Cambridge) • Lablets have clear mission to work only under public domain arrangement (“open research policy” – see http://www.cra.org/CRN/articles/nov2/mulder.html) • No framework agreement in place (other than lease for space). • Painless Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  30. The Intel Engagement(2) • Lessons: • Had been learnt! • Intel dominant in market, public domain IPR made things easy • Significant sponsor of research students • Deflects some attention from Microsoft relationship Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  31. Analysis,ObservationsandConclusions Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  32. Industrial Motivation is Diverse • Our experiences confirm this diversity. • Our long term substantive relationships are with global corporations. This is usually on open IPR terms. • We have long term marginally productive relationships with some large corporations who tend to want short term research which helps their competitive position. • Individual academics have productive short or medium term consulting arrangements with medium or large corporations. Results are usually confidential. Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  33. Complexity in motivation leads to misunderstandings • Misunderstandings lead to wasted time. • Complexity, misunderstanding exists within organisations: • eg. Microsoft’s real motivation for coming to Cambridge had nothing to do with exploiting the intellectual property of academics. They didn’t understand this. • eg. The University (or parts of it) believe that money can be made exploiting its intellectual property, despite all evidence to the contrary from the US. Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  34. Some findings from London Business School and UK Gov • Study of technology transfer in Silicon Valley: • Personal relationships with faculty are the most important factor in originating and nurturing collaboration • Strong links between faculty, graduates in Silicon Valley industry maintained by semiformal programmes • Consultancy by faculty strengthens collaboration • University technology transfer offices lose money Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  35. Academic Institutional Goals • To have reputation that attracts good students (Teaching Stream) • To perform good research, attract good researchers. (Research Stream) • To contribute demonstrably to wealth creation and/or social improvement. (Third Stream) • What’s more relevant, particularly what should be measured: spin offs, royalty income, or growing the immediate industrial cluster? • If the cluster formation is natural biproduct, don’t let third stream pervert your teaching and research agenda Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  36. Exploit Diversity of Industrial Motivation • Long term research with global and to a lesser extent large corporations --- we are getting better at this. Consider whether public domain results or nonexclusivity is appropriate. Consider reputation. • Short term research/development with medium sized companies. They will often want to own the results. • Consulting by academic staff should be encouraged. • Help the corporations that support you to recruit. It may actually be the biggest asset you have. • Be kind to start ups. In the long term it will be more important for the institution to have been associated with a successful start up than to have extracted money from it. Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  37. Hold on to your own research agenda • This is so fundamental, I almost forgot to say it. • It is much more important than deriving financial benefit from IPR. • Two aspects: • being able to choose the research you pursue • being able to use the results for your future research. Conference on University Autonomy and Research

  38. Balance Through Portfolios • Research partners for an institution, department, perhaps even an individual academic, should be diverse. • This is the best way to preserve autonomy: allows academics to influence research agenda, partners see the value of contributing to the critical mass, network effect. • Understand their diverse motives, understand your diverse motives. Conference on University Autonomy and Research