All universities are significantly dependent upon public funding as a major source of support for their research programmes. The difference between private and public universities is in the nature of their accountability for public funding. Whereas a private university is only accountable to government for that which is publicly funded, a public university is accountable for everything whether publicly funded or not. Hence for a public university income from external collaborations brings limited freedom.
This discussion paper starts by providing an economic analysis of the issues with which it is concerned. It then discusses the nature of the activities in which universities engage by considering the role of knowledge in teaching and research. This leads into a discussion of how the perception of the balance between the public and private benefits and costs of universities’ public funding has been influenced by, and influenced in turn: the literature on higher education; higher student participation rates; and, a broader research agenda including collaborations between universities and external partners.
The analysis of the EUIMA case studies begins by discussing appropriate frameworks for collaborations between universities and their external partners. These frameworks are then used as evidence from which is drawn a set of characteristics of both universities and businesses engaged in successful external research collaborations. The full list of contributing organisations to the EUIMA-Collaborative Research project can be found in the Annex.