Structuring Public–Private Research Partnerships for Success

Structuring Public–Private Research Partnerships for Success

Empowering University Partners

Gordon Rausser, Holly Amedon and Reid Stevens

As funding for universities and governmental research units has declined, these institutions have turned to the private sector to augment their research and development budgets. This book presents a framework for structuring public-private research partnerships that protect both these institutions’ academic freedom and the private firm’s corporate interests. This formulation is developed using insights originating from the incomplete contracting and collective decision making literatures. The book presents a number of template designs for a variety of research partnerships.

Chapter 11: Lessons and recommendations

Gordon Rausser, Holly Amedon and Reid Stevens

Subjects: economics and finance, financial economics and regulation, public finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy


We assert that universities should be wary of ceding control through various terms and conditions of public–private research partnerships (PPRPs) and should be actively not passively involved in seeking potential private firm partners. Both theoretical and empirical research has supported the notion that control rights are a crucial negotiation item in the design and implementation of public–private research agreements. Public partners must be savvy in leveraging their intellectual capital to achieve a favorable balance of control over the results of the research collaboration, especially when this research falls on the more fundamental or basic science end of the research spectrum. Public research partners must recognize the full potential of their contributions to the partnership and negotiate agreements accordingly. We find that, to overcome the obstacles of conflicting objectives, the partners should create contracts that recognize the existence of conflict and clearly lay out a framework for resolving such conflicts. We review potential institutional failures and obstacles and recommend that academic organizations such as the Association of University Technology Manager (AUTM) develop a comprehensive system for monetizing the real value of control and flexibility options in PPRPs.

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