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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