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Home > Publications > Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS) > Scientific Relations Between Academia and Industry: Building on a New Era of Interactions for the Benefit of Society (workshop report, July 2012)

Scientific Relations Between Academia and Industry: Building on a New Era of Interactions for the Benefit of Society (workshop report, July 2012)

In November 2011, more than 50 academic and business leaders came together for 4 days at the Sigtuna Foundation, near Stockholm, Sweden. They represented a broad range of disciplines, industries and countries with the common aim of promoting effective partnerships between academia and industry for the greater benefit of society.

To facilitate the free and open exchange of ideas, the meeting organisers assured participants that comments made over the course of the four days would not be attributed to individuals in subsequent reporting. The discussion was diverse and rich and, coming as it did in the midst of a global economic crisis, there was a strong sense that the status quo is unacceptable and that the need to develop a stronger and more productive relationship between academia and industry increasingly urgent.

While not attempting to be a consensus document, the report now available presents some of the issues on which a general agreement emerged at the Sigtuna workshop. By highlighting, in the conclusion, the challenges that lie ahead, it is hoped that the report would stimulate further dialogue that will help develop and strengthen industry-academia relations that, in turn, will benefit society.

The Sigtuna meeting was organised by the ICSU Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS), in partnership with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering.

Complementing the workshop report, CFRS also produced an Advisory Note with a summary of some of the more important contributions and conclusions.

Although the issues highlighted reflect a consensus among the individuals who attended the meeting, CFRS is solely responsible for its contents.

Participants were encouraged to think creatively and openly exchange ideas that would not be individually attributed. It was recognised at the outset that there are areas in which academia industry partnerships are already working well – and from which lessons can be learnt – but there are many other areas in which relations need to be improved. The focus was on the latter, within the broader context of grand challenges for global sustainability.

A report of the meeting is available on the ICSU website. The short statement that follows is a summary of some of the more important contributions and conclusions. Although the issues highlighted in this Advisory Note reflect a consensus among the individuals who attended the meeting, CFRS is solely responsible for its contents.

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