Success factors in university-industry PhD projects

Negin Salimi*, Rudi Bekkers, Koen Frenken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Faced with ever-increasing pressure to innovate, firms consider universities to be significant sources of knowledge. Such knowledge flow can take place in a variety of ways such as academic publications and contract research, but also in more collaborative modes such as joint research projects. This paper focuses on a specific collaborative model, in which firms and universities are involved together in a PhD project. We analyze the effects of project management, communication, and supervision characteristics on the success of such PhD projects using a survey conducted at Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. We conclude that management decisions, supervision and communication characteristics have a significant impact on the ultimate success of a project. Among other things, the choice of university supervisor plays a pivotal role. Success is more likely if there is joint decision-making by both university and partner. We believe our findings help universities and firms to collaborate successfully.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-830
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Collaboration success
  • Collaborative PhD projects
  • University-industry collaborations


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