This interesting article on the Nature News which explores the idea of academia and industry being brought together under the same roof.
Anyone working in research will have noticed that academia and the chemical industry have been coming closer and closer together in recent years. Many of my fellow PhD students at Nottingham are at least partly funded by a chemical company, and there are more and more seminars and events being centered around forging links with industry. With academic careers becoming increasingly difficult to land, and long-term funding being like gold dust, careers in industrial research are becoming more appealing to PhD graduates and post docs.
Companies often want to enlist leading academics in order to provide themselves with expertise that they just don’t have access to, and will gladly forge relationships with universities in order to improve their research. Chemistry departments have in turn have developed their own business partnership units in order to establish strong links with industry that benefit both parties.
This article suggests pushing this even further – moving industry into universities so that both parties are within easy reach of each other. A whole raft of benefits is possible – with everyone in such close proximity, academics and industrial researchers alike can bounce ideas off of each other, give students a broader experience of chemistry and work together towards an end goal of creating something which can benefit the world.
Of course, there are many factors which must be considered with such ideas – intellectual property ownership, funding sources, integration into education, etc. – but it is a very interesting idea, and many institutions may want to consider it in the future.