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Published: 28 Dec, 2020

Samverkan för forskningen framåt

NEWS Strengths and weaknesses in research collaboration, challenging thoughts about boundaries between academia and the business community, and discussions concerning collaboration. This was the focus the third major workshop at the Industrial Doctoral School for Research and Innovation, where all current, past and future collaborative partners, academic supervisors, doctoral students and other interested parties were invited to participate.

Text: Ingrid Söderbergh

This year’s theme Outreach and collaboration – for whom and for what purpose? aimed at opening up discussions on how research cooperation is being conducted.

Collaboration as a factor for success

The day commenced with opening remarks from Professor Dieter Muller, who is chairperson of the Industrial Doctoral School for Research and Innovation’s steering group. He talked about science as a success story when it comes to the Industrial Doctoral School for Research and Innovation and emphasised that in the ideal and vision of Sweden’s research policy, joint collaborations are a vital ingredient.

“The Industrial Doctoral School for Research and Innovation is one way to respond and meet such a demand. Research is not an isolated entity, but rather we embrace the idea of collaboration. In addition to improving the quality of research, the results are also embedded in a societal context,” notes Dieter Muller.

Increased credibility

Roger Filipsson, Coompanion Nord, took over the stage after Dieter Muller and spoke about his experiences of collaboration with the academic world. It wasn’t easy for him to find an entrance to the University. But once he has established contacts, the collaboration aspect has been a tremendous asset, for example only one such a thing being able to use Umeå University’s logo has increased the credibility of his activities.

After this then all doctoral students had one minute to pitch their project – meaning summarising the essence and core of their research in an inspiring way. After this time was set aside for the participants to engage in discussions with the doctoral students and look over their posters in Café KBC outside the lecture hall.

“The workshop is a really important meeting point so that everyone in the Industrial Doctoral School for Research and Innovation has the opportunity to meet and discuss things. It is in the meeting that new ideas are born,” notes Professor Anna Linusson, Director of the Industrial Doctoral School for Research and Innovation at Umeå University, who enjoyed mingling around the posters.

Understanding the concept

The afternoon was devoted to Maria Grafström, SCORE/Stockholm University and Anna Jonsson, SCORE/Lund University, who theorised and did a deep dive into the concept of “boundary work” and how we should understand what collaboration is.

The distance between research and the society-at-large, the “gap,” is a gap that must, according to the lecturers, exist in order to keep the disciplines apart. Bridging the gap is to translate the knowledge into practice, that expertise and the work constitute “boundary work.”

Above all, we are told that “we need to work together jointly more.” But what does that mean? How do we understand the phrase? How can jointly work together take place? What will be the consequence of the jointly working together be? These were questions that Maria Grafström and Anna Jonsson raised.

The day concluded with a panel debate. Lectures and discussions were held in English, and the moderator was Anna Linusson.