CO-IN Model as a holistic approach in university-industry collaboration in developing countries

Slavica Trajkovska
Institute for Research in Environment, Civil Engineering and Energy

Angelina Taneva-Veshoska
Institute for Research in Environment, Civil Engineering and Energy

Ana Tomikj
Institute for Research in Environment, Civil Engineering and Energy

Kristina Antikj-Georgievski
Institute for Research in Environment, Civil Engineering and Energy

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present practitioner experiences and results achieved using the CO-IN model as holistic approach in building and nurturing university-industry collaborations. This paper will put a special focus on the existing practices and examine the university-industry collaboration in developing countries from a dynamical aspect, following the process when companies and universities transform into smart organisations.
Design/methodology/approach: The CO-IN model is a unique model, designed to establish and enhance collaborative and innovative partnerships. These strategic university-industry alliances contribute to accelerate research, innovation, knowledge and technology transfer in developing countries. The university-industry collaboration affects the involved organisations as they progress towards 4th generation Universities (Entrepreneurial Universities) and learning organisations. Their activities create significant impact in wider society and affect the value system of the organisations and people.
Findings: After exploring the current situation of investments in R&D and constraints the private sector faces, it was concluded that there is a lack of local, regional and national funding in R&D. The incentives of the business sector to invest in research and innovation activities, the return on these investments and university-industry collaborations have been also explored. Conclusions led to the necessity to employ unique holistic approach toward building university-industry collaboration. This can be accomplished by the following steps: established proper running Cooperative R&D Units with capacity to initiate and conduct joint R&D&I activities; new joint research projects piloted and new research proposals initiated; increased awareness about importance of cooperative research and added value from MSc and PhD; functional collaborative and open innovation web based platform; new opportunities to network for universities, companies and students; new training programs and innovative activities develop and implemented by professors and professionals from industry; successful implementation of pilot projects and positive evaluation and career progress of students and alumni. All this activities will lead to sustainable systems in the developing countries.
Practical implications: The CO-IN model contributed in engaging academic and business organisations in joint research and educational projects. It was tested at the in the civil engineering sector in Macedonia, where positive results were obtained. More specifically, Cooperative R&D centres were established in mutual cooperation between universities and businesses. The CO-IN model has proven successful results in the last 4 years, and was validated by the VAIC method measuring the intellectual capital in civil engineering company. The European Commission recognized the CO-IN model and granted three-year project for implementing this model in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Armenia.
Research limitations/implications: Our recommendation is to replicate the research, employ the CO-IN model in new industries, and compare the analyses with different developing countries. This study is expected to increase the motivation of other companies to invest more in R&D activities and engage in collaborative innovation partnerships.
Originality/value: This research contributes to the filed by offering new findings and proposing new model for enhancing company’s competitiveness and innovation. This study adds to the body of literature in what is considered relatively new and unexplored area of study.