Collaboration is one way your business can innovate. By joining forces with other businesses or researchers, you can bring new expertise and ideas to your business challenges.

Collaboration can include:

  • researching with a university or organisation
  • partnering with other companies
  • seeking access, licences, technology or knowledge from another organisation.

1. Find out how collaboration can help your business

Working together with others can help your business to:

  • stay ahead of the competition
  • turn your ideas into reality
  • access new insights and advice
  • develop the skills of your employees
  • build a culture of innovation.

If you want to gain a market advantage, collaborating with an expert from a university or the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) can help. They can give you access to the latest research, technology and expertise.

Research shows a 4.5:1 return on investment in research innovation for your business.

2. Identify collaboration opportunities

There are many different opportunities where you can collaborate, including to:

  • identify innovative ideas and solutions
  • develop new products or services
  • solve real-world challenges faced by your business
  • access specialist skills or equipment
  • share and minimise the risk from research projects
  • provide product testing and verification.

Collaboration can take many forms and doesn't need to be complicated. Even connecting informally with an expert can have a positive impact for your business.

Research collaboration

Research collaboration is a popular way for businesses to be innovative. Researchers tend to be at the forefront of their fields, where they develop and create opportunities to commercialise new technology.

You can work with researchers in different ways through:

  • formal joint research and development projects, where you and the research organisation work together towards a common goal
  • PhD placements, where a student researcher can work on a project for your business
  • fee-for-service, or consultation, with a research organisation to provide you with expert knowledge, skills and know-how
  • licensing intellectual property (IP) from research organisations
  • attending workshops, events or training activities
  • informal chats with local university academics or lecturers.

3. Find a collaboration partner

Once you have your ideas for collaboration, the next step is determining which partners will best suit your needs. Narrow down potential partners by understanding how a partner will contribute, and what your ideal outcome is.

Consider reaching out to:

  • organisations that you already have a relationship with
  • universities and government agencies
  • businesses in different fields
  • businesses at a different stage, such as a start-up or established
  • networks across industries.

You don't have to work with a business that is exactly like you. Collaborations with other businesses can help you to build capacity and find projects and innovations that you could adapt to your market.

Research partners

If you think that a research partner best suits your needs, you can get started finding a partner by:

4. Get finance to support your collaboration

Collaborations require precious time and money just like any other area of your business.

You can fund collaborations with:

  • your own funds
  • government grants
  • venture capital and angel investors
  • crowd funding.

5. Find a grant or program

There is a broad range of free services, grants and matched funding that can help you collaborate with an expert and bring your ideas to life.

Get funding

Place a researcher in your business

Search for government grants and assistance programs

Use our search tool to find grants, funding or assistance programs to help your business grow and succeed.

Search now

6. Manage Intellectual Property (IP)

Managing the IP in your collaborations with researchers can be complex. The Department of Industry, Science and Resources and IP Australia have put together a toolkit to help you get started.

The toolkit includes:

  • a checklist covering key issues for you to consider
  • templates for a contract, confidentiality agreement and term sheet
  • general guidance and information to help manage your IP when collaborating.

Take a look at how the IP Toolkit can help your next collaboration.

Higher Education Research Commercialisation Intellectual Property Framework

The Higher Education Research Commercialisation (HERC) Intellectual Property (IP) Framework (the Framework) helps businesses to work with universities on research and commercial projects.

The Framework helps businesses by providing: 

  • step-by-step information to help you learn more about IP in university-industry collaborative research 
  • standardised agreement templates to assist in the negotiation process.

Was this page helpful?