The cultural differences and frequent misperceptions between academia and industry have clouded their complementary relationships and the opportunity for positive collaborations between them. Cooper and Novitch (1992) have described the long-range needs of industry from academic medical centers, which include the following: patients, prestige, patents, publications, and personnel.
The committee sought to explore these relationships in general terms as well as from the perspective of clinical research. In the development of these opportunities, the clinical investigator plays a key role in transferring the technology to improved patient care. The extent, consequences, and management of these new academic-industry relationships in the life sciences have been reviewed recently by Blumenthal (1992). This chapter discusses the relationships between research institutions and industry and the implications of the changing patterns of interactions.
Linkages between academic institutions and industry are often viewed with suspicion and disdain because the motivations and cultures of the two participants are quite different. Knowledge for its own sake is the accepted and desired output from academic research, and industry is motivated by the potential for the efficient production of goods and services in a competitive marketplace (Low, 1983). According to Cooper and Novitch (1992), there is nothing inherently corrupting about the presence of industrial funding in academic medical centers because all research funding has economic components and determinants. They also posit that regulatory rules and requirements to gain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, not industry's profit-making orientation, are the major impediments to academic-industry collaborations. Academicians, on the other hand, perceive that research structured to gain regulatory approval removes the freedom to pursue their own research paths and is not highly regarded by promotion committees. Although academic norms are founded on the open communication and publication of research findings, industry must protect proprietary information to remain competitive. Nonetheless, there are also many common objectives and common needs by both parties. Industry needs a continuous stream of highly skilled talent to work at the cutting-edge of research and product development. Academicians may be better prepared to teach and perform cutting-edge research with potential practical applications through close ties to industry (Low, 1983). Melding the unique contributions each can make to positive research collaborations can facilitate the rapid and efficient transfer of new knowledge to medical care.