How do professors find consulting projects to be a part of?
I think there are endless possibilities and no definitive answer. So just to name a few:
- A company rep sees a talk of the professor´s group and sees that they are a good fit.
- A company rep reads an article of the professor´s group and sees that they are a good fit. (Which not only includes articles in academic journals.)
- They know each other from former joint projects (like publicly funded ones with industry partners, ...).
- A former student/colleague works for the company and knows the professor is a good fit.
- They search online for professors/institues that fit their needs.
- The professor worked for them before going into academia.
- They get refered to him by other companies/institutes/individuals.
The university engineering department has strong contacts with the industry & companies over years and has tailored degrees and other qualifications to meet industry needs for years.
Industry partnerships (companies working together) have also funded special test equipment in the university and share the results, while research students do the work as part of their masters or PhD.