I work for a relatively big manufacturing company, we just opened a new R&D department where we are expected to develop some new engineering capabilities (new for us, not for everyone in the market).

I have identified an academic expert (from another country) whose advice may help us to reach our desired capabilities faster and in line with the state-of-the-art methodologies. I want to bring him aboard but I'm not sure what approach to take.

What are the most important factors academics look at when considering a collaboration with industry?

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    They all want the same: Money that is not bound to specific expenses in a distinct project. Free money, from industry. To pay repairs of instruments, to pay a student or postdoc (they sometimes have high vapour pressure) for two months until the start of a funded project, to send a student to one more conference, etc. – Karl Oct 21 '19 at 19:34

There are a few things that appeal to academics, not just money (as a commenter has suggested).

One is access to ideas that might result in publishable research. This is both for themselves and, perhaps more importantly, ideas that students can turn in to theses and careers. This might just be access to data that might be explored.

The second is an opportunity to test out theoretical ideas in a real-world scenario. Academic experiments are often too small to truly give confidence. An industry partner might help with this.

And yes, money is good too. Sometimes the money can release a faculty member from some tasks of a lower priority to them, letting them work on more interesting things. But they also need money to support their work, even if it is just money to travel to conferences and meetings. And money to support students is a positive thing, along with the possible experience those students might get from an industry partnership.

But most academics aren't primarily driven by money. They would have made different choices if they were.

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