Getting Rid of University Red Tape When Collaborating with Academics

Getting Rid of University Red Tape When Collaborating with Academics
by NotedSource

University red tape can be a major obstacle to collaboration between academics and industry. This is especially true for those who are not affiliated with a university, entrepreneurs, and policymakers.

There are a number of reasons why university red tape can be so burdensome. First, universities often have complex and time-consuming approval processes for everything from collaborating with external partners to sharing data. Second, universities may have different policies and procedures for different departments or schools, which can make it difficult to navigate the system. Third, university staff may not be familiar with the needs of external partners, which can lead to delays and misunderstandings.  Often those who are interested in working closely with academics or professors may abandon the project due to the time and expense associated with it.  

If you are fortunate enough to work for a business that supports you academic and university collaborations with a budget, and are looking for a way to streamline the process there are ways to make the process faster and more cost effective.  

The following are some tips for getting rid of university red tape when collaborating with academics, PhDs, and professors:

  • Start by identifying the key decision-makers: Who are the people who need to approve your collaboration? Is there someone in your business who needs to approve the budget, and the project?  

  • Once you have your project and budget approved internally, you can start by seeking the right thought leader or scientist:  Start by conducting an internet search, and then identifying the literature and papers of interest to you. Once you know who they are you can start to build relationships.

  • Be clear about your goals: What do you hope to achieve by collaborating with academics? Once you know your goals, you can start to develop a proposal that addresses the needs of both parties.

  • Be prepared to compromise: Universities may not be able to meet all of your demands. However, it's important to make sure that the core of your collaboration is still intact.

  • Be patient: It can take time to navigate the bureaucracy internally and with the university or researcher, so be patient and persistent. Don't give up if you don't get everything you want right away.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of getting your collaboration approved by your business and the university. This will help you to achieve your goals and make a real impact on the world.

In addition to the tips above there is for the first time now various software that can reduce university red tape by doing the following:

  • Streamlining the approval process: Look for a software platform that includes an automatic NDA with the researchers you choose, signs a contract with the researchers you choose, creates time sheets with the researchers you choose,remit payment to the researchers you choose, and negotiates a researchers rate of pay for you.  While this may seem like a lot for one software platform, you should look for platforms that provide you and the researchers with a single MSA.  These practices are extremely common in the GIG economy on platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork.  Fortunately, platforms like, offer these services and more specifically for companies looking to work with academics, PhDs, or universities.

  • Contacting the researcher, not the university:  While the universities may have strict rules and lots of paperwork to work with their professors, most university professors are free to offer consulting services, and research services outside of the universities involvement.  By getting direct access to these researchers you will be able to contact them directly and avoid having to go through a complicated university process.  The NotedSource platform has a large searchable repository of PhDs, professors, and researchers in all fields who are interested in productive and cost effective collaborations with industry.

  • Creating a culture of collaboration by setting milestones for completion and payment, easy communications, and secure document sharing: Regardless of the technology you choose to facilitate your academic collaborations, make sure that the expectations from your researcher are clear.  Fortunately, NotedSource also offers a platform where you can easily set and keep track of expectations.

By taking these steps you can reduce red tape and make it easier for academics to collaborate with external partners. This will help to promote innovation and knowledge sharing, and it will benefit the university, the academics, and the wider community.