Innovation Partnerships Network

Innovation Partnership Network
IPN is a cross-sector network of businesses and universities committed to improving strategic research partnerships and the region’s innovation leadership.

About Innovation Partnerships Network


Innovation Partnerships Network is a New England-based, cross-sector network of industry and university leaders and practitioners committed to improving their organizations’ strategic research partnerships and the region’s innovation leadership. It was established with the goal of identifying and developing new roadmaps to guide next-generation, strategic university-industry research partnerships. IPN is an initiative of Mass Insight Global Partnerships.

The Context
There are grand challenges facing a wide variety of domains that require a new model of university-industry partnerships to solve them.  It is in both the universities’ and industries’ interest to work together to solve them, but there are many obstacles to effective partnerships. The existing university research model, developed in the context of a federal funding model that emerged after World War II, has struggled to adapt to the multi-disciplinary approaches required to solve more quickly the grand challenges we all face. At the same time, the available federal funding for research is flat or declining, and industry has pulled back from funding foundational research, increasing the pressure on universities to do more with fewer resources.

We need to identify and promote a new and better approach as to university-industry partnerships that will drive foundational research, bridge the gap between basic and translational research, and develop talent as an embedded element of research, and advocate state and federal policies to better support a robust system of partnerships.

Through the research, we are building a national and international, cross-sector, network of industry and university leaders who drive their organization’s strategic partnerships.

Research Study
The study focus is on three major contributors to long term regional competitiveness: Life Sciences, Advanced Materials, and the cross-cutting importance of Big Data Analytics. Promising partnership models in the U.S., as well as emerging models abroad will be examined.

Framed by the CEO/expert interviews and developed through interviews with industry and university representatives of promising research partnerships, the study will produce:

  • A road map for “innovation partnerships” in research, with talent development as an embedded element, benchmarking current best practices against emerging models,
  • A Science +Technology policy agenda, particularly timely in Massachusetts for the new governor, to incentivize new large scale collaborations between industry and universities based on a review of 10 years of Massachusetts S+T policies and investments – and a federal funding agenda for the congressional delegation.

The Goal

“Bridging this disconnect (between academia and industry) will be critical to maintaining the global economic prominence of the United States – and from a more local perspective – to positioning, Boston, Massachusetts and the broader New England region as leaders in the country’s innovation economy. … large-scale strategic alliances between academia and industry and increased industry funding for academic research will be critical components to maintaining the country’s innovation ecosystem.” – IPN Partnership Roadmap Report

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