During her four years at the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC), Project Manager Becky MacAngus has seen at close hand what makes an innovation project work well, and how academics and businesses can collaborate effectively.
When we asked her about her recipe for success – both for winning funding and managing a project – two words came up again and again: understanding and communication.
In your experience, are there common elements in projects that are successful in winning OGIC funding – or other innovation funding?
OGIC is an open door to any technology idea, which isn’t common within the innovation or funding landscape, and is valuable to the industry. It means we see a wide variety of ideas and projects, and are well placed to understand the best route for support and funding.
For me, based on the projects we see, three common elements stand out.
- First, there’s a clear understanding of the solution being developed.
- Second, there’s an understanding of the market need for the technology.
- Third, the company must be willing to put in the effort to obtain the funding, i.e. filling in the relevant forms to an appropriate standard.
Do you have tips on making a project run smoothly?
A good working relationship between the university and the company is essential, especially keeping the line of communication open. This ensures that (1) the expectations from both parties don’t come as a surprise towards the end of a project and (2) everyone works to a common goal and understands the path to get there right from the start.
Those universities and companies that understand how projects should be run are the ones that are the most successful, with both parties coming away from the project with a good outcome.
We’ve heard you have an acronym for how to make academic-business collaboration work?
Yes, here’s my RECIPE for success!
- Relationship – a strong professional relationship is a good foundation for success
- Engagement – both parties should show true engagement with the project
- Communication – between all contributors to the project
- Idea – any new ideas or changes to the route a project could take should be put forward for discussion – i.e., a better way of doing something should be considered by both parties
- Process – keep the project process in mind at all times to keep on track
- Expectations – don’t over-promise if it’s unrealistic.
Follow that recipe and you’ll be on the right track.