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Report brief | Who are the Boundary Spanning Agents and what does it take to become one?

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As we mentioned in our recent article, collaborating with others is not always a naturally occurring process, in fact, it requires structures, processes, as well as capable people i.e., the drivers of engagement activities. These individuals, university-business collaboration (UBC) champions that we call “Boundary Spanning Agents”, require a specific set of skills, competencies and personality traits that help maximize the impact of such cooperation and ensure fair benefit for all parties. These individuals often go unnoticed, as not even themselves are aware of their unique potential and the importance of the role they play in connecting different players in the ecosystem.

In this executive summary of the ‘What Are Spanning Boundaries Agents and Why Are They So Important to the Future of the Knowledge Society’ research report, we want to share with you some of the main findings of our large scale investigation (a systematic review of 75 papers, 40+ interviews conducted with Boundary Spanning Champions, and 500+ survey responses) on the profile and role of the Boundary Spanning Agents. These champions of UBC work in the intersection of academia and industry to bring both worlds closer together and bridge the existing gaps with the ultimate goal of developing initiatives that help society as a whole to face the challenges of today and tomorrow.


External Engagement & Industry Partnerships: Developing enduring strategic partnerships with industry provides far greater and more sustainable value to universities than taking a more transactional approach that leads to one-off research projects or licensing arrangements. But so often, universities are not at a necessary state of ‘readiness’ and struggle to approach external partners strategically.


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