Who are the Boundary Spanning Agents and what does it take to become one?
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 ‘Who are the Boundary Spanning Agents and what does it take to become one?’ 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.
Jose Villagran-Polo (author) is a Project Officer at UIIN and works on topics related to university-business collaboration, entrepreneurial education and the role of university-based incubators in their regions.