The role of the university in developing business from science


The purpose of this essay is to elaborate the alignment between university and industry to develop business based on science. It will include the environment of collaboration between firms and universities. There are negatives views of aligning research result from universities to industries however research also show that the benefits come from this activities. Industries depend on universities in many cases and universities generate earning by commercialization of their research.


Key words:  universities, industries, collaboration, commercialization, business





Washburn Jennifer (2005) implies that university began to utilize their asset and knowledge more aggressively since 1975. There was an energy crisis in that period. Therefore, the government reduce its research and education expenditure. It creates the problem for universities since that it was impossible to reduce or stop teaching and researching activity.

Industries demand especially in technological consultancy (Salter & Martin 2001). The role of universities can be seen in the following table:





Importance to Industrial R&D of Sources of Information on Public R & D (Including University research

Information source Rating it as ‘very important’ for Industrial R&D (%)
Publication and reports 41.2
Informal Interaction 35.6
Meetings and conferences 35.1
Consulting 31.8
Contract research 20.9
Recent hires 19.6
Cooperative R&D projects 17.9
Licenses 9.5
Personnel exchange 5.8

Source: Cohen et al (2002) in Mark Dodgson (2007)


This table shows that the highest ratings of industries demand on universities are publication and reports at 41.2 percents and 31.8 percents for consulting. It implies that the majority of demand from industries to universities’ research is in publication and reports. Industries also believe that meetings and conference are also important at 35.1 percents. However, only 17.9 percents of cooperative R&D projects regarding that it is the significant contribution to both party.

Moreover, Washburn (2005) implies that commercialization of research outcome from universities brought some negatives respond from inside universities and society. Industries claimed that they had pay taxes and they have a right to access every data and information from university. In many cases scholars afraid that it would have a negative impact and conflict of interest.

A researcher from a university received a huge amount of money to conduct the research on the impact of smoking from a company, which produce cigarette. The result was that there were no scientific data to support that smoking can create heart disease. People were easy to influence with this misinformation and the cigarette company support the result with big campaign. It creates more problems for society and university’s community.

Another example is the case of UC Berkley and Novartis coalition in early 80s. They were engaging in cooperation on biotechnology although the majority of the fellows did not support this cooperation.

However, learning and researching require a lot of money. It is almost impossible to support all academic activity and human resources expenditure properly with government subsidizing. More over, the process of patenting the technology also required sufficient financing that could not be support completely by government funding and sometimes the processes take a long period of time. It need 4 to nine years for the product of technology to be granted of patent in Indonesia. In this period researcher must prepare with sufficient budget to get the product tested and confirmed that this particular product has under no circumstances been patented.

The research shows that universities play the important role in inventing and developed technology which commercialized by industries. There are some product which are used by people come from university.

We are now live in biotechnology era where many scientists from universities try to develop vaccines, devices or super quality plant to make our life more comfortable and easier. Most of scientists work in-group or network. It is not common to work individually to achieve high standard of medicine, for example.




OECD research (2001) shows that innovation is a key driver to achieve economic welfare. OECD countries engage their mutual need by innovation. Every nation develops its own competitive strategy but they have good connection. Developing countries should keep up with this speed if they do not to left behind. Therefore developing countries has to accommodate the new way to catch up and meet economic welfare with competitive advantage.

The three stream of universities has come to operate in Indonesia. We call it Tri Dharma Perguruan Tinggi or three dedicated function of higher education. The major goal of universities is to educate people. The Education function of university is vital. The second function is research activities which enrich the teaching activities. The third function is more to socio and economic part. Universities should benefit their stakeholder, employment market and cultural structure of community.

Furthermore, science and technology are the major part in innovation. Most of developing countries equip with limited budget to support their research and development so they are lack of knowledge in science and technology. More over many companies with global network are rarely using the R&D from domestic countries. They are using the process or technology from their principal. However, there are small number of universities have good relations with industries and they can produce good financial result and people got benefit from this.

The role of patent is also important to view the contribution of universities to economic development. Intellectual Property (IP) management are vary between countries and only small number of patents success to reach market. In other side, the highest level of IP granted occur in develop countries such as the USA and Japan. The protection awareness take a chief portion in these communities which still in early stages for many countries in Asia.

Besides universities should have a very high standard to involve in business. Some cases show that certain university tend to get over their academic authority in doing business. “University is not for sale” was one of the flyer in a demonstration in UC Berkley when they reject the plan of their fellows to have a cooperation with Novartis. It is true that not everything can be sold by universities. They have to consider many aspects.

Since the oil crisis in 1974 government in many countries decline their budget for non-profit funding such us R&D finance and universities. Government assume venture on distribution, health or transportation are more important than in education or research which have non direct effect to the welfare of people. This lead universities have to self sustain to keep their education performance.

Moreover there are an increasing share of industry to university R&D in the form of joint project, contract or financing of researchers. Universities provide not only with high standard of intellectual people but also with high-tech laboratories which required from government budget so it is much cheaper if they could provide by their own. Researcher also benefit with this collaboration in order to finance their research.



  • What are the most important features at the question as they apply to developing business from sciences

How should university commercial their research outcome

What aspect that industry want to collaborate with univerties

Influence to social

To balance between education and commercial activity


There are economic value and social competence to be considered to develop business from science. It is not only how the rules and regulations should be done in order to have a business going well but also the important factors are the supporting facility and social capacity. Universities and research institute consist of people with ethic and value. The flow of the creation of invention should not violate this value. However, it is consider that creativity comes from the freedom of mind. Consequently, societies should develop productive environment not only for university/research organisation but also for industry side. University should has its own authority in order to gain the highest standard of higher education.

Business need to earn profit. Moreover business require conducive atmosphere internally and externally. It is hard to make profitable activity with unstable situation or without government guideline.

Government also play important role in delivering business from sciences. It require a lot of money to provide business and research with resources like electricity, water supply and transportation. Research conducted by in West Java shows that it has a significant relation between infrastructure and the capability of university to contribute to society. Regions with sufficient water resources and electricity are more aggressive in achieving the economic advantage than regions with insufficient resources

Market is other factor that required to develop business from science.

University and research institute



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Revolusi Mental menuju Penguatan Kapasitas Ilmu Pengetahuan dan Teknologi

Pengalaman pertama biasanya sulit dilupakan seperti pertama kali menjalani waktu disebuah backpacker. Dengan dua kopor berbobot 40kg di Yellow Submarine Backpackers di Brisbane Australia. Kamar sempit berisi 2 tempat tidur bertingkat dan 1 tempat tidur single Baju kotor dan perangkat makan bekas menumpuk di atas keempat tempat tidur dan menyisakan satu tempat tidur untuk saya. Saat itu saya membayangkan tempat yang akan saya gunakan untuk mandi, mencuci dan masak pastinya lebih berantakan.

Setelah meletakan satu kopor berisi dokumen-dokumen penting diatas tempat tidur, saya berjalan ke tempat makan. Pada satu sisi terdapat lemari pendingin tembus pandang yang didalamnya kita bisa melihat sayuran, daging, minuman, makanan kering tanpa dibubuhi label nama. Meja-meja terlihat rapih dan bersih. Pada sisi yang bersebrangan terdapat kompor, tempat cuci piring yang bersih tak berbekas. Ternyata dugaan saya salah. Tempat tidur memang berantakan tapi fasilitas umumnya rapih terjaga.

Setelah lapor diri ke Universitas, saya kembali ke tempat menginap. Saya membayangkan asap rokok dan ributnya kamar dengan ukuran kecil itu diisi oleh 5 orang. Ternyata saya salah juga. Keempat teman sekamar terdiri dari 2 orang laki-laki dan 2 orang perempuan. Merokok dilakukan didekat telepon umum dan mesin cuci yang berjejer diluar bukan di dalam kamar (tapi saya tidak melihat larangan itu).

Dimalam musim dingin itu sambil memamerkan blangkon, uang pecahan rupiah dan bercerita Roro Mendut dan Malin Kundang, saya sempatkan bertanya sanksi apa yang akan saya terima jika saya lupa mengambil daging milik orang lain di kulkas atau lupa membersihkan alat masak didapur. Jawabannya, tidak ada hukumannya. Saya belajar untuk menyesuaikan dengan caranya menghormati dan menjaga kepentingan bersama walaupuan punya sendiri berantakan.

Dijalan raya dua arah di sana, kita jarang melihat kendaraan saling menyusul walaupun tidak disetiap ruas jalan dilengkapi speed camera. Sesekali mobil pemadam kebakaran melintas cepat. Kendaraan roda dua, roda empat dan truk bisa masuk jalan bebas hambatan dengan jalur kanan yang steril. Kendaraan yang mendahului di jalan tol akan kembali ke bahu tengah atau kiri jalan.

Seperti di sampaikan Presiden Joko Widodo, maka kita menghadapi suatu paradox pelik setelah 16 tahun melaksanakan reformasi. Tradisi dan budaya yang tumbuh mulai dari korupsi, intoleransi terhadap perbedaan dan sifat kerakusan semakin merajalela. Jika boleh membandingkan dengan cerita mengenai penghuni backpacker, maka kita bersikap terbalik sehingga ruang tidur rapi tapi ruang bersama menjadi berantakan. Tinggal di rumah yang asri dan bersih tidak berarti diluar akan lebih bersih. Malah mungkin bersihnya rumah setelah sampahnya dibuang ke sungai. Termasuk dijalan, nyawa dan keselamatan manusia dipermainkan. Sambil makan siang dengan penumpang kendaraan sewaan, saya bertanya bagaimana mungkin dia bisa membawa kendaraannya tepat waktu. Menurutnya, tetaplah di tengah dan kiri lajur. Dilajur kanan, pengendara bisa mengendarai sambil mengoperasikan alat komunikasi dengan kecepatan 60km/jam. Tidak peduli antrian mobil yang berusaha mendahului (mungkin aparat bisa menggunakan drone untuk mengatur pengendara penghambat di lajur mendahului di jalan bebas hambatan)

Sekilas Kerangka Teoritis untuk Revolusi Mental

Dalam pendahuluan tulisannya Self-regulation, strategic leadership and paradox in organizational change, Amy Taylor-Bianco dan John Schermerhorn Jr memberikan ilustrasi “Hamlet Dilema” sebagai pengantar tulisan  berjudul. Ilustrasi tersebut merepresentasikan peran kompatibilitas sebuah tugas dengan orang yang melaksanakannya dalam menghadapai ketidak pasatian dalam perubahan. Self regulation berbasis pada Regulatory Focus Theory (RFT) yang dikembangkan oleh Higgins (1997). Dalam pendekatan ini menekankan pentingnya persepsi masyarakat atas proses pengembilan keputusan dan cara mencapai tujuan. Diperlukan keserasian antara orientasi individu dengan tujuan yang ingin dicapai.

Paradox merupakan kesetimbangan dalam sebuah perubahan. Bahwa perubahan adalah keniscayaan dan kestabilan harus tetap dijaga.

Reformasi yang telah dilaksanakan seolah berada pada promotion-focus dari RFT sehingga terus bergulir dan tidak mengindahkan kestabilan. Kemandirian ekonomi terwujud diatas kestabilan sosial dan politik. Pendekatan RFT relevan, paling tidak sampai saat ini, dalam memandang ironi yang terjadi dalam pengelelolaan ekonomi makro.

Gerakan bisa dipandang sebagai kontrak sosial. Yang merupakan kesepakatan atas dasar sukarela antar individu atau institusi dalam mengatur hubungan antara anggota melalui perlindungan hak dalam mencapai tujuan tertentu. Jika ditarik dari sejarah, maka Socrates yang pertama kali mengembangkan kontrak sosial dengan memberi pilihan pada masyarakat Athena untuk tetap tinggal dan mematuhi aturan atau keluar. Dokumentasi dilakukan oleh Thomas Hobbes, John Locke dan Jean-Jacques Rousseau dengan teori kontrak sosial modern.

Terdapat dua kontrak sosial yang diakui berpengaruh dalam pengembangan pendidikan, dan pengembangan ilmu & pengetahuan yaitu Kontrak Sosial Humboldt dan Vannevar Bush. Pada kontrak sosial Humboldt dilakukan penyatuan kegiatan pengajaran dan penelitian di universitas. Porsi dalam melakukan penelitian adalah 30 – 50 persen dari waktu kerja seorang akademisi. Tingkat otonomi yang tinggi diberikan pada akademisi dalam melaksanakan penelitiannya. Sementara kontrak sosial Vannevar Bush diakui berkontribusi terhadap peningkatan jumlah aplikasi penemuan ilmiah sebesar 20%. Vannevar Bush adalah the USA’s first presidential science advisor yang dikenal dengan Science: The Endless Frontier yang merekomendasikan alur dari riset dasar sampai ke hilir untuk diadopsi dalam kebijakan nasional.

Pengembangan teknologi merupakan investasi jangka panjang dengan resiko dan ketidakpastian yang tinggi. Afirmasi regulator terhadap komitmen anggaran teruji dengan alokasi yang tidak populer ini. Namun, berbeda dengan investasi lain, maka investasi pada iptek adalah satu-satunya alat yang tidak tunduk terhadap the law of diminishing  marginal return (LDMR). Maksudnya berbeda dengan investasi pada sumberdaya alam dan sumberdaya manusia, maka investasi pada pengembangan ilmu pengetahuan tidak mengalami tingkat kenaikan yang menurun. Dibutuhkan kedewasaan untuk berani mengunci gross domestic expenditure for research and development (GERD) dengan besaran yang layak. Misalnya investasi pada SDA naik maka SDM dan Iptek bisa tidak terpengaruh atau bisa juga turun, tapi investasi pada iptek naik maka manfaat pada SDA dan SDM  mengikuti

Tidak semua bisa teratur dengan peraturan. Aturan bersifat satu arah sehingga ada yang mengatur dan ada yang merasa harus mengikuti aturan. Gerakan (movement) yang merupakan bentuk dari kontrak sosial menjaga sistem inovasi sehingga menghindari pandangan masyarakat inovasi sebagai “penampakan” ada tapi tidak ada. Seluruh elemen dalam kerangka Revolusi Mental menyusun bersama, bekerja bersama dan merasa bertanggung-jawab bersama. Hal ini perwujudan kongkrit dari sebuah gerakan. Masalah pergaraman, pergulaan, persapian atau pengembangan iptek bukan lagi urusan pemerintah semata.

“It is in our Gene”

Dalam sambutannya pada Relawan Indonesia Mengajar, Menteri Pendidikan Nasional Anies Baswedan memberi ilustrasi bahwa perjuangan bangsa mencapai kemerdekaan merupakan sebuah gerakan. Kemerdekaan tidak mungkin terjadi saat perjuangan menjadi program Tentara atau urusan Kementerian Pertahanan saja, misalnya.

Dari pengalaman negara-negara maju dalam pengembangan teknologi tidak bisa secara utuh dilaksanakan di Tanah Air. Jumlah huruf tidak bertambah sejak pertama kali digunakan dan jumlah notasi lagu juga tetap, namun seperti pada kaidah Best Owner Principle, maka kata dan notasi menjadi bermakna bagi pemilik yang tepat. Riset menunjukan bahwa inovasi teknologi yang berhasil dipengaruh oleh kapasitas internal (endogenous).

Menarik untuk mengarahkan perhatian pada usaha Raja Ubud Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati dalam merubah struktur masyarakat pertanian menjadi masyarakat seni, sehingga ekonomi Bali yang tadinya berbasis pada ekonomi agri menjadi ekonomi pariwisata melalui pengembangan berkesenian. Sukawati menggandeng Antonio Blanco dan Affandi dalam mewujudkan visi besarnya ini. Mungkin tanpa beliau, Bali menjadi daerah penghasil beras, kopi, bambu dan bukan tujuan wisata.

Gerakan Nasional Revolusi Mental menjadi relevan dalam penguatan kapasitas ilmu pengetahuan dan teknologi. Bahwa innovation begins with people. Paling tidak, dalam konsep alih teknologi, komunikasi dua arah menjadi syarat kunci keberhasilan. Maka keterlibatan struktur sosio-teknikal, aturan perundang-undangan, pasar, budaya dan aransemen kelembagaan menjadi penting. Momen penguatan Iptek yang tertunda sangat mungkin kembali di perkuat dengan revolusi mental saat ini.