Alignment by Partners with the Adaptable University

  • Edward Crawley
  • John Hegarty
  • Kristina Edström
  • Juan Cristobal Garcia Sanchez


How can partners better align their actions to support a university’s contribution to economic development?

For a university to be effective in its broadened economic mission, the university’s partners must take reciprocal action for alignment. Partners are the stakeholders with whom the university actively exchanges knowledge. Key partners are industry and enterprise, government and philanthropies.

Alignment occurs when the partners adopt practices that allow them to understand, support, and benefit from the university.

Alignment by partners ensures that the outcomes of the university actually lead to action by partners, and eventually benefit to society.

We advocate three practices for partners. Also part of the adaptive framework, these practices are:
  • Understanding the university’s needs and capabilities.

  • Building up the university’s capacity to contribute.

  • Developing the partner’s capacity to absorb outcomes from the university: talented graduates, research discoveries, and innovation creation.

These partner practices complement the actions to be taken by the university as part of a systematic approach to knowledge exchange. These university actions are: identifying the needs for stakeholders; executing the activities of the university with a sensitivity to those needs; and proactively exchanging outcomes with partners.


Alignment Partners Industry Enterprise Government Benefit Actions University’s needs Capacity Absorbing outcomes Co-creation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Crawley
    • 1
  • John Hegarty
    • 2
  • Kristina Edström
    • 3
  • Juan Cristobal Garcia Sanchez
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Trinity College DublinDublinIreland
  3. 3.KTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

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