The Role of the Third Sector in Enhancing University, Industry
and Government Collaboration: A Case Study
Erol Ýnelmen, Boðaziçi University, Bebek,Ýstanbul, TURKEY, inelmen at boun.edu.tr
Abstract New research strategies are being implemented to third sector in enhancing univerisity-industry-goverment
cope with the ever growing competition between industrial collaboration.
enterprises. In Turkey, Boðaziçi University provides an
This paper aims at analyzing the organizational structure that
example of how a key research strategy -the enhancement of
lead to the recent improvement of the relations of Boðaziçi
university, industry and goverment collaboration- is
University with its environment. A closer look at the present
generating benefits to all parties involved. The integration of
organization shows how the integration of the university
19 research centers, a foundation, the student unions and the
foundation, alumni association and research centers -all
alumni association in the academic main stream is creating the
resident within the campus boundaries- created the
appropiate environment for developing a continuing education
atmosphere necessary for the much desired collaboration with
program at the service of the outside world. This integration -
industry and government. While the 6300 members of alumni
covering marketing, operation and finance activities- can be
association provide the university with information needed to
further enhanced if findings from recent research work on
envisage the mission for the year 2000, the university
interorganizational is implemented. Provided that some of the
foundation supports several research projects and provides
legal barriers are relaxed, its is hoped that this unique model
scholarship to students improving the academic performance.
of integration will be emulated by those in search for
Since the foundation of the Research Center in 1959, the
excellency in higher education.
number of research centers has increased rapidly, reaching
today the figure of 19. This results show that the model of
1. INTRODUCTION integration is unique and lessons can be drawn specially from
the experience of the past last ten years. Future more
systematic research of the complex relations existing between
The importance of promoting collaboration between industry these organizations -having multiple and in some cases
and universities in research work activities was recognized in conflicting goals- may provide better solutions to the
developed countries long ago. It was only when the problems been faced today.
goverment founded in 1963 the national research institute
(TUBITAK) that the framework for such a collaboration was
formally started  in Turkey. Parallel to the establishment of 2. RESEARCH STRATEGIES TODAY
this institute, Boðazici University -formerly Robert College,
founded in 1863 as an American establishment- created the
Research Center with the aim of contributing in joint projects In the second middle of the 20th century industrial companies
with local industries. An important turning point in the were challenged by the rapid pace of technological
academic history of the university was the meeting held in the innovations in consumer product market. Due to the short life
university campus jointly with the Association of Turkish cycle of technological products, it was realized that industrial
American Scientists (ATAS) during July 1992. In this meeting development was only possible by the acquisition, fusion and
the possibilities of new ventures with foreign research centers diffusion of new technologies generated from basic research.
were discussed and implemented. The publication of the Today an enterprise missing a generation of technological
report for the development of science in 24 February 1995, set development, can loose competitiveness and consequently
the criteria for the promotion of selected areas -among which risk its survival. Since investment on research and
biology, communication and information technologies are development is today more important than investment on
included- and starting a new phase in the history of capital, it is necessary that new strategies be implemented.
university/industry collaboration . It is expected that the Some of the new strategies implemented by industries are:
impetus given by this report will open a new window of
opportunities in the next meeting with ATAS. These fusion of different technologies, that will the generate
developments motivated the author to study the role of the hybrid technologies without abandoning old technologies,
establishment of the so called “life research centers”, that 3.1. Boðaziçi University Research Center
will follow changes inside and outside the sector of the
firm, The Research Center was founded in the Engineering
public financement of research, promotion of technology Building at the beginnings of the 60’s by the late
transfer and adoption of new educational policies. Prof.Dr.Necmi Tanyolaç . The center continued to grow
and developed into what is today the Biomedical Engineering
As a consequence of these new strategies, industrial Institute, which hosts also the headquarters of the UNESCO
development now require that schools, a) change curricula so Biomedical Engineering Regional Center. A more recent
to include more technology than science, b) give more stress development is the establishment of an UNESCO chair on the
to continuing education, c) promote joint research projects topic of Mechatronics with main objective of ensuring the
with industry. Kaynak and Sabanovic argue that only if rapid diffusion of this new technology. The research activities
cooperation between university and industry is properly in the Mechanical Engineering Department - providing
implemented, universities may be able to meet the services in measurement, materials and process,
expectations arising by rapid technological changes. Although computational fluid mechanics, fatigue and fracture, and
research in some areas -such as control, communication and system dynamic- are good examples of the potential that the
biomedicine- require a high degree of specialization, a more university can provide . As a result of the cooperation of
general approach could help to bridge gaps and generate new this department and a leading houseware manufacturer in
development. An integrated system approach of research and Turkey, research for the design of the suspension system of a
education can ensure rapid diffusion of new technologies . washing machine was completed . The recent establishment
The aim of higher education is to expand knowledge, improve of an Innovation Park will focus mainly on research and
self-learning, motivate inquiry and encourage thinking: the implementation of communication high technologies.
basic tools are teaching, homework, orientation, guidance,
supervision, apprenticeship, specialization and research. 3.2. Boðaziçi University Research Fund
Research provides the appropriate environment for discovery,
critical thinking, creativity and the development that will help The Research Fund founded in 1986 and mostly financed by
to keep up with the times on grounds not covered in formal the state, receives private donations that help to support
learning. Yerlici argues that in search for funds universities faculty members that are engaged in research activities -more
are relying too much on research work, so it is important to than 400 projects funded already- varying from 1800 USD to
find a proper mix of all the above mentioned tools in order to 20.000 USD. Seed money for new full time young faculty
avoid resources being wasted that may be detrimental to the members is provided to start research programs. In addition,
quality of education . This statement motivated the author travel grants, registration fees and support for foreign visitors
to seek ways for the integration of conflicting interest in is provided.
organizations: findings of a case study and literature research
are presented in the next sections.
3.3. Boðaziçi University Foundation
3. INTEGRATING THE THIRD SECTOR
Although the Foundation was established in 1978 it was
restructured in 1992 to give students scholarships and
The history of Boðaziçi University -one of the leading encourages the academic staff financially with grants for
universities of Turkey- goes back to 1863 when it was books and conferences abroad. The Foundation also provides
founded as an American College. Robert College -the first funds to restore and renovate buildings on the campus. With
college to be established outside the USA- was transferred to the support of the alumni a two year campaign was launched
the Turkish Government in 1972, so Boðaziçi University in 1995 to raise funds for academic programs, dormitories,
became the direct heir not only of the excellent facilities but scholarship and other vital expenses.
its distinguished academic traditions. With a young and
dynamic faculty, Boðaziçi University was able to play an
important role in the diffusion of new technologies. From a 3.4. Boðaziçi University Alumni Association
total of 51 projects currently 27 projects are funded by the
National Research Institute, 15 projects by the Turkish State Among many social activities organized by this association -
Planning Organization, 11 projects by the private sector, 2 including human resource expertise and the dissemination of
projects by NSF, 3 projects by UNESCO, 2 projects by information about life in campus-, a joint project with student
Medcampus and one project by the Ford Foundation. The societies in the campus has been started. Named “Introduction
organizational model that made the development possible is to Business Life” (BU 409) this new venture aims at
described below. enhancing the Presentation and Recruitment Days organized
every year during the spring semester. This venture is a good Conflicts between research centers and departments
example of how student activities can be integrated to the competing on available resources, prompted Stahler to study
main stream of the academic life. the role of research centers within major universities. He
3.5. Continuing Education Program a) the mission of the centers be considered within the
framework of the overall mission of the university,
The university offers courses and seminars -up to 400 b) the leadership and organization structure required for
instruction hours in length- in a variety of subjects -21 managing relations with industry and university be clearly
subjects in management, 6 in industrial and one in civil defined.
engineering- for public and private sector employees. The c) the degree of interdisciplinary emphasis be increased by
process during which the bylaws for this program -the incorporating members of different sectors of the
importance of this program has been highlighted by Tansal university .
- were established, deserves a separate study.
In a recent research Yetiþ suggests that to promote university-
industry-government collaboration the dynamic analysis of the
4. ENHANCING COLLABORATION relations between the interest groups -university in search for
excellency, industry seeking survival and government
The case study presented in the previous sectioned prompted fostering the welfare of the citizens- is necessary . On the
the review of research work on interorganizational theory. other hand, Ger proposes that it is possible to enhance
The findings are summarized in the following paragraph. collaboration, if the civil sector can promote the exchange of
information and resources -human, physical and financial-
The expectations of the community -the members of which
between the parties . In sharing his experience, Edil
form part of a social system- influence the operation of
emphasize the role of the professional chambers lobbying in
organizations. These organizations are pushed to joint
the interest of their members in search for funds for their
program interdependencies when they are in contact with each
research work . The findings from the articles covered
and must share resources common in their environment.
above, can be summarized in the organizational model
Coordination between organizations can be enhanced when
presented in Figure 1.
overlapping membership provide common messengers: as
members interact, norms develop and specialized roles are
adapted. The need to share pertinent information, protect 5. CONCLUSION
areas of common interest and the search for increasing
resource allocation will promote cooperation between As we enter the 21st century, industries will be required to
organizations. It must always be remembered that the integrate, transfer and diffuse more their existing
requirement of delegation may conflict with the desire to technologies. During this process the academic sector will
concentrate power during decision making. The uncertainty of have a special responsibility of assuring the appropriate flow
the environment encourage the members to exchange of educated and trained manpower to industry. By creating the
resources in order to maximize the individual utilities, but necessary conditions, collaboration in research and education
conflicts may arise on questions related to domain legitimacy: activities will result benefits to all parts involved.
one organization may be tempted to acquire more domain in
order to increase control and power . The survey on the academic history of Boðaziçi University
shows that the Continuing Education Program implemented
In a study on the same topic made on 35 Turkish firms, since 1986 is providing the proper environment for
Üsdiken concludes by suggesting that longitudinal studies can collaboration with industry and government. A quantitative
provide light to the process by which a set or organizations analysis of data gathered from operation reports of the three
shift to alternative strategies to cope with environmental pillars of this integration -foundation, alumni association, and
changes. Need of expertise, available resources, risk research center- will shows very clearly the prospects for the
sharing, expanding knowledge and fast technological change future. Collaboration can he enhanced still further if an
require that organizations form clusters -networks- to integrate organization model that will coordinate and audit the basic
their efforts for more flexibility at allowed cost . In a managerial functions -marketing, operation and finance- is
recent publication Tornquist and Kallsen explore the adequately established. Boðazici University provides
institutional characteristics that foster collaboration between researches in the field of higher education with an excellent
university and industry. Review of past research activities in example where the integration of the third sector in the
postsecondary institutions correlated with available resources organization model is being implemented.
-staff, funds, equipment- suggests the means of establishing
sound policies for the future.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT 13. Stahler, G.J. and Tash, W.R. “Centers and Institutes in
Research University: Issues, Problems and Projects”, Journal
of Higher Education, Vol 65:5,. (Sept/Oct 1994), Ohio State
The author remains in debt to Prof.Dr.Nüket Yetiþ, Dean of University Press. pp. 540-554
Engineering Faculty, Marmara University, Ýstanbul.
14. Yetiþ, N. “University-Industry Collaboration” (in
Turkish), Research Report, January 1995, Marmara
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