A lot of time and money is invested in collaborative research and development projects at universities, research institutes and companies. But how should these complex projects be planned and run to create valuable commercial outcomes?
At the time of writing Ray Browne was a Deputy Director in the Office of Science and Innovation at the Department of Trade and Industry in the UK where he was responsible for managing the department’s funded research and development projects.
"Developing new techniques, implementing innovative technology and solving awkward problems have always been keen interests of mine. I spent the first twenty years of my career undertaking scientific research and the last twenty-five years helping industry do the same, largely through supporting government sponsored research and development programmes. The scientists, engineers and business people who undertake such R&D projects are all great people for whom I have considerable respect. They are usually very enthusiastic and manifestly pragmatic, but they still need as much help as they can get, particularly in attracting the support that is often essential if they are to realise the full benefits of their work. I am sure this book will provide them with this support in a truly practical and user-friendly manner.
Collaborative R&D, especially when external funding is involved, is not only about meeting deadlines and deliverables but perhaps more importantly about ensuring a return on the investment made in the project. This book’s particular strength lies in its focusing attention on achieving this return. It also shows a crucial dependence on sound project management, not only of the core R&D but also of the commercial activities that are all pre-requisites for success.
The author, Tom Harris, is a friend and colleague who I have known as a scientist, successful business man and consultant. In this book he combines his considerable experience with practical hands-on advice that will be of benefit to anyone involved in collaborative projects. This is not another theory-based textbook, it is essential reading and I recommend it to all aspiring collaborators."