Lessons learned in effective community-university-industry collaboration models for smart and connected communities research
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In 2017, the Boston University Hariri Institute for Computing and the Initiative on Cities co-hosted two workshops on “Effective Community-University-Industry Collaboration Models for Smart and Connected Communities Research,” with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF). These efforts brought together over one hundred principal investigators and research directors from universities across the country, as well as city officials, community partners, NSF program managers and other federal agency representatives, MetroLab Network representatives and industry experts. The focus was on transdisciplinary “smart city” projects that bring technical fields such as engineering and computer science together with social scientists and community stakeholders to tackle community-sourced problems. Presentations, panel discussions, working sessions and participant white papers surfaced operational models as well as barriers and levers to enabling effective research partnerships. To capture the perspectives and beliefs of all participants, in addition to the presenters, attendees were asked to synthesize lessons on each panel topic. This white paper summarizes the opportunities and recommendations that emerged from these sessions, and provides guidance to communities and researchers interested in engaging in these types of partnerships as well as universities and funders that endeavor to nurture them. It draws on the collective wisdom of the assembled participants and the authors. While many of the examples noted are drawn from medium and large cities, the lessons may still be applicable to communities of various sizes.
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