Ethical aspects of the university-industry interface

Science and Engineering Ethics 1 (2):151-162 (1995)
Abstract
Following an examination of the missions of industry and the university there is a comparison of the ‘wish-lists’ of industry and the university. These ‘wish-lists’ have both similarities and differences. Some of the differences are expressed in a further section on the kinds of interactions that neither institution wants from the other. In the canonical university, the culture values features such as openness, individuality and the de-emphasis of monetary matters, whereas in the archetypal industry the prevailing ethos tends towards secrecy, teamwork and financial advancement. When two such cultures are juxtaposed under conditions where the survival of the university is dependent, in part, on receiving funds from industry, there is a danger of an erosion of academic standards as the university becomes more oriented to service the needs of industry as opposed to the development of its students and its independent scholastic and research activities. Industry, however, is in a position to derive benefit from the interaction without incurring an equivalent cost. These issues are discussed and some recommendations are made to improve the ethical nature of the interaction.
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