5 students in front of Wallenberg Hall, sitting  on stairs and small wallRecognizing that interdisciplinary research can benefit from collaborations with researchers from outside Stanford, H-STAR seeks to partner on a worldwide basis with universities, university consortia, government supported research laboratories, and organizations representing same. (Partnership with industry researchers is also welcomed, but is normally facilitated through H-STAR's Media X Industry Partners Programs.)

Benefits of partnership

The unique nature of Stanford as the world's leading incubator of new technology companies, coupled with our close relationship with Silicon Valley, means that for research collaborations in H-STAR's areas of focus, the value to the partner can be considerable. Institutional partnership with H-STAR automatically includes membership of our renowned Media X program, with its extensive connections to the technology industry, and in our experience such partnerships yield greater benefits to the partner when arranged through an appropriate technology advancement agency.

At the conclusion to a five-year partnership (2002-07) with the University of Edinburgh, independent assessor PricewaterhouseCoopers declared, in its final report to Scottish Enterprise, dated April 2008:

"The ESL [Edinburgh-Stanford Link] has generated (and is likely to generate further) high levels of economic and wider impacts (relative to the level of public sector funding provided)." (Section 6.1)

The metrics PWC applied to the outcomes from the Link's five years of activity led them to measure best and worst case scenarios in terms of long term outcomes, depending on future commercial spin-offs from link research, from no additional spin-offs beyond those already achieved to a best-case scenario where all spin-offs that could reasonably be said to be "in the pipeline" do in fact materialize. The worst-case scenario is that Scottish Enterprise's £6.0 million investment in the Link would have yielded £9.4 million of new benefits to Scotland. In the best-case scenario, the yield to the Scottish economy would be £28.51 million, a ROI of 4.75 to 1. (Section 4.5)

Types of partnership

Many research collaborations comprise single projects, and are arranged on a case-by-case basis. For larger collaborations, however, there are benefits and economies to be gained from a collaboration framework. H-STAR can negotiate broad collaboration agreements on a case-by-case basis, but such collaborations are most easily established — and much "re-inventing of the wheel" avoided — by adopting one of two standard program templates H-STAR has developed for research partnerships with other organizations and found to be successful: Visiting Partnerships and Project Partnerships. (These are technical terms. Both partnerships involve projects and both generally involve visitors.) Note that these templates provide the basis for a collaboration. Each may be enhanced or tailored to meet particular needs.

Visiting Partnerships are built around extended visits (from a few weeks to an entire year) to Stanford by one or more researchers from the partner. The visitors work closely with Stanford collaborators, enabling them to take advantage of Stanford's renowned history of scientific breakthroughs and innovation, its location in the heart of Silicon Valley, and its many deep connections with industry. Current and recent H-STAR visiting partners are the Japanese public television corporation NHKTallinn University of Technology in Estonia, the University of Tartu, Estonia, the Finnish university system, through the Finnish technology agency Tekes, the Danish university system, through the Danish technology agency DASTI, Sony Corporation, the Mitsubishi Electric Company, and the European Innovation Academy. See the H-STAR visitors page for details of current and past projects carried out by visitors to H-STAR in collaboration with Stanford faculty.

Sample Visiting Partnership agreement (PDF, 632KB) Sample Visiting Partnership agreement for an industry partner (PDF, 624KB)

In a Project Partnership, researchers at the two organizations establish an agreement to engage in a range of collaborative research projects, but carry out most of the work at their respective home institutions, using email, telephone- and video-conferencing, and occasional visits to communicate. In 2008, H-STAR completed a five-year project partnership with the University of Edinburgh, through Scottish Enterprise.

Sample Project Partnership agreement (PDF, 520KB)