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University-industry collaborations in Pakistan: current challenges and future opportunities

Khaleel Malik (Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Tariq Bashir (Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Tariq Mahmood Ali (Pakistan Council for Science and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 17 May 2021

Issue publication date: 13 July 2021




This paper aims to identify current challenges that hinder university–industry (U-I) collaboration in Pakistan and presents future opportunities for promoting such collaborations in developing countries.


This exploratory study presents new empirical evidence obtained from Pakistan via a questionnaire survey of 24 universities, 25 interviews with key stakeholders including industry managers and outputs from a high level workshop event.


Although there is limited evidence of U-I engagement in Pakistan, the findings show that a lack of coordination between government, universities and industrial firms has hindered knowledge transfer between universities and industry. Such steps as utilising intermediaries to help broker effective collaborations and building trust-based relationships can help in socialising these types of scientific activities.

Research limitations/implications

Any overall conclusions drawn from this exploratory study can only be tentative, as the findings represent a snapshot of current U-I collaboration initiatives in Pakistan.

Practical implications

Less stringent policy interventions from government entities, as well as more universities willing to invite industry input on their board of studies might enable co-development of some university curriculums with industry partners. U-I collaborations could also help to boost innovation efforts in developing country firms.


This paper also offers awareness into benefits of teaching activity collaboration with industry partners, which has been an under explored area of past U-I collaboration studies. The findings should be of interest for both innovation policy and higher education policy researchers.



Malik, K., Bashir, T. and Ali, T.M. (2021), "University-industry collaborations in Pakistan: current challenges and future opportunities", Foresight, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 496-508.



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