Companies have to do keep up with their competitors, so they have to innovate new products. Especially in modern area's research is important: big companies in the chip industry have to come up with increasingly faster circuits, or they won't be able to keep up with their competitors. Research and innovation are also important in the pharmaceutical world: it takes years to put a medicine on the market. When the patents expire, the product is often offered by other producers at a lower cost, thereby cutting the income of the inventing company. Pharmaceutical firms have to research new medicines all the time for them to have an income.

In these markets, the figures spent on R&D are huge: both Intel and Akzo Nobel spent 15% of their revenue on research, accounting for as much as USD 4 billion for Intel in 2002. Research and development is a business of its own, and every university could use some of the money that is going around in this field.


Researching is expensive nowadays, and universities know that as well. In fact, it is getting more and more expensive. One can not inspect DNA with a magnifying glass, nor research distributed computing with one computer.

However, research needs to be done at universities. A university has the resources for in-depth research: not only the material, but also the people. A university is a catalyst to researchers, enabling them to better communicate with each other and use and share resources and material.

Not only could universities use some funding, it would also be cheaper and easier for a company to outsource research. Therefore it could be of both interest if major companies pay for research, done for them by universities.

The drive for research

Research is done for the greater good. People as a whole have both the ethical motivation as the obligation to leave the world a bit better than that they found it. Some people have the, somewhat naive, urge to research to make this world a better place.

Other people research out of curiosity. They think they can understand the world better with the outcome of their research, or maybe that they become a better person of it.

Companies, however, research only for economic profit. One may argue that this is the only valid reason in this capitalist world, and that the above two arguments are just reasons for an individual to become a researcher, whether that is for a company or a university. Even if that were so, the question remains whether these two forms of motivation, ethical and economical, are compatible and interexchangable with each other. Only if that is true, a blending between corporate and academic research is possible.