Monthly Engineering Horizons



July 19
16:46 2019


 Business Model for the University-Industry Collaboration in Open Innovations of

Hydrogen and Microalgae Economy in Pakistan

 By: Muhammad Siddique Malik, Chief Executive Officer, Creeco (Pvt) Ltd., Alternatiave Energy & Fuels – Hydrogen/Algae

Industry and Agriculture continuously declining in Pakistan since 1960 and hence creating continues financial crisis in the country ultimately Pakistan ended up with deficits, losses and foreign loans – currency cannot be stable when we need more dollars every day and cannot sustain purchasing power of the people, simply the currency is continuously devalued to meet the demand of dollar. It is the worst reverse economic cycle of Pakistan that needs to stop immediately with innovative work of the Pakistani nation collectively. No single institution can change this scenario alone even the government.

Pakistan needs an immediate paradigm shift and leap change towards top most important factor of the economy – the Energy and Petroleum to enable industry and agriculture once again to perform. A continues supply with ‘NO CHANGE’ in pricing is the only guarantee for this change. Next century is the Hydrogen century which is replacing fossil fuels completely in 10 years of short time well before ‘the fusion economy hits’ the world. Pakistan has not done anything to ride along till now.

The ‘ONE and only easy solution’ for Pakistan crisis is ‘Hydrogen and Algaculture’ which will affect the whole nation, industry, agriculture and that moves toward ‘positive economic cycle’ with short span of time from 3 to 5 years. Hydrogen and Algae is the only

source that can be self-sustainable and self-sufficient under the circumstances, which can make Pakistan able to say ‘NO TO IMPORTS’ and ‘NO TO DEFICITS’ therefore exports increase. It is the only achievable source to bring economy back on its track and ‘not dependent on outside world’ hence immediate increase in PPP.

This is the first leap-shift for Energy and Petroleum – Hydrogen and Algacluture in Pakistan – through this consortium Algaculture and Bio-hydrogen:

Algae is the major source of Green Crude and Hydrogen through sunlight, wastewater and wasteland which is completely untapped in Pakistan. And a cheap source.

There are so many cheap sources to produce Hydrogen

Hydrogen Economy:

This model proposes a general framework for the creation of successful collaboration between universities and industry. The industrial partners do not necessarily have all the competencies to perform each operation in-house for the development of competitive products and innovative ideas. Therefore, collaboration with universities helps them in researching the problems that cannot be solved individually. In this sense, universities could be considered as partners for industries.

The model undertaken shows that how the two entities, the university and industry collaborate, very much fits with the framework for collaboration shown. Although it is first of its kind a move, that emphasizes high potential for its implementation and the creation of added value for parties and technology knowledge transfer.

The universities can disperse much updated and current demand based education and can transfer technology to the industry as per its need. Where the world is especially changing horizons of energy and petroleum in this century, being the largest paradigm shift in the future economies (from fossil fuels to non-fossil fuels, like wind, solar, hydrogen and algae).

Pakistan being in dire need to secure its self-sustained energy and petroleum, cut its deficits, be self-sufficient and meet needs of the industry without shortfalls. It needs a big move to capture the opportunities provided by the latest technologies around the world. Hence this consortium is a call of the time.

In the current competitive environment, companies must achieve a high level of performance, leading to the production of innovative products, rewarding customer needs and rapidly responding to market demands. In this direction of innovation, companies do not have all the needed skills to develop such products inside / in-house. Therefore, the best way of meeting these requirements is the collaboration with universities. Depending on the type of activity, many other benefits of collaboration can be entered for each partner, such as: reducing costs, using a multidisciplinary approach, collaborators reputation, expertise in a particular field. Therefore collaboration between universities and the different actors of the economic environment leads to a series of benefits that have a favorable impact on business competitiveness. The university industry collaboration (UIC) has gained widespread interest because of the high degree of innovation and economic growth.

This document proposes a business model for collaboration between universities and companies in open innovation in order to underline the way in which significant results are achieved. It presents an architecture for implementing open innovation in companies.

The basic concept has been drawn by meeting and analyzing three universities to identify collaboration practices with industry and partners from the economic environment in open innovation. The universities included in the research are: Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, COMSATS University and NUST Islamabad (other universities to be included soon).

Following the research, it was concluded that for the development of a model framework for effective collaboration between university-industry in open innovation, six key areas are followed:


  1. Existence in the university ‘of a well-defined structure’ that supports in an efficient manner research projects as per demand of the industry and a lighthouse for the industry;
  2. The presence of an effective project management and especially the communication and monitoring are well


  1. Involvement of young researchers in identifying the characteristics of the economic environment and innovation needs;
  2. Developing new partnerships and supporting existing projects to launch new opportunities and be a lighthouse for industry.
  3. Organizational culture is an important pillar in the openness that universities have toward collaboration with industry; result oriented and attractive.
  4. Dissemination strategy to be strengthened to share research and to use elements of marketing in order to attract new partners to reap the benefits of ‘transfer of knowledge and technology to industry’.

These directions reinforce the framework to be created between businesses, indicating that a standardized framework model of good practice for effective management of collaborations between academia and industry would provide concrete guidelines that could be applied to future research projects developed in collaboration. Comparing organizational cultures in academia and industry has led to the systematization of the common guidelines presented in Table 1. Following the analysis carried out it was found that interactive behavior of institutions is largely guided by their organization principles.

Analyzing classic academia and industry / industrial partners it is found that they operate in distinct organizational cultures which differ greatly in their underlying values, beliefs and processes. The organizational culture of universities is based on tracking research directions based on discovery, with the objective to create knowledge, and to educate the workforce. It can be said that public universities have a mission that contributes to society. In contrast, industry / industrial partners are at the opposite pole from the perspective of knowledge because knowledge is used to develop products and services. Knowledge transfer is not made, instead the intellectual property is on focus.

Strategic framework for successful innovation

 Innovation is a complex phenomenon that involves a complex series of processes to be managed towards the objectives set. Defining and identifying strategic directions for successful collaboration between universities and industry and economic partners contribute to shaping the proposed model. The focus is on knowledge transfer between universities and industry to attract new collaborations.

Transfer of knowledge plays an important role in innovation and growth. Therefore emphasis on culture contributes to the innovation, but the balanced way to create culture leads to better transfer and exploitation of knowledge produced by universities in order to stimulate innovation. In (Buckley-Golder et al., 2015) it is defined a model that includes five stages: Company Opportunity, Co-Recognition (identifying the business needs), Co-Formulation (focus on meeting the needs and opportunities of the business partner), Co- Creation (partners create opportunity for innovation processes, products or markets), and Commercialization (main purpose of industrial partners is the commercialization). These stages are not covered linearly in the knowledge transfer and there are jumps and returns.

Based on this model and identifying characteristics nationwide, two stages can be added to this model: Co-Implication: the active involvement of partners in collaboration in order to achieve objectives, and Co-Motivation: to identify the elements that contribute to value creation in universities and industrial partners. The proposed business model for the collaboration university – industry The proposal of a preliminary model for the collaboration university – industry is based on analysis of data obtained through experimentation and observation. It offers a robust set of evaluation metrics, which have a capacity to assess the strength of collaboration between university and industry.

This business model includes:

  • Evaluation of parameters: collaboration, knowledge sharing, culture, financial support, communication, and

barriers. Each parameter includes one important concept to be assessed in order to obtain benefits and tangible outputs after working between industry and universities.

  • Success factors: are associated to each category of parameters, thus suggestive for each category. These factors contribute to the development of relations in a relationship based on open innovation with win-win in mind, so that results are maximized.
  • Tangible outcomes: results obtained from collaboration between universities and industry / industrial partners.

Tangible outputs are the main pillars of the industrial environment, while for universities is the reputation and

image created.

  • Barriers: in collaboration between industry and academia there are some barriers that are hampering the cooperation between the two entities.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Model – a case study:


Government is also significant in ensuring successful collaboration between university and industry. Malaysian government not only provides rules and regulations for university-industry collaboration but also provides capital to support collaboration. We highlighted four possible actions for government to support university-industry collaboration.

  1. Provide grants and special incentives for companies (eg., reduce taxes) that have successful collaborations with universities (eg., development of new product)
  2. Provide more scholarships for PHD doctorate programs in industry
  3. Identify the strength of each university to collaborate with specific industries
  4. Contribute as a representative at university-industry and higher education council.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) – a case study:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the

Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) Model.

Case study:

The concept of the Faraday Partnership was first discussed in 1990 in response to the outcome of a meeting of a panel of industries and academics put together by the Prince of Wales to look at improving the interface between industry and universities. At the same time, the Faraday Partnerships were envisaged as UK’s response to the success of the German Fraunhoffer organization. However, as the UK Government’s budget was inadequate to duplicate the Fraunhoffera at the time, a cheaper and more relevant version for the UK was put forward by joining together essential institutions such as research and technology organizations (RTOs), universities, professional institutions, trade associations, firms, and in some cases the sector regulator (FPA, 2004; Airto, 2001). The initiative activities were determined to encourage closer contact and exchange between universities and businesses. These included enhancing active flows of people, technology and innovative business concepts between partners, promoting core research that would under pin business opportunities, and

stimulating business-relevant postgraduate training. Membership of the partnerships was open to all interested universities and companies, with no eligibility criteria. There were no formalized contract agreements between the members and a partnership per se; however, the members of any partnership established formal contracts to manage and organize the collaborative projects. The process of promoting interactions between the members was termed ‘technology translation,’ and it required the skills and experience of technology translators employed by the core partners. These were individuals with years of experience at the academic/industry interface, and they acted as intermediaries to facilitate the technology translation process, by relating industry’s needs to the knowledge base (i.e., universities). In 1997, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) set the first call of the Faraday Partnership Initiatives, where the final number of established partnership in 2002 is 24. The Faraday Partnership Initiative (FPI) comprised four ‘calls’ — between 1997 and 2002—where groups were invited to submit proposals for partnerships to the department of trade and industry, which evaluated and selected ones to receive financial backing. In total, 24 partnerships were selected which focused on science-based technologies. In the fourth call, the total value of the FPI research portfolio was £160 million and 2477 companies were involved (FPA, 2004; Airto, 2001).

References: the above material has been extracted from different research papers and sources of studies to summaries for the participants as open source. No copy right infringement is involved.

Creeco Consortium is a humble start towards University-Industry Collaboration starting with Energy and Petroleum sectors, and Transport/Railways which can be a baseline for the industry comprising on $10 billion in current economy. The business opportunity is big for all the partners and an opportunity to strengthen us together to be able to give solutions to the crisis being witnessed all over the country.


  1. Self-sufficiency in energy, fuels and transport/railways
  2. No to imports
  3. No deficits hence no USD dependencies, which increases PPP
  4. Self-sustainable
  5. Job creation inside country in millions
  6. A route to strong infrastructure of consortium for the future
  7. Profitable for all members
  8. Affordable and price competitive to current market prices
  9. Lower capital investments
  10. Easy technology and possible to manufacture all elements of the technology inside Pakistan
  11. Thousands of new expected patents, technology transfer and manufacturing
  12. Great for climate change targets / GHG controls
  13. Uplifting of marginalized agriculture sector
  14. Optimal utilization of wastewaters and wastelands / carbon neutral
  15. National security and self-reliance

About Author

Engineering Horizons

Engineering Horizons

“Engineering Horizons” is the first & leading technical magazine of Pakistan covering Process, Mechanical, Metallurgical, Mining, Electrical & Electronics field under a single cover. We also feel pleasure in saying that this is the only magazine of its own kind & style, which is widely circulated in all Engineering Sectors of Pakistan.

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As you know, monthly “Engineering Horizons” is the first & Leading Technical Magazine of Pakistan covering Process, Mechanical, Metallurgical, Mining, Electrical & Electronics fields under a single cover. We also feel pleasure in saying that this is the only magazine of its own kind & style, which is widely circulated in all Engineering Sectors of Pakistan.