Higher Education Policy

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 109–128 | Cite as

Senior Industry Practitioners as Part-Time Visiting Professors: The Various Benefits of Collaboration

  • Malin HenningssonEmail author
  • Lars Geschwind
Original Article


This study aims to contribute to the understanding of knowledge interactions, particularly personnel mobility, between university and industry. More specifically, this paper studies the appointment of senior industry practitioners as part-time visiting professors at universities, in the role of adjunct professors. The paper relies on qualitative data, documents and 29 interviews, all from two Swedish universities. The findings highlight a distinction between the approaches from top and local management. Top university management has institutionalised an established practice of appointing adjunct professors, but the appointments still rely on personal networks at local level. The paper also shows that benefits generally applied to university–industry engagement, such as learning, access to in-kind resources and access to funding, are applicable. Furthermore, two additional perceived benefits come to the fore. Firstly, adjunct professors are appointed to increase the visibility of the university, and secondly, they undertake an essential part of the workload in some environments.


university–industry relations personnel mobility knowledge interactions human resources organisational actor 



This study was supported by the Knowledge Foundation and Riksbankens Jubiluemsfond. The authors would also like to thank Per Fagrell for his contribution to the study.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LearningKTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Knowledge FoundationStockholmSweden

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