The Ultra-Long-Distance Energy Transmission Case—The Impact of Contract on a Public-Private Research Network
Two universities and two commercial enterprises engage in a joint endeavor subject to a new line of federal public funding. Viewing X University, transfer manager Melanie McCormack and Head of Legal Department Dr. Stan Benshaw take up the task of creating factual and legal structures for X University’s part of the project. In such a public-private project, management needs to work differently: with decision-making bound to the Rule of Law, with additional law that must be considered and with the constitutional right to scientific action working in many directions, processes and internal structures will most likely be very different compared to those found in the private economy. Accordingly, this case study conveys that Contractual Management (CM) tools will only have a limited effect on managing the project for several reasons: CM terminology like Knowledge Management or Management of Transaction can’t be fully applied since these activities are widely spread out across university structures; scientists follow other interests than employees and exercise a different freedom in finding and executing their work; and Universities don’t primarily pursue commercial, but primarily reputational interests. Yet, certain elements of management, like communication terminology, could be introduced in the contract to bring it closer to serving as the primary tool for steering the project.
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