Why and how to collaborate?

Collaboration can provide benefits for both businesses and researchers.

Businesses can benefit from collaboration through translating business needs, concepts and ideas into fit-for-purpose products, processes and services for improving market competitiveness and growth. They can also benefit from a raised company profile, and the potential for increased profit based on a competitive advantage.

Researchers can benefit from collaboration through advancing knowledge, attracting funding support and increasing publications. Collaboration can also result in improvement of methodologies, enhanced multi-disciplinary collaborations between researchers, identifying opportunities for future research, and raising the profile of the researchers’ institution(s).

Five steps for successful collaboration

  1. Prepare – know your domestic and international markets:
    • Identify opportunities and technology market gaps (are there lessons locally or from overseas?).
    • Determine if you are ready to collaborate.
    • Use any available networks and services, including those provided by business and research associations, to assist.
  2. Collaborate – decide whether collaboration could be valuable for you. For example:
    • Consider if your innovation can be realised more effectively with a collaborating party.
    • For businesses - How much would fixing a business problem, improving a product, service or process, or commercialising offered research, increase your bottom line?
    • For researchers - How much would improving a product, service or process, or developing or adapting a technology, process or test, help with important research outcomes?
  3. Make contact – with potential collaborators either informally or through:
  4. Plan and negotiate – prepare a plan of your collaborative project, including the use of outputs, and develop this plan in detail with potential collaborators using this IP Toolkit to inform the approach. Once appropriate internal approval is obtained, negotiate with the potential collaborator to reach a collaboration agreement. To do this:
    • Consider and discuss with the potential collaborator the various elements of the proposed collaborative project (see the IP Toolkit Considerations Checklists and Model Term Sheet tools that assist in planning).
    • Use a confidentiality agreement to discuss confidential material (see the IP Toolkit for a Model Confidentiality Agreement).
    • Engage with appropriate internal processes to get approval, then begin collaboration negotiations.


Partnerships between industry and research are high priorities for the Australian Government and are key factors in its vision to build more profitable, sustainable and export-focused industries.

If you're a business or researcher interested in innovating through research-industry partnerships, Australian Government assistance and support is available.

International collaboration

Australia's economic, social and environmental well-being depends on having world-class innovative businesses and researchers that are globally engaged and taking the lead in efforts to address global challenges.

The Australian Government helps our research community and business sector to:

  • share international knowledge and expertise
  • initiate and develop international collaborations
  • access world-class infrastructure
  • enter overseas markets
  • ensure that Australia's science achievements are globally recognised
  • lead efforts to address global challenges.

Learn more.