Industry Interface Spaces

Bringing Entrepreneurs to Campus to Enhance Student Learning and Institutional Research

Summary

This report analyzes the growing relationships between higher education institutions and the private sector, and how these partnerships allow colleges and universities to foster students' entrepreneurial interest while also attracting new funding streams. Specifically, we investigate three types of industry interface spaces: student-facing incubators, intellectual property-transfer incubators, and private research partnership spaces.

This brief is one in a six-volume series on Campus 2025. To learn more, explore the other briefs on makerspaces, luxury and community-centric residence halls, shared and flexible research labs, corporate-inspired offices, and active learning spaces.

Key observations from our research

1. Growing student interest in entrepreneurship combined with declining federal research funding drive the emergence of new spaces that provide business opportunities for students.

2. The right type of industry interface space has multiple institutional benefits: real-world business experience for students, better commercialization of intellectual property, and expanded research.

3. The best student-facing incubators have a simple design but robust programming and student support services.

4. Aspiring research institutions can drive research growth through private research partnership spaces that promote collaboration between institutional researchers and private business.

5. Successful industry interface spaces include not only workspace but also social and networking spaces.

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