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Research partnership

Research partnership

Research partnership's definition

Partnership research takes place within a framework of research agreements and dedicated mechanisms (e.g. CIFRE thesis). Partners are either from the business world or from non-market civil society. However, the most widespread acceptance and use of the term “partnership research” refers to all research contracts linking researchers and industry. In response to a socio-economic need expressed by the latter. The term therefore most often has an economic and legal connotation.

Nevertheless, the term “research partnership” is commonly used to refer to all research agreements between researchers and industrial entities in response to expressed socio-economic needs. As a result, the term often has both economic and legal connotations.

The quest for research partnership

On the other hand, research carried out “conventionally” by one or more laboratories is aimed at a shared goal between science and society. However, it’s not just about the end in itself, but also about the process. It aims to establish collaboration throughout the entire research process, from the definition of the research question to its valorization.

Moreover, this type of research is sometimes contrasted with fundamental research. Fundamental research is less closely linked to direct applications, and is more the domain of public research institutes.

However, we must be careful not to accept easy shortcuts. Fundamental research exists and is carried out within companies (for example, the Basic Research Laboratories – BRL – of the giant NTT). Just as there is applied research that is not carried out with partners. Thus, it is more often applied research, but not by definition.


Christine Audoux and Anne Gillet, “Partnership research and co-construction of knowledge between researchers and actors: the test of translation”, Revue Interventions économique. Posted online on May 1, 2011,  

Others definitions​

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