A Data Informed Approach To Targeted Engagement with Universities

Universities are rich resources for basic research, innovation, and workforce. Companies can advance their research goals by applying competitive intelligence practices to choose the best academic partners for engagement.  

Ask yourself: Why are you collaborating with certain institutions? What do you hope to get out of the engagement?  


This presentation will cover how a data informed approach can lead to strategic university partnerships that advance a company's aims. Topics covered will include: 

  1. Examine your aims - What does your company need? What do you want to get out of partnership?  
  2. Examine institutional competencies - What university has strength in your challenge areas? How can you assess university strength? Where can you find publications and award funding information? 

This session will look at how industry can develop strategies for finding the best academic partners for carrying out research, by using competitive intelligence practices to investigate institutional competencies. We will explore the questions that should be asked, the methodologies that should be employed, and the tools that are available to develop institutional profiles based on a variety of bibliometric and other data.  Attendees will leave this presentation better able to understand how to look at university  research portfolios and target universities with a data-informed mindset. 

Key Takeaways

  • Universities are a valuable resource for basic research, innovation, and workforce growth.  
  • Specific resources will be provided that can assist with CI in an academic setting including: Scopus, HERD, Federal RePORTER, and Google Scholar. 
  • Approaching university partnership with a data-informed mindset can lead to more robust engagement that is better aligned with a company’s needs. 

Speaker Profiles

Jamie Burns is a Senior Research Analyst on the Competitive Intelligence (CI) team within Research Development at Arizona State University (ASU). In this role, she’s increased the diversity, capacity, and sophistication of the CI work at the university level. This work has contributed to improving strategic and actionable insights to assess institutional performance, defining and refining the competitive landscape in key areas, and growing research dollars via proposals to federal sponsors. Jamie is certified in CI from the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professional (SCIP) Organization, serves on the steering committee for the national academic CI working, and has presented CI findings and techniques on over 30 occasions. Jamie earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University in 2017. 

Karen Walker is the Associate Director of Research Development within Knowledge Enterprise (KE) at Arizona State University. Research Development (RD) works with research faculty, staff, and leaders to improve funding success. The office functions currently include competitive intelligence, proposal management, limited submissions, internal funding opportunities management, graphic design, and research related events, including workshops and faculty development opportunities. 

Karen originated the competitive intelligence function within RD and is founder of the national Competitive Intelligence Working Group, which brings together academic professionals to develop intelligence best practices. She is certified by the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). Prior to coming to ASU in 2008, she had over 15 years of experience in research and development in the biotech industry. 

Interview with the speakers