Browse Publications Technical Papers 2006-01-3610
2006-12-05

Motorsports Industry Knowledge Exchange (MiKE): Oxymoron or Holy Grail (An Imperative for Sustaining Regional, National and Global Competitiveness) 2006-01-3610

Of all high-performance engineering industries, motorsports perhaps exemplifies best the unique combination of key engineering and business elements vital for swift, industry-focused, successful, high-technology product advancement. This heady mix includes: complex market analysis; sophisticated research, design and development capability; rapid product innovation, prototyping and development; just-in-time manufacturing using state-of-the-art processes; and regular mandated exhibition of company competitiveness, involving (at the highest environs) demonstration of both personnel and new product capability and reliability, on an unforgiving world stage, invariably to ensure continuing investor (sponsor) confidence. Such examples of motorsport's disparate business model elements in many ways demonstrate fundamentally the industry's absolute reliance on what in corporate speak is now termed ‘brains trust’ or ‘human capital’.
Invariably, however, funding for academic faculties (certainly in the UK) is now predicated largely on speculative - and in many respects unrealistic - future student intake numbers, driven by institution/Government recruitment targets, which are rigorously-policed. The corollary is that institutions can now no longer simply be considered as seats of learning - instead, they increasingly reside, sometimes uncomfortably, in the aggressive business domain of skills, education, training and research provision, where the marketplace is open, competitive and formidably-discerning, and majors on informed, industry-driven service provision. Thus, it is surprising, but perhaps understandable, that the arranged marriage of the academia-based skills/expertise purveyor, and the ostensibly-eager industry recipient of such services, remains largely unconsummated.
The Objective of this paper is to:
  • identify key enablers and inhibiters, perceived and actual, to successful motorsports industry-academe interaction;
  • investigate inhibiters, to offer theoretical and practical insights into the reasons why key stakeholders in the process believe such barriers exist, indeed persist, and in some ways are perpetuated;
  • provide instances of successes and failures in industry-academe technology and knowledge transfer;
  • detail a number of mechanisms to aid the catalyzing of vital industry-academe technology and knowledge transfer.

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