Fulbright Scholar studies ties between universities and industry

6 February 2019
Associate Professor Eric Knight has been granted a prestigious Fulbright Senior Scholarship to look at how academics drive technological development and the business models that are emerging as a result.

The University of Sydney Business School's Associate Professor Knight, who is also the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research – Enterprise & Engagement), will spend 3 months at Stanford University and University of California, Davis in early 2020.

Associate Professor Knight says his research will “build on a stream of work at the intersection of strategic management and economic geography which looks at the way that institutions, such as universities, support the economies of city and regions through their co-location with industry and involvement in joint R&D projects”.

Associate Professor Eric Knight.

Associate Professor Eric Knight.

“I’m delighted and honoured by this Fulbright award and to join the ranks of colleagues who have already been recognised in this way by the Selection Committee,” Associate Professor Knight said.

“This is a rare opportunity to combine my work in academia and senior management in a single project, which will have long-term benefits for tertiary education and both streams of my career.”

“I’m particularly keen to improve my understanding of the strategic research investments being made by leading California-based universities in the fields of artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing and imaging,” said Associate Professor Knight.

“I’m also excited about studying the way that US research environments are being transformed, for example through the co-location of personnel, and deep co-investment in research infrastructure by industry” he said.

“This will light the way to how we shape the future geography and work practices on Australian university campus, including their digital capabilities.”

“The Australian university sector is already making very significant investments in the campuses and academic workforces of the future, including incentives to source alternative revenue streams from R&D and commercialization, at a time when research faces funding constraints.”

“My Fulbright will compare university models operating in private versus public contexts, as well as in economies (California and Australia) which have much in common through their strength in agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and financial services,” said Associate Professor Knight.

The Fulbright Future Scholarship awarded to Dr Knight is funded through a philanthropic donation from The Kinghorn Foundation, and is administered by the Canberra based Australian-American Fulbright Commission. It is aimed at improving understanding between the two countries.

Associate Professor Knight’s role as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research – Enterprise & Engagement) focuses on the implementation of the University’s industry, government and community research engagement strategy.

He is responsible for growing R&D income across the University, fostering world-class research performance and mentoring amongst early-mid career researchers in particular, and promoting the impact of the University’s research activities with industry, government and community partners.

In 2018, Associate Professor Knight completed a comprehensive consultation process in conjunction with the Office of the Provost, which resulted in a revision to the University’s promotions criteria by recognizing engagement activities as key contributions to the core research and teaching missions of the University of Sydney.

Associate Professor Knight is also an Associate Professor in strategic management and innovation at the University of Sydney Business School and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.


Applications for 2019 Fulbright Scholarships are currently open, close 15 July 2019. 

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