The CAPE model for industrial / academic collaboration is specialised and unique, differing in many ways from existing arrangements between industry and other universities, e.g. programmes available in the USA at Stanford and UC Berkley. CAPE resembles a joint development agreement more closely than a university research club.
The key features of CAPE are:
1. CAPE is a partnership between the University and a small group of international photonics and electronics companies whose market orientation places them in a non-competitive supply-chain or value-chain relationship with respect to each other. It relies on the Partner companies being able to accommodate each other’s business interests to allow this collaboration.
2. The executive body in CAPE is the Steering Committee which commissions all CAPE research. Its members are drawn from both academic and industrial Partners with equal voting rights between the academic and industrial interests i.e. the governance of all CAPE research within the University is shared with the industrial Partners.
3. All the financial contribution to CAPE is spent on jointly commissioned research that is directly for the benefit of the CAPE Partner companies, apart from a small percentage that is set aside for CAPE operational costs. Each CAPE Partner will invest a minimum contribution per year in CAPE (some of which may be in-kind). Apart from a small percentage being set aside for CAPE operations, all this resource will be available for jointly commissioned research over which the Partner company has direct control through their representation on the CAPE Steering Committee.
4. CAPE offers wide access to engineers, scientists and post-graduate students within the Electrical Engineering Division, the Engineering Department and other areas of the University and also in the other CAPE Partners.
5. CAPE seeks to engage with business development processes in the CAPE Partner companies. Exchange of scientists and engineers between the industrial and academic Partners, including the possibility of the placement of an embedded researcher within the Electrical Engineering Division, is a rule rather than an exception.
Other benefits afforded by the CAPE Partnership:
In terms of devices and materials developed, patents granted, licenses agreed and engagement with business development processes in our Partner companies, we have an excellent record.
Because CAPE is sited within the Electrical Engineering Division, there are excellent opportunities to expand CAPE Projects by leveraging the industrial funds invested through CAPE via external bodies such as the UK government-sponsored Cambridge Integrated Knowledge Centre (CIKC), also sited within Electrical Engineering. The CIKC has already funded prototype development of several devices originally conceived in CAPE Projects. We are presently seeking support from the European Union for CAPE collaborations with Centres of Excellence in other European Universities.
Membership of CAPE can also provide networking benefits from existing links between Cambridge University and other academic centres, both in the UK and elsewhere. Already some CAPE Project research programmes have been assisted by consultative input from other universities.