Universities and industry: partners in innovation

 

Academia and Industry Collaboration - A win-win approach

As the theme of this month’s post is “sustainable partners,” we’d be remiss not to talk about our colleagues whose job it is to develop a new generation of Cascades employees at the university level.

We often forget that academia and industry can both benefit from staying connected, aligning their interests and sharing expertise. Cascades is exploring many avenues of collaboration with several higher education institutions: research projects, internships, sustainable sourcing agreements, development of case studies, conferences, etc. In Quebec, Cascades is working with the Université de Sherbrooke, Université Laval and several institutions in the Université du Québec network. Thanks to the dynamic campus environment, finding ideas for innovative partnerships is easy. The availability of resources is much more of a limiting factor than a lack of opportunities.

Cascades has been working with the Université de Sherbrooke on a variety of initiatives for quite some time. Since the company’s early years, our two organizations have been a natural fit, driven by a shared passion for innovation and an entrepreneurial culture. Since 2009, when the Université de Sherbrooke made a serious commitment to sustainable development by establishing an action plan and a sustainable sourcing policy, our organizations have shared another important value. We have laid the foundation for an innovative partnership that takes advantage of our respective strengths, mainly in the field of sustainable development.

More recently, in April 2011, Cascades was named an “ambassador partner” at the Université de Sherbrooke’s 16th Gala du rayonnement des diplômées et diplômés. This honour recognizes the longstanding close relationship between Cascades and the university’s job placement service, as well as our various joint initiatives. Every year, we welcome around 50 interns and recent graduates from the institution.

On February 2, the Université de Sherbrooke released a video featuring its graduate programs, and we were invited to take part. We discovered that we’re better at making paper than acting, but it was still a great experience!

Here’s my question: can you think of any other organizations that maintain innovative partnerships, or that might have an interest in finding new ways to innovate by joining forces with another organization? We’d love to hear from you!

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About the Author
Isabelle Plouffe

As a communications advisor, Isabelle is involved in a variety of projects at Cascades. Her past projects include managing the launch of Cascades’ social media presence and the development of a strategy to attract our next generation of employees. She recently joined the Sustainable Development Department, and she is currently focusing on the Company’s internal communications. “I have the opportunity to work on innovative projects where the human dimension is in the foreground.” Isabelle has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a certificate in organizational communication. She began her adventure at Cascades in 2006.

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