Developing Strategic Partnerships

Build long-term transformational alliances

Event description

Universities and research institutes are increasingly seeking broader and longer-term relationships with strategic partners with multiple touchpoints, encompassing research collaboration, knowledge transfer, teaching, training, graduate employment, and other interactions. Creating and managing these (sometimes complex) relationships between organisations can often prove challenging, but successful alliances can be transformational for all involved. This course will guide you through the different steps and skills involved in identifying potential strategic partners, building the relationship, understanding each other’s needs, creating relevant governance and management structures, and avoiding the pitfalls. The overall aim is to enable delegates to be more effective in their partnership’s development role and have the skills to build long-lasting fruitful strategic alliances that deliver mutual benefit, enable new outcomes and create considerable societal impact.

Training outcomes

Discuss different forms of strategic alliance and how they originate
Understand how to build and maintain long-term partnerships
Understand the most appropriate governance/management arrangements
Know how to identify opportunities, including converting existing relationships into more strategic alliances
Develop an internal business case to win senior management support
Recognise the main issues that can derail a developing partnership


2024 Dates

Registration Evening - Tuesday 14 May 2024

Day One - Wednesday 15 May 2024

Day Two - Thursday 16 May 2024



The Orchard Hotel and restaraunt,

Beeston Ln, Nottingham NG7 2RJ


Event fee: Non-Members: £1,595 Member: £1,195


PLEASE NOTE: There may be a requirement for delegates to undertake some pre-course work/reading before the course begins.

Who should attend?

  • Relevant job titles: Partnerships managers, roles involved in developing strategic alliances that include commercial opportunities, research and teaching interactions
  • Relevant sectors/organisations: Higher Education (HE), public sector research organisations, clinical health organisations, industry
  • Experience needed: 1+ year experience in a business development role
  • Supporting courses: Essentials of Business Development
  • Other: Especially helpful for those seeking to develop a more strategic (less ‘project-by-project) approach to business development, and those expected to help create or manage these relationships or form/influence institutional strategies

Is this course right for me?

This course is for anyone with 1+ years’ experience working in a business development role in higher education (HE) and public sector organisations, particularly with responsibility for developing commercial opportunities and research interactions and forming/influencing institutional strategies.  Although this course has been designed for HE, staff in business development roles in other organisations, e.g. public sector research organisations and clinical health organisations, will find many aspects in common. Whilst the course is not directly aimed at industry representatives, they would gain valuable insight, experiencing the academic approach to developing strategic partnerships.

Those who have attended a PraxisAuril ‘core’ course (Fundamentals of Technology Transfer or Research Contracts) might find this to be a valuable next step, especially if they are seeking to develop a more strategic (less ‘case-by-case’) approach, or are expected to help create or manage these relationships.


Course Directors

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is currently Head of Strategic Partnerships at the Francis Crick Institute focusing on driving large institute-wide partnerships and building strategic alliances with current and prospective partners of the Crick.

She is a business development and partnership management professional with experience in academic and commercial research environments, both in the UK and overseas. She has a demonstrated history of developing partnerships with a range of stakeholders across academia, public funders and industry, securing multi-million investments in R&D. Before joining the Crick, Rebecca was Director of Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation, Natural Sciences at Imperial College London. This encompassed delivery of research collaborations between Imperial’s academics and industry as well as overseeing the commercialisation of technology (licencing and startups) developed within the Faculty. In 2019, she was seconded to BEIS to support development of the UK’s Industrial Strategy with a review of the role of government labs to support local economic growth and innovation.

Becky has a PhD in microbiology from Imperial. Following positions in life sciences start-up companies in the UK and Australia and postdoctoral experience at the University of California, San Francisco she returned to London to work for Thomson Reuters and subsequently Imperial College London, before joining the Crick in 2020.




Nicky Cunningham

Nicky joined the University of Exeter in August 2018. Prior to this she spent 16 years at the Environment Agency working in operational and national policy roles, most recently as Deputy Director for Waste Regulation. Nicky has extensive experience working with the water and waste sectors, government, politicians and NGOs. Prior to the Environment Agency, Nicky worked for AstraZeneca, looking at the fate and effect of chemicals in the environment. She taught on the Environmental Management MSc course at the University of Bristol for 5 years.

Nicky is trained in business improvement and facilitation and all of her experience has focussed on working across the public and private sectors to improve water management and environmental resilience.

Nicky has a BSc in Oceanography and Chemistry from the University of Southampton and an MSc in Ecotoxicology and Pollution Monitoring from the Ulster University. She is a Trustee on the Board of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management.