Campus Direct Link was born out of an idea within SLASSCOM to provide a common meeting ground between the Academia and the corporate sector in a way that can be beneficial to both parties. So basically: an idea bank. This aligns with the SLASSCOM’s vision of encouraging research and innovations in the local IT sector.
This idea was developed into the Campus Direct Link platform by IFS R&D International (which volunteered for the effort).
Campus Direct Link in essence works as an idea bank. The basic premise is that a company can post an idea for a project in the CDL system and interested academic institutions can express interest on the idea by the means of a project request. Then the company chooses the institution(s) to develop their idea, and take it from there. One of CDL’s main functions is to provide a platform for the initial meet up between the two parties. The practicalities of the project – including possible costs, Intellectual Property ownerships are handled outside of the CDL system.
Although this process is simple, CDL has features in place to sort out the inevitable idea theft concerns. When a company posts an idea, it can select whether it should be shown to only academics or other corporate parties. The user registration process and idea submission process involves multiple authorizations to make sure that only trusted individuals/representatives have access to the system.
Apart from that, the platform has social media concepts integrated into it, to ease the process of browsing through the submitted ideas. Ideas can be liked and commented by academics (which if used correctly would allow companies to gauge what types of projects the academics are more interested in). The system also maintains a leaderboard of sorts that tracks which company has submitted the highest number of ideas.
Undoubtedly this initiative has great potential for the future – undergrads get to try out project ideas that are validated by established IT companies in Sri Lanka, and perhaps get a taste of development for themselves. Corporates also get to tap into top IT talent without having to commit their own company resources.
It depends on how the system is used on both ends. On one end, companies have to submit projects and keep that end of the process flowing while academics on the other hand have to handle the whole question of accountability, code quality and make sure milestones are met. If all of this is done right we should see this giving the IT industry a massive boost – after all, there’s no shortage of talent in universities.
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