The (FC)2, Alliance is founded on a thematic research framework to address "Fundamental Controls on Flow in Carbonates". The Alliance involves students and professionals in geoscience and engineering in a major oil and gas company and researchers from 10 universities. The Alliance aims to promote technical breakthroughs through the stimulation and co-ordination of multi-disciplinary studies that are being used to explore the boundaries among geoscience and engineering disciplines. It builds on the knowledge and complementary expertise of industry and academic researchers while capturing distinct ideas that develop in different scientific and regional communities. An options approach enables academic and industry researchers to explore potential collaborations at relatively low initial cost to all parties. The Alliance is founded on a clear strategy and research theme, a competitive selection process, diversity, mutual benefits, flexibility and shared risk. Sensitive to the pitfalls of Alliances, a strong emphasis has been placed on Alliance management, including cultural differences and intellectual property concerns. The scale of the Alliance enables innovation through new connections that develop as researchers in different fields identify links under the common research theme. In this way, (FC)2 serves as an innovation portal by bringing people and ideas together. A set of examples is presented to illustrate the ways that these connections have impacted research advances and the variety of mechanisms that are used to promote interactions and collaboration. Beyond tangible research impacts, the Alliance network promotes additional benefits for all parties, including training, career development, recruiting, and broader interactions that provide positive exposure and expanded awareness. The (FC)2 Alliance has already delivered significant benefits to its members. If such entities become more common place, however, there is a need to develop a critical mass of industry scientists with the skills and experience to manage academic-industry interactions.

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