University-derived research (e.g. science) is useful in ‘real world’ business applications, so effective collaboration is desirable. However, for work to actually proceed, strategic and policy-level drivers must align with the incentive structures and constraints upon individual university-based scientists and their motivations. This briefing aims to foster collaborations by providing a view from the perspective of individual academics. Specifically, it examines workload (i.e. specified tasks) and incentive structures (i.e. assessment criteria) to tackle two questions: What motivates academics to do specific work? And, reciprocally, what might constrain them? In light of this, specific, pragmatic actions, including short-term and time-efficient steps are proposed in a ‘user guide’ to help initiate and nurture collaborations. In addition, some modes of institutional support are suggested.