Recent discussions regarding the establishment of biomarker research partnerships have provided insights into the scientific issues and administrative policies in uniting organizations to accomplish a common goal. Scientists from academia, industry, and government recognized that there are different motivating factors for their participations and that it was important for them to understand core issues of partnership. However, some common principles are emerging that underpin successful partnerships. In fact, Reich  suggests that a working definition of public-private partnership must contain three core points. First, partnerships involve at least one private for-profit organization and at least one not-for-profit organization. Second, core partners share effort and benefits jointly. Third, partnerships centered on biomedical research should have a socially based goal related to the improvement of some aspect of health, especially for disadvantaged populations. Organizations involved in public-private partnerships may have different motivating factors for participating in the venture. Thus, an effective partnership between diverse organizations must be carefully constructed and often requires restructuring as other groups become involved.
Partnerships confront seven organizational challenges that Austin  calls "the seven c's of strategic collaboration": clarity of purpose, congruency of mission, strategy, and values, creation of value, connection with purpose and people, communication between partners, continual learning, and commitment to the partnership. Reich  notes that the challenge of creating value is of special importance in public health partnerships, for the value created must be useful not only to core partners but to an entire society as well. Thus, public-private partnerships are learning processes and should be seen as fluid, evolving entities rather than fixed agreements.
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