Faced with ever-increasing pressure to innovate, firms consider universities as significant sources of knowledge. Such knowledge flow can take place in a variety of ways such as academic publications and contract research, but also more collaborative modes such as joint research projects. This paper focuses on a specific collaborative model, in which firms and universities are involved together in a Ph.D. project. We analyze the effects of project management, communication, and supervision characteristics on the success of such PhD projects using a survey conducted at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. We conclude that management decisions, supervision and communication characteristics have a significant impact on the ultimate success of a project. Among other things, the choice of university supervisor plays a pivotal role. Moreover, success is more likely if there is joint decision-making by both university and partner. We believe our findings help universities and firms to collaborate successfully.