This study explored factors that influence academics to collaborate in research with their doctoral students. It focused on Hong Kong academics, using data from the Academic Profession in Knowledge Society survey conducted in 2017–2018. The study found that academics' research collaboration with doctoral students is influenced by several factors, including research and teaching styles and institutional conditions. Specifically, those academics whose research agendas were characterised by discovery and collaboration were more likely to report working with their doctoral students, whereas those whose research agendas focused more on convergence were less likely to do so. The more legislative the academics' teaching style was, the less they collaborated with their doctoral students. Independence in research and institutional expectations of external funding increased the propensity to collaborate with doctoral students. Academics in the humanities were found to collaborate less with their doctoral students than those in other disciplines. The study suggests that the scholarly preference and styles of the academics, as well as their disciplinary and institutional backgrounds, need to be considered to improve research collaboration between academics and their doctoral students. Copyright © 2021 Springer.