Altruistic contributions

August 29, 2013

Tabulating the place of UK universities in terms of their contribution to industry (“Korean kudos (UK also-rans)”, 15 August) presents only a partial view of the external role of the university sector and its place in national life.

It would also be worth measuring the contribution that UK universities make to charitable and not-for-profit organisations, in addition to those whose funding base is limited and which depend not only on institutional support but also the time that so many academics (both in post and retired) provide freely by sitting on committees, boards of trustees and working parties.

It would be worth carrying out a supplementary comparative exercise to see how much pro bono work is carried out by universities in countries such as South Korea and Singapore.

And perhaps the social as well as the economic benefits of such output at world level could also be quantified.

Tim Connell
Emeritus professor, Gresham College
London

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