Leader: Lambert right to toast a successful marriage

June 13, 2003

Leafing through the submissions to Richard Lambert's review of links between business and higher education, it would be easy to be pessimistic about the prospects for a closer relationship. Each side accuses the other of having unrealistic expectations, particularly in the all-important realm of intellectual property. Universities think they have undersold ideas that make fortunes for private investors, while firms still find many academics reluctant and inefficient partners.

Mr Lambert may be over-optimistic on the ease with which the gulf can be bridged, but he is right to celebrate the progress that has been made.

British universities may not compare with the leaders in the US on technology transfer, for example, but they are more than a match for the rest of the world. The coming review should alert the laggards to best practice, but the chancellor and others may be disappointed if they expected a wholesale savaging of academic attitudes.

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