Recommendations in full

December 12, 2003

Demand for research from business

* Businesses should establish a high-level forum to enhance technical innovation in business

* The government should direct a high proportion of its support for business research and development towards small and medium-sized enterprises

* There should be an enhanced role for the development agencies in facilitating business-university links

* Government support for knowledge-transfer partnerships should continue, but marketing of the programme should be improved

* The government should improve the marketing of the R&D tax credits to increase their take-up by business.

Knowledge transfer

* Universities UK and the Standing Conference of Principals should establish a list of academics with relevant qualifications to become non-executive company directors

* The Department for Education and Skills should exempt businesspeople from undertaking training before they can lecture

* Universities should build better alumni networks to build links with graduates in business

* Codes of conduct should be established to avoid conflicts of interest in carrying out research with business

* A new set of model research collaboration contracts should be developed, setting out approaches to intellectual property and exploitation rights

* The government should continue to invest in a permanent and substantial third stream of funding and should raise it to about £150 million to increase the flow of knowledge and ideas from science to business

* Third-stream funding should be allocated for three years on the basis of business plans. Universities that meet their third-stream benchmarks in year one would receive the allocation for the next two years automatically. Funding councils should develop metrics to allocate funds.

Intellectual property and technology transfer

* Funding councils and research councils, in consultation with business and universities, should agree a protocol for the ownership of intellectual property in research collaborations

* Third-stream funding should be used to support regional shared services in technology transfer

* The government should increase the level of funding for technology-transfer and knowledge-transfer training to stimulate the development of new training courses

* University technology-transfer offices should seek staff with industry backgrounds

* Britain should look at the US Association of University Technology Managers to see what lessons can be learnt in terms of providing training and increased industry involvement

* The government should set guidelines for third-stream funding to increase the availability of proof of concept funding (to establish whether a new technology is commercially viable) and cut the availability of seed funding for spin-offs to draw in private finance.

Regional issues

* Research development agencies should have targets that promote business-university collaboration

* The government should change regional selective assistance so that it supports more knowledge-intensive clusters and businesses, and can help to build a region's infrastructure for collaborative R&D projects with universities.

Funding university research

* The government should consider the size of the funding council and research council funding streams and whether they provide the appropriate balance between stable research funding and promoting a dynamic and competitive base

* The government should ensure: excellent research with industry is recognised as of equal value to excellent academic research; there is "significantly more" business input in the assessment panels; funding should be allocated in a way that supports multi-disciplinary research; greater weight should be attached to the importance of dissemination to a wider audience

* Between £100 million and £200 million should be available through a stream of business-relevant research funding to support departments that can demonstrate strong support from business. It should preferably be allocated through RDAs.

* Russell Group universities should encourage the development of a league table of the world's best research-intensive universities Management governance and leadership

* The sector should develop a code of governance representing best practice. It should be voluntary, but all institutions should disclose whether they conform to it in their annual report

* Governing bodies should review the effectiveness of their management arrangements, the performance of their institutions and of their senior management every two or three years. The results of the reviews shouldbe published in their annual report and on the internet

* The leadership foundation for training senior managers should focus as much on future vice-chancellors as current ones, and should also support council chairs

* The government and all funders should minimise the use of hypothecated funding streams, should consolidate funding into larger streams and cut down bidding for funds

* Funders and agencies should apply a lighter-touch regulatory and accountability regime to well-run universities. One agency should carry out and eventually publish risk assessments based on adherence to the governance code, quality of management, financial soundness and institutional performance against key indicators such as teaching and research. Better run universities should receive greater financial freedoms

* In three years, the vice-chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge should take stock of the progress of reform and agree with the government what further steps will be necessary for the two universities to sustain their global position.

Skills and people

* Universities should be required to publish information on graduate and postgraduate employability for each department, including salary data

* Sector skills councils must have real influence over university courses and curricula

* The Higher Education Funding Council for England should ensure that its review of teaching funding considers whether the university system is producing the right balance of graduates in the disciplines the economy needs.

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