UK loses out to Asia on business cash

December 16, 2005

Funding of university research by UK businesses has stalled as companies plough more money into research in China and India, according to the Council for Industry in Higher Education, writes Claire Sanders.

"UK universities have done a great job in increasing their research income from businesses, but they will struggle to keep this going," said Richard Brown, CIHE chief executive and joint author of the report Higher Education: Meeting International Business Demand .

The report says that university research income from UK industry peaked in 2000-01 at nearly £260 million. It fell to £247 million in 2003-04.

The council interviewed senior scientists and managers in 40 UK-based multinational businesses. "The main reason for this stall is that UK businesses are increasing the amounts they spend overseas on near-market research. As the emerging markets are in China and India, this is where the research is being done," Mr Brown said.

The report confirms figures from higher education consultants Evidence, reported in The Times Higher two weeks ago, that industrial research spending at universities fell between 2002-03 and 2003-04.

But the report says universities have seen an increase in research funds from overseas businesses and from non-profit organisations. "Overseas businesses have increased their funding of UK research. There appears to have been a particular increase in funding from the US," Mr Brown said.

The report will be published in May.

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