University-business links see big boost

Partnerships between institutions and wider world now worth almost £4 billion

July 15, 2015

Interactions between universities and the economy increased in volume by 10 per cent between 2012-13 and 2013-14, according to a new survey.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Higher Education - Business and Community Interaction survey reveals that such partnerships were worth £3.9 billion last year, up from £3.6 billion in 2012-13.

Meanwhile, graduates set up almost a third more enterprises last year than in the preceding one.

The annual HE-BCI survey looks at the exchange of knowledge between universities and the wider world. It collects financial data and information on outputs.

The 2013-14 report finds that the investment by large businesses in universities has increased by around 5 per cent to £770 million in 2013-14. Institutional income from collaborative research, consultancy, facilities and intellectual property rights also increased by more than 10 per cent over the period studied.

Graduates set up more than 4,600 new businesses in 2013-14, a 31 per cent increase on the number in 2012-13.

The data suggests that the universities in the UK outperform those in the US and Japan in terms of the proportion of industry-funded research and income from spin-off equity.

Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of Hefce, said: “Organisations of all kinds are increasing their investment in university research and innovation, and graduates are increasingly starting their own businesses. This all suggests a more confident economy and a university sector fully engaged.”

She added that this is important as the nation faces a productivity gap and “universities have a key part to play in filling it”.

“The role of universities as ‘anchors’ in their localities is also vital to address long-standing disparities in regional and local productivity across the country,” Professor Atkins said.

Universities and science minister Jo Johnson said: “Our universities are successfully engaging with businesses and the returns from collaborations are now greater than ever before. We must continue to build on this progress so that higher education institutions can make an even bigger contribution to the economy and productivity in the future.”

holly.else@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest