What’s business got to do with universities?
- Published: Friday, 20 December 2013 09:00
- Written by Prof Colin Riordan
There is much goodwill between universities and industry. We will turn this into collaboration in practice
Universities are complex organisations. Traditional centres of critical inquiry and free thinking, they remain at the forefront of the quest to further knowledge and to pass this understanding on to future generations.
But if universities are to succeed in future we must recognise the value of qualities such as entrepreneurialism, practicality and employability within the academy. We want our researchers to be tackling today’s big challenges. We don’t just want well informed and educated graduates, but well-rounded individuals ready for the workplace.
If we don’t change and grow as a sector, we will fail to meet the needs of society.
We need to adapt to the dramatic changes in the global economy. If you look at China and India, they are expected to add more than 300 million workers to the global pool by 2030. If the UK economy is to remain competitive, it needs to rely more heavily on knowledge and technology. Students and graduates will provide us with the cutting-edge research that will ensure future prosperity.
Collaboration between business and universities is an essential route to achieving economic growth. Graduate skills contribute by driving increased productivity and improving employability, all leading to rising levels of employment. The fastest-growing businesses are often found to have owners educated to at least degree level. A recent CBI survey found that 82% of employers identified students’ employability skills when asked what universities should prioritise.
Collaboration works for businesses too: they gain access to the latest research, and to innovative new talent through our students and graduates. They can influence the design of degrees, so graduates leave university with the skills that their businesses need now and will need in the future.
Universities that connect with business gain access to potential private funding for research, help realise the commercial value of research, and provide opportunities for student entrepreneurs.
It’s a compelling case. That’s why Cardiff University is working closely with local businesses, local government and research funders to ensure that we consider enterprise and innovation in the work that our university does.
By embedding enterprise into courses across the University we will find new answers to global challenges. We’ve helped Cardiff students establish more than 100 new ventures and turn over more than £12m in businesses, marketing anything from pre-mixed frozen cocktails to the latest male grooming products.
Crucial too is creating businesses out of our world-leading research. Our intellectual property commercialisation company, Fusion IP, has enabled more than £33m to be invested in spin-out and start-up businesses making the most of our academic research findings.
This is only the start. A great deal remains to be done to improve business-university collaboration. I believe there is an enormous amount of goodwill from both universities and business to make this happen. We are determined to translate this goodwill into practice.
Colin Riordan is Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University
The Creative Cardiff network established by Cardiff University's Creative Economy Unit is widely recognised as a model for creative collaboration.
Cardiff will work with other leading universities and industry as part of the PETRAS.
IQE holds the lion’s share of the global CS materials market and has worked with Cardiff University for decades - the collaboration has now intensified.
Graded ‘outstanding’ by Innovate UK, the KTP has supported the University’s longer term strategic partnership with Panalpina.
A KTP between Llamau Limited and Cardiff University has improved the charity’s service provision for vulnerable and homeless young people in Wales
GAMA’s Clinell Sporicidal wipe products are superior to competitors, but GAMA wanted clinical proof that products were effective against the ‘superbug’.
The GW4 Alliance combines the intellectual capacity and physical resources of leading research-intensive universities, Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, and Exeter.
A partnership which developed clinical wet wipes to tackle hospital 'superbug' infections has been named the People's Choice at Cardiff University's Innovation and Impact Awards 2015.
An innovative new product for removing smoke created in minimally invasive surgery has won this year’s Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Award for the best New Venture. Ultravision (TM) clears the operative visual field of surgical smoke rapidly, effectively and silently whilst simultaneously preventing its release into the operating theatre.
Legal & General have celebrated over 10 years of award winning excellence in the development and delivery of underwriting expertise, in conjunction with Cardiff University. Russell Whitworth, Claims and Underwriting Director, Retail Protection said: "The Academy and what we have achieved in our partnership with Cardiff University is something that Legal & General is very proud of."
Inter-disciplinary teams of students and young researchers are taking part in a competition to commercialise university research.