University-industry interaction: Good to great?
- Published: Monday, 29 April 2013 00:00
- Written by Prof Anton Muscatelli
How has the situation evolved over the past ten years?
Overall they work well, as recognised in the Wilson Review. It is acknowledged by many businesses that the UK is one of the best and easiest countries in which to build and transact relationships with universities, which are often more flexible than their overseas counterparts.
Yet the myth still persists that the UK research base is not good at working with business, and it is time that this is dispelled.
The companies citing satisfaction with the system tend to be global players, making significant investments in building relationships with universities. It is more challenging for small and medium sized companies, who often have unrealistic expectations when entering into such relationships, typically due to a lack of understanding around the multiple missions and constraints placed on the higher education sector.
For example many companies seek ownership of all IP, are unwilling to pay full economic costs or reasonable overheads and then seek warranties and indemnities for speculative research.
Supporting innovation through collaboration
In recent years the Technology Strategy Board has developed a major influence by funding near market research in areas of strategic importance. However any such initiatives, from the availability of Innovation Vouchers for SMEs to buy advice from researchers through to the establishment of the national technology intensive Catapult Centres, depend on demand pull.
It is clear that where the industry demand exists then universities are gearing themselves up to support innovation through effective collaboration.
For example, Glasgow University is currently leading the formation of two Scottish Innovation Centres [pictured] in Stratified Medicine and Sensors & Imaging Systems which are jointly developed (indeed co-led) with responsive industry partners, many of them SMEs who have invested time in understanding the perspective of the universities they work with.
However, initiatives such as these only represent a small fraction of the UK’s industry base. UK business-university interactions are already good. They now have to move from good to great. To some extent it might require new processes and sharing good practice. But much will depend on cultural change. Those companies and universities that will invest time and money into the innovation system will reap the rewards.
A major report focused on how Scotland’s universities can improve engagement with industry and boost contribution to economic growth is underway.
iCAIRD brings together a pan-Scotland collaboration of 15 partners from across academia, the NHS, and industry.
The University of Glasgow’s £1bn campus redevelopment is its single biggest estates project in more than 150 years.
Initial joint funding from SFC, Aridhia and Thermo Fisher Scientific has allowed us the Centre to install offices, genetics lab and datacentre in a custom built facility within Scotland’s new “super hospital”, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, and to hire the initial team of 9 key professionals, including project managers and scientists.
Business Development Manager at University of Glasgow College of Arts on public engagement and knowledge exchange.
QuantIC, led by the University of Glasgow, is taking a novel approach to industrial collaboration and the way academic research is translated into innovative technologies.
If you put in the time and effort to understand what the company needs, what academics can offer and build the right relationship, it is well worth the effort.
Delivering solutions to water engineering problems will require industrial collaboration
The partnership has enhanced reputations
The historically accurate restoration of six Stirling Castle Palace apartments and replication of the Stirling Heads...
The Scottish Funding Councils investment in Innovation Centres is a ‘game changer’
Many business acknowledge that the UK is one of the best countries to build relationships with universities
The sustainable development of smart cities is a major research theme at the University of Glasgow.
In 2010 the University of Glasgow took the bold step of marketing technology opportunities free of charge through our Easy Access IP initiative.