2016 will be a big year for the NCUB. Along with our strategic partners, we have developed an online brokerage tool that will allow businesses to search for academics to work with across the UK – a kind of collaborative dating service.

This will also enable both businesses and universities to set out their business and research challenges and work on them together.

We are also working with our university members on some persistent challenges, such as creating more successful means of attracting girls into engineering and tech courses at university, and of course into jobs. The UK is nowhere near the European averages in these industries and we need joined-up approaches to make the change.

We will continue to grow our research programme and are focussing early in the year on the role of graduate apprenticeships, in diversifying intake into universities. And our State of the Relationship report, which charts the health of the partnership between universities and businesses, will range widely and report from the front line of collaboration. Finally we will update our collaboration progress monitors to chart change across a basket of measures.

Our Task Force programmes will continue with Growing Value: Scotland. This review of the ways in which businesses and universities in Scotland can work together to innovate and grow prosperity and productivity has already commissioned in-depth research and the team has consulted widely. The recommendations should make for fascinating reading. Following the wrap up on Scotland, we will kick off Growing Value: Wales.

On the digital front, we will continue to grow our web and mobile presence with new apps on the food economy and engineering as well as a series of ‘how to’ guides for companies looking to work with universities.
And finally we will continue our highly-successful programme of membership meetings with our Leadership Council, focussing on some of the major collaborative challenges, such as supporting scale-ups and regional industrial diversity.

We have hugely exciting year ahead as we continue with our mission to increase the nature, quality and diversity of collaboration in the UK.