At the Universities UK conference on 3 April 2014, David Willetts confirmed that the National Centre for Universities and Business will lead on the setting up of an Advisory Hub for Smart Specialisation. Supporting the work of the Local Enterprise Partnerships in this area, the Advisory Hub will seek to better connect universities and businesses to aid local growth. The Hub will collate evidence on what is working and highlight the key areas where each party should be working collectively.

“I am delighted to confirm today that the National Centre for Universities and Business has agreed to lead this critical exercise” – David Willetts MP

The Minister for Universities and Science says this brokerage tool will focus on “investing smartly and specialising in areas where we can really make a difference.”

The conference held at Woburn House Conference Centre in London launched commissioned research by Universities UK on the impact of UK universities, including their ability to generate economic activity in their local economies, their contribution to national economic activity and effectiveness in attracting export earnings.

In his speech entitled “The contribution of UK Universities to National and Local Economic Growth” David Willetts brought to surface the demand for the UK’s capacity to identify where strengths really lie and the ability to draw up an innovation map that will contribute towards a long term economic plan ‘to build a more resilient economy and create jobs.’

Willetts acknowledged Andrew Witty’s review of University and Growth and agreed that Universities are at the heart of these clusters, the work required is to make better sense of ‘what and where they are.’ He said, “Anyone can claim to be a cluster, but we have got to be tough-minded about where our strengths really lie.”

The NCUB look forward to leading on this Advisory Hub with the support and help of our funders, partners and members.



Editors’ notes

About the National Centre for Universities and Business

The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) develops, promotes and supports world-class collaboration between universities and business across the UK. Our aim is to find practical ways of harnessing the talent being developed in our universities, and the UK’s strength in ground-breaking research and development, for the benefit of the nation’s economy.

Drawing on the 25 years’ experience of our predecessor body, the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE), NCUB is committed to a programme of research, policy development and practical partnerships. From facilitating collaborative R&D, to developing the entrepreneurial and employability skills of students at all stages of their education, NCUB is working to support UK business and higher education in a competitive global market.

NCUB’s Leadership Council includes many of the UK’s most successful businesses and universities.

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NCUB Press enquiries to Will Hoyles – 07772 512519

NCUB Chief Executive, Dr David Docherty and Press Officer Will Hoyles are available for further comment or media appearances.