The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) reveals the far-reaching impact of university-business collaboration with the launch of its State of the Relationship report today (Thursday 14 May), and calls on the newly-elected Government to prioritise research funding to further spur the economy.

The NCUB report, the second since its inception, charts the status, growth, and nature of collaboration on real-world challenges in the UK, and for the first time, measures long-term impact through the launch of NCUB’s Collaboration Progress Monitor – a basket of hard metrics that will, over time, determine what is successful and where challenges remain. The Monitor sits alongside 35 case studies across the spectrum of partnerships, from the refurbishment of Stirling Castle to the performance of Rolls Royce engines.
There is clear evidence for success and progress:

  • Universities increasingly attract foreign R&D investment, although this, of course, intensifies exposure to decisions taken outside of the UK.
  • Jointly-authored papers by academics and business-researchers are becoming more influential or highly-cited.
  • Graduate employability has increased and has done so in the most innovative of sectors necessary to drive growth.   

The challenge, remains however, that collaborative innovation and graduate talent development takes place most often with larger companies and in established industries. State of the Relationship clearly shows that we must spread the lessons of success to sectors, such as food, and to smaller companies through online brokerage.

NCUB Chief Executive, Dr David Docherty, said: “Over the past decade, university-business collaboration in the UK has deepened and intensified, and State of the Relationship highlights case study after case study of what is possible when university research is matched with business need.”

He added: “Pooling ideas and resources between business and universities creates opportunities that would not exist were either to go it alone. However, despite ring-fenced funds for science and research, spending power has diminished in the face of inflation. Government must address this shortfall to ensure that companies continue to benefit from a top quality UK research base.

“In the long run, successful innovation that leads to economic growth is reliant on the flow of graduates into businesses of all kinds and sizes. We must increase the opportunities for students to experience work, to help them make the right career choices across all sectors and disciplines.”
NCUB has 120 corporate and university members, many of whom contributed to the report.

You can download the report here. Please visit our reports page to read the report online.