Driving Solutions

Driving Solutions

The UK has a strong reputation for global innovation excellence, being 2nd in the world for research, 6th for industry-university collaboration and 7th for knowledge exchange.

This section showcases this reputation at its best, and makes evident the goals that can be achieved, and the obstacles overcome, when universities and businesses truly collaborate. There is reduction of food waste for SMEs in Scotland, robotics changing the face of space exploration, Virtual Reality in the mining industry, and new medicines to fight cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. We’re seeing truly open innovation from GSK, the championing of entrepreneurship from Cisco and UCL, and local, meaningful growth from universities across Wales.

Innovation based on collaboration will always involve a degree of knowledge exchange, and participants are required to put excellence ahead of their own goals. In a world where a significant proportion of the public fail to understand what universities do, shining a light on this, the ‘third leg of the HE stool’, is crucial. As we develop the Knowledge Exchange Framework, it is imperative that this section showcase the diversity of knowledge exchange taking place in university-business collaboration, and highlight the wealth of both outputs and outcomes which ensue.

The benefits for both universities and business are evident, both financial and reputational, but it is the benefits for the UK as whole which are outstanding. As seen in the Collaboration Progress Monitor at the beginning of this report, the quantity of interactions between universities and business has increased, but in general terms the value has contracted. The outcomes of these interactions are substantial, and this year we have recorded increases in the number of licenses issued to businesses; a growth in income from licensing activity; an increase in the granting of patents; and a great number of spin-off companies surviving the initial 3 years. We look forward to the impact of efforts to raise R&D investment to 2.4% GDP by 2027, bringing us closer to our OECD competitors.

Browse the Case Studies

Accelerating Patient Capital - Innovate UK
Accelerating Patient Capital


Triggering innovation in new markets through partnership - Cardiff Metropolitan University
Cardiff partnership


Award winning KTP opens doors for the food industry - Abertay University
Abertay KTP


EDF Energy embeds employees at University of Manchester to drive nuclear progress - EDF Energy
EDF and the Uni of Manchester


Pushing the boundaries at Queen Mary University of London - Queen Mary University London


GSK take open innovation to the next level - GSK


Partnership rapidly progresses new cancer drugs - The Insititute of Cancer Research


Anchor for growth - Heriot-Watt University


Semiconductors: unsung heroes of the modern world - Cardiff University


Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) in the mining industry - Ulster Unviersity


The light touch - Unviersity of St Andrews


AI and robotics: the future of space exploration - University of Surrey


Boosting sales through best practice insight - University of Leicester


Photonics – impacting our daily lives - University of Southampton


IDEALondon: a blueprint for business university collaboration - Cisco


Browse other sections of the 2018 State of the Relationship Report by topic:

Changing State of Higher Education Local Business Impact Safeguarding the future People and Wellbeing


You can download the full report here.

Previous reports:

State of the Relationship 2017
State of the Relationship 2016
State of the Relationship 2015
State of the Relationship 2014

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