Research & Innovation Projects

Research & Innovation Projects

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The UK has a world-leading academic research base and universities full of invention and new ideas.

The National Centre for Universities and Business is passionate about translating inventiveness into innovation, harnessing this expertise to help businesses transform and grow.


Impact of Covid-19

The UK Government views research and innovation as a major driver of recovery, future growth and prosperity. Policy makers need to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the innovation-focused activities and partnerships of universities in order to develop effective programmes of support. NCUB, in partnership with the new Policy Evidence Unit for University Commercialisation and Innovation (UCI) at the University of Cambridge, is gathering evidence for UKRI to inform its approach.  NCUB is gathering regular evidence and insight for Government.

A survey has been launched that will contribute to the National Centre for Universities and Business' R&D Taskforce and inform the UK Government's R&D Roadmap by helping us understand how the Covid crisis is affecting universities' abilities to contribute to innovation. Findings will be reported in the Autumn.

R&D Roadmap Taskforce 

NCUB has been asked to launch a new Taskforce to advise on the future of UK R&D. The Taskforce, requested by UK Research and Innovation, will consider how partnerships between universities and businesses can be strengthened and maximised to drive growth and prosperity. Collaboration between universities and business is at the centre of the UK’s research and innovation system and will play a fundamental part in driving economic recovery and rejuvenation. The Taskforce will provide recommendations to Government as it shapes its R&D Plan. Read more.

NCUB R&D Roadmap Response

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published their ambitious Research and Development Roadmap on 1 July 2020 setting out a vision to attract global talent, cut unnecessary bureaucracy and cement the UK as a world-leading science superpower. NCUB welcomed the Government’s existing commitment to increase public funding to £22 billion per year by 2024 but noted the limited voice of business within the Roadmap, particularly that it will require £44 billion of leveraged funding from businesses to meet the ambitious 2.4% of GDP target.  Read our full response here:  pdf RD roadmap consultation response (254 KB)

ARPA consultation response

House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee launched an inquiry on the nature and purpose of the newly proposed UK funding agency, which is modelled on the US Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), and how it will fit into the existing research and innovation ecosystem. To read NCUB’s response visit here:  pdf NCUB response to ARPA July 2020  (234 KB)

University-Investor Relations

Following the work NCUB undertook with Research England and Mike Rees, former deputy group CEO of Standard Chartered, to launch his review of university-investor relations, we are pursuing a broader line of enquiry: the implications of access to finance for commercialisation of university activity and IP. A first in the series of roundtable events is being organised in partnership with up to ten Yorkshire Universities in Autumn 2020 to address the questions posed within the report and the place-based implications for Yorkshire. Read the 2019 NCUB Annual Lecture delivered by Mike Rees 'Translating university research into commercial value: a glass half full or half empty'

Business Motivations

The decision of a company to engage with the uncertainty and possibility of innovation is complex and not fully understood. At NCUB we are about to commence two investigations, one quantitative and one qualitative, into this subject area to build on the findings from 2009 which were groundbreaking in helping policy makers understand the barriers, motivations and gaps that lead to university- business collaboration. Read the 2009 report here.

Knowledge Exchange

Knowledge Exchange (KE) is at the heart of university-business collaboration. NCUB aims to clearly define models of KE and best practice as well as establishing the actions and tools needed to increase the scale and quality of university, business and community Knowledge Exchange. Alongside working closely with Research England on the KEF – including in bringing a valuable industry perspective – we are also partnering with the sector to inform the Knowledge Exchange Concordat which can play a huge role in driving institutional improvement. Read more.


To learn more about the benefits of being part of the NCUB network, browse our Membership pages or contact our Membership Team.


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