State of the Relationship 2018

State of the Relationship 2018

SoR booklet

State of the Relationship is NCUB's flagship report series which aims to summarise university - business collaboration across the UK and provide an authoritative source on the spread and quality of collaboration activity taking place in the sector.




This is the National Centre’s fifth annual assessment of the health of the partnerships between business, higher education institutions, UK government, devolved administrations, and their agencies.

Much has changed since last year, with the establishment of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to oversee a substantial increase in funding and integration of purpose, and, in England, the launch of the Office for Students (OfS), a new regulator dedicated to ensuring that students have a rich experience from their university and college education.

The broader context is also changing, with a new emphasis on industrial strategy, grand challenges, devolution at city-region level, the patient capital review, and preparing for Brexit. Across the UK, policy makers have focussed on knowledge-exchange between universities and businesses, and the UK Government has committed itself to growing R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

"Growing collaboration is at the heart of the NCUB’s mission, and its members continue to show how to do it best."

There are persistent concerns among businesses about skills (including skilled migrants) and long-run productivity and competitiveness that require the kinds of relationships documented in this report. Our members and funders are responding to these challenges with a range of exciting, strategic, focussed, and transformational projects, collaborations, funding calls, fresh thinking on pedagogy and student support, as well as a stronger focus on place-based research and innovation.

If you would like to contribute to future State of the Relationship reports, please contact



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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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