Our History

Our History

The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) was launched in April 2013, building on the twenty-five year history of predecessor body the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE).


The Council for Industry and Higher Education was founded in 1986 by Jim Prior, John Cassels and Pauline Perry, with Patrick Coldstream appointed as the first CEO. The CIHE was a unique high-level partnership between leaders from businesses, universities and colleges that allowed businesses and universities to talk, develop a shared agenda, influence Government policies and undertake joint projects.

The CIHE established itself as an important voice in the sector lobbying for the expansion of student numbers, establishing the extent of existing collaboration and undertaking research such as a review of the role of the humanities. 

The Council's second CEO was Richard Brown, who served from 1996 to 2009. Under his leadership, the Council led the response to Dearing review by emphasising partnership and employability and published influential reports on increasing international competitiveness, entrepreneurial education and promoting innovation. He was succeeded by David Docherty in 2009. Dr Joe Marshall took over as Chief Executive in summer 2018.

For copies of CIHE reports from this period, please contact us

CIHE Task Forces

The CIHE established in its later years three Task Forces of industry and higher education leaders around vital economic issues. The reports produced by these Task Forces continue to inform ongoing initiatives and demonstrate policy impact.

  • The Creative, Digital and IT Task Force, co-chaired by Rona Fairhead and Professor Chris Snowden (University of Surrey) asked how the UK could remain competitive in these growing global markets. Its final report, The Fuse, emphasised the importance of CDIT industries as a strategic priority alongside STEM, as shown in the amazing success of The Brighton Fuse
  • The Engineering and Manufacturing Task Force, co-chaired by Richard Greenhalgh and Nigel Thrift (University of Warwick) examined how universities and business could collaborate more effectively to improve manufacturing competitiveness in a knowledge based economy in the Powering Up report. This was followed by the Great Expectations report into the talent pipeline which led to the creation of the Talent 2030 campaign.
  • The Enhancing Value Task Force was co-chaired by David Eyton (BP) and Dame Shirley Pearce. In conjunction with the UK-Innovation Research Centre (UK-IRC) it set out to answer the question: how do we make the most of the UK’s research base? The research and findings of the Task Force have been collected in the Growing Value book

Creating the NCUB

Sir Tim Wilson's review of university-business collaboration published in February 2012 recommended that the CIHE develop to become the focal point of university-business collaboration as a membership charity.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) response called for the formation of the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB). Following the announcement from BIS, the four funding councils across the UK research councils through RCUK and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) (now Innovate UK) agreed to help fund NCUB. NCUB was launched with an event at the BT tower.

Find out more about Who We Are and What We Do today.

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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