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Businesses up their investment in UK university research projects


Rebecca Ratcliffe

The Guardian

27 January 2015

PA’s Mike Boxall, higher education expert, is quoted in an article in the Guardian which looks at UK universities working with companies to form business partnerships.

The article explains that a report by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that more than two thirds of businesses had developed links with universities, while nearly half were looking to grow their university ties in the future.

Mike shares his view that although industry and universities do appear to be collaborating more, the differing priorities held by either side is hampering progress.

He explains: “There are built-in contradictions between the two systems. Universities are often much more concerned about the standing of their research in terms of citations and league tables and how they compare with their peers.”

Mike suggests that for individual academics, working on research collaborations with industry pulls them away from the things that matter to their career promotion and esteem.

“The tighter restraints on research funding may be stirring universities into action,” says Mike.

Mike comments on reserach funding: “There’s an expectation that in the spending review after the election the ringfencing of the research budgets is going to be difficult to sustain. Even within that, the research funding that has been around has been concentrated on a few universities, so it’s becoming more important that institutions find other sources of getting revenue for their research.”

Mike concludes by explaining that institutions are becoming more focused on the local growth agenda: “The game is shifting and everything is becoming much more focused – both in terms of talent development and applications of knowledge – on a local level.”


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