NCUB welcomes survey of UK Business on University collaboration

NCUB welcomes survey of UK Business on University collaboration

The NCUB welcomes the publication of a compelling report on university-industry collaboration viewed from the point of view of business.

A team of researchers from the UK’s Innovation Research Centre undertook a survey of business practices of engagement with universities, covering motivations for engaging alongside the whole value chain, but also barriers and constraints in maximising the value of these interactions.

Connecting with the Ivory Tower: Business Perspectives on Knowledge Exchange in the UK” exposes the dispersed nature of university-business collaboration. Universities provide multiple points of access to knowledge for business and this knowledge is of value alongside all functions of business value chains.

Business engage with universities through many channels; while intellectual property is one of the more visible channel it is not widespread in non-science based industries and disciplines. The use of other academic outputs, such as publications, to develop innovations is more common than patents and licenses across all industries, irrespective of the scientific orientation. People based activities such as mobility in and out of academia and problem solving activities such as contract and joint research demonstrate deeper and longer term collaborative activities.

The report offers definitive evidence that collaboration is much more multi-disciplinary than has previously been believed, with several industries interacting with many disciplines alongside the value chain; from introducing new processes through to after sale maintenance and customer care.

When prompted to consider constraints to collaboration, businesses most frequently quote a lack of resources followed by; difficulty in identifying partners, an insufficient perception of the benefits of collaboration and a lack of experience dealing with academics and institutional bureaucracy.

These findings validate the NCUB’s plans for action from a multi-discipline, multi-sector vision of collaboration to the creation of a brokerage platform that can successfully tackle the constraints cited by businesses. The potential is there to reach out to the 70% of business in this sample who are not currently interacting with HEIs.

Read the full report here.

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