Business-university collaboration announcement by BIS

26 June 2012

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“Business-HE links are key to what our universities do, and thousands of leading businesses make Russell Group universities their partner of choice.

“Russell Group universities are already succeeding in reaching out to businesses whether that’s a leg up for local SMEs, throwing the doors to their science parks wide open or acting as incubators for future multi-million pound companies. With the right long term investment, our universities will continue to collaborate with existing businesses and develop pioneering products from conception to commercialisation. Businesses gain competitive advantage through collaborating with universities on research and research-based activities – for example the UK-Pfizer collaboration on stem cells with University College London. 

“Today’s announcement shows potential, but key questions remain unanswered. If the new National Centre for Universities and Business is to be successful, it will need to find a sustainable source of income. 

“We are pleased, however, that the joint chairs of the Centre’s steering group, Anton Muscatelli and Richard Lambert, have exactly the sort of expertise that universities and businesses could benefit from. 

“We are concerned that the introduction of an upper fee cap of £1,350 for sandwich years will take away the discretion some universities need to cover the very real costs involved in setting up and managing the high quality placements which give students the greatest advantages.”

Notes to editors

  1. Liverpool, Nottingham, Glasgow and Newcastle have awarded local businesses thousands of pounds of innovation vouchers, enabling small companies to access research expertise through consultancy or collaborative projects.
  2. Warwick has a virtual tenancies programmes that allows emerging companies to access the support and facilities at Warwick’s science park without having to physically relocate.
  3. The technology transfer company Imperial Innovations invested more than £14 million in 20 companies in 2008/9. By 2009/10 external investment had risen to nearly £75 million

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