Universities spur economic growth

HE-BCI survey results highlight that HE institutions make continuing strong contribution to the UK economy and society

This year’s survey of interaction between UK universities and business shows that the total value of knowledge exchange interaction between UK universities and their partners across the economy has risen by over 6% to £4.2 billion in 2014-15.

The 2014-15 Higher Education – Business and Community Interaction Survey (HE-BCI) shows that collaborative research, access to specialist facilities and equipment and economic regeneration all increased by around 10%.

Total knowledge exchange investment across all activities from large businesses increased in cash terms by 6.6%, from £769 million in the previous year to £819 million, while SMEs increased their overall spending by 7.8%, from £201 million to £217 million.

Companies created from intellectual property developed in UK universities showed improvements in survival rate, staffing and turnover. There were also increases in the total number of graduate start-ups and social enterprises.

Businesses of all sizes are increasing the value they place on working with our universities

UK performance is world leading. Comparisons demonstrate that the return on investment from commercialisation of research (sale of equity) is higher in the UK than in the USA or Japan and engagement with industry (proportion of research income) is at similar levels either side of the Atlantic.

David Sweeney, HEFCE Director for Research, Education and Knowledge Exchange, said: ‘This year’s HE-BCI survey results reiterate that higher education institutions make a continuing strong contribution to the UK economy and society. Businesses of all sizes are increasing the value they place on working with our universities. These interactions have impacts that benefit the UK beyond immediate innovation and productivity gains. They instil a more entrepreneurial culture in staff and students and generate new avenues for research.”

Jo Johnson, Universities Minister said: “As this report shows, our world leading universities have a clear impact on discovery and driving growth in our economy. And by bringing Innovate UK, Research England and the Research Councils into the single research and innovation funding body we are creating – UK Research and Innovation – we will help strengthen these links further. Our reforms will help businesses identify potential research partners that can meet their commercial needs as well as improving researchers’ exposure to commercialisation expertise so they can achieve more impact.”

W: www.hefce.ac.uk 

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