Russell Group welcomes MPs' report on high value economy

25 September 2009

Responding to the publication of the Business and Enterprise Committee report, “Risk and Reward: sustaining a higher value-added economy”, Dr Wendy Piatt, the Director General of the Russell Group of 20 leading universities, said:

“This positive report, with its full-hearted support for a strong research base, points a way out of the gloomy economic diagnoses we have seen over the past year. As the committee has underlined, the UK has many economic strengths to aid a recovery, not least the ‘high quality research universities’ which can attract and sustain clusters of innovative businesses.

“The success of businesses and their ability to compete both in the UK and internationally will continue to rely on their capacity to innovate. It is therefore crucial that businesses are able to access leading international research, and the highly skilled professionals which Russell Group universities provide. Innovative work by the universities of Cambridge, Warwick and Birmingham in nurturing new enterprises is highlighted in the report.

“However, we are facing a funding crisis coupled with fierce international competition. If we are to continue to support businesses to survive and grow through the recession, it is vital that our leading universities are given the right conditions to continue to flourish.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Business and Enterprise Committee report, “Risk and Reward: sustaining a higher value-added economy” was published on Friday 25th September 2009 and is available from here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmberr/746/746i.pdf
  2. Paragraph 76, page 30 of the report states: “The existence of high quality research universities can foster clusters of innovative businesses.”
  3. During 2007/08 The Russell Group earned over £880m from research in partnership with business.
  4. Russell Group universities on average earned £3.3m in consultancy contracts during 2007/08: more than five times the average for the sector as a whole; 19 out of 20 RGUs now have a dedicated unit which can provide a contact point for SMEs, while 18 out of 20 institutions are active in assisting SMEs to articulate their business needs.

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