Wilson Review of Business-University Collaboration

28 February 2012

Commenting on the publication of Prof Sir Tim Wilson’s review into business university collaboration, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“We are pleased Professor Wilson’s review recognises the critical role universities play in driving economic growth. Our leading universities are already successful 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 multi-million pound companies. Thousands of leading businesses already make Russell Group universities their partner of choice. With the right long term investment, our universities can and do help develop pioneering products from conception to commercialisation.  

“But we know we can’t rest on our laurels which is why we have set up a new high level working group to look specifically at innovation and work closely with industrialists and business leaders.

“Our graduates are already among the most sought after in the world and employers rank seven Russell Group universities in the top 20 in the world. In some cases - such as engineering degrees at Birmingham - employability skills are a key part of the curriculum.  Liverpool law students undertake pro bono work and Manchester law students also offer innovative work place experiences.

“All our universities are committed to providing information to help student choice but we are concerned that many of the report’s recommendations - such as providing additional data on the job destinations of recent postgraduates - risks tying universities up in red tape.”  

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 £14M in 20 companies in 2008/9. By 2009/10 external investment had risen to nearly £75M.
  4. In 2009/10 Russell Group universities accounted for 68 per cent of total income from contract research to UK universities.
  5. The new high-level working group on innovation will engage with leading industrialists and business leaders to realise maximum benefit for the UK economy from the world-leading research activities of the Russell Group universities. Building on the existing close links between Russell Group universities and business, the group will examine how to strengthen these links and explore new approaches to collaboration to further enhance the UK’s international competitiveness.  

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