HEFCE report on knowledge exchange and innovation funding

03 April 2014

Commenting on the HEFCE report into universities’ knowledge exchange performance and use of innovation funding, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

 “This report highlights the key role research-intensive universities play in driving economic growth in the UK, and that the work our universities do with business has been growing in recent years, in spite of the tough economic climate.

“It shows how vital Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) is to the collaborative work of universities and businesses. In particular, the research shows that every £1 of funding for the most research-intensive universities generates a further £13.30 of income, compared to £2.60 for those of low research intensity.

“Yet, because of a cap on how much each institution can receive academics at high-performing institutions receive less than half the funding of academics at the least research-intensive universities. Lifting the cap on HEIF will help target this limited resource on those universities which are best able to translate world-class research into economic and societal benefit to the UK.

“We support Sir Andrew Witty’s recent proposal to increase HEIF to £250 million per year provided this is funded with new money from the Government.

“As well as funding our universities’ work with small- and medium-sized businesses, collaborations with big British industry and support for student entrepreneurs, HEIF is particularly important for supporting proof of concept activities that take innovative ideas from research closer to the point where they can attract development funding from external investors."

Notes to Editors

  1. The full report from HEFCE can be found here.
  2. Over a ten year period (2003-12), the gross additional income from every £1 of HEIF at the ‘Top 6 insitutions’ was £13.30, and for other high research intensive universities it is £7.10 per £1. This compares with £2.60 for low research-intensive universities and £1.50 for specialist arts institutions.
  3. In 2012, the ‘Top 6 institutions’ received £655 per full time (equivalent) academic  compared to £1550 per full time (equivalent) academic at specialist arts institutions.

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