Survey highlights Russell Group universities' major contribution to boosting UK economy

10 July 2008

Responding to the 2006-07 Higher Education Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey, Director General of the Russell Group, Dr Wendy Piatt, said:

“The results of this survey show, once again, the huge contribution that Russell Group universities make to the economy and to society in general. Our universities are leading the way in engaging with business, public sector organisations and the public.

“As the UK's foremost research-intensive universities, the expertise of our institutions is in high demand from business and public bodies seeking to develop their products and services. The Russell Group earned over £800m from research in partnership with business during 2006/07; an increase of over £100m from last year (1).

“Our universities play a major role in generating valuable intellectual property, leading to major technological advances and the creation of a high number of pioneering ‘spin-off’ companies (2). They are also leading providers of professional development and education, helping build the skills of individuals and businesses (3).

“Equally important are the huge number of ways in which universities interact with the wider community. As well as the ever-growing links with the commercial world, increasingly Russell Group universities are opening up access to their exceptional knowledge, resources and facilities (4).

“We welcome the Government's support for universities' engagement with business and the community. Funding through, for example, the Higher Education Innovation Fund (5) has allowed universities to take a more strategic approach to their links with industry, the public sector, and society as a whole.  But we are not complacent - with support from HEIF, Russell Group universities are committed to further expansion of their mutually beneficial links with those outside of HE.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Representing just 12% of institutions included in the survey, Russell Group universities earned 55% of the total collaborative and contract research income earned by the sector.
  2. Last year, breakthroughs resulting from research in Russell Group universities have generated over 1,200 new licenses to business; our universities now have 588 active spin-off companies (with some university ownership). On average, Russell Group institutions developed three times the number of commercial licenses as other HE institutions. Management of this intellectual property generated more than £38m of revenue and is likely to result in enormous benefits for wider society and the UK economy.
  3. Russell Group universities earned almost £120m in income from continuing professional development (CPD) and other professional courses in 2006/07; the average CPD income earned by Russell Group universities was almost twice that of the HE sector average.
  4. Last year almost 2.5m people attended free public exhibitions and lectures at Russell Group universities, who committed a total of almost 18,000 days of academic staff time to support such activities.
  5. HEIF is available to institutions in England only

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