The Witty Review of universities and economic growth

15 October 2013

Commenting on the publication of the report from Sir Andrew Witty's review of universities and growth, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

"We welcome Sir Andrew's report and wholeheartedly agree that far more could be done to create the right environment to exploit innovation and technological breakthroughs.

"Discoveries at our world-leading research-intensive universities have generated billions over the years. But it's vital for the UK's economy that ground-breaking discoveries make it all the way from idea to implementation and from prototype to profit.

"Collaboration with business is a core part of the mission of all our academics. But we need to bridge the gap and help everyone work together. As Sir Andrew says we need to eliminate unnecessary regional barriers and marshal our resources "to run a global race".

"We welcome Sir Andrew's recommendation to develop 'Arrow Projects' with £1 billion plus of public and private funding. This initiative is designed to take our world-leading academic research through to exploitation with groups of universities, businesses and their Local Enterprise Partnerships working together to exploit the best new technologies.

"This kind of end-to-end, integrated funding could help the whole way through the process from research to development, proof of concept, piloting and training apprentices.

"Sir Andrew is also right to argue that the Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) should be increased to £250 million.  HEIF kick starts innovation up and down the country. We know that Government investment in HEIF results in a six-fold return on investment and that the return is greater where research intensity is greater.

"Our universities use HEIF for everything from setting up science parks to help local businesses to giving a helping hand to entrepreneurs or reaching out to overseas investors."

Notes to editors

  1. Read the full report: Encouraging a British invention revolution: Sir Andrew Witty's review of universities and growth
  2. The report on HEIF is available on the Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) website

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