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University-Industry Knowledge Exchange: Demand Pull, Supply Push & the Public Space Role of Higher Education Institutions in the UK Regions

Aims & objectives

The objective of this research was to identify the factors that affect the incidence, form, effectiveness and regional impact of knowledge exchange activities between the business and higher education sectors in the UK. It identified the way these interactions vary across UK regions and within those regions. Knowledge exchange includes the full range of ways in which the business community and the higher education sector interact and which may affect business and regional economic development. These interactions include educational and training activities, research publications and patenting, conferences, contracting and consulting activity, internships, joint research and development and licensing and new business formation.

This project was completed and an end of award report submitted to the ESRC. A report was published through UK~IRC based on the project's survey of over 20,000 UK academics (Abreu et al., 2009) and a companion volume is in preparation based on the parallel survey of university-industry connections covering 2,500 UK manufacturing and service firms. Presentations based on the research have been made at the University of Edinburgh; NESTA, London; Strathclyde; the UK Cabinet Office; AURIL Annual Conference, Bristol; Imperial College; the UK Research Councils Cross-Council Knowledge Transfer and Economic Impact Group; Research Councils UK; the BIS OECD Innovation Policy Seminar; HEFCE; Nottingham University Business School; the Political Studies Association Annual Conference London; Doshisha University Kyoto; the Japan Science Foundation, Tokyo; the Keidenran Tokyo (Japanese Industry Confederation); meetings with government ministers.

The ESRC end of award evaluation rated the research project as 'outstanding'.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council subsequently commissioned CBR to carry out a separate project analysing Arts and Humanities academic industry interactions compared with other disciplines. Find out more

Reports

CBR/PACEC (2012), Analysis of TSB University Engagement Practices, PACEC and CBR, April.

Abreu, M., Grinevich, V., Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2009), Knowledge Exchange between Academics and the Business, Public and Third Sectors, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

Abreu, M., Grinevich, V., Hughes, A., Kitson, M. and Ternouth, P. (2008), Universities Business Knowledge Exchange, Council for Industry and Higher Education and Centre for Business Research, London and Cambridge.

Journal articles

Abreu, M., Grinevich, V., Kitson, M. and Savona, M. (2010) 'Policies to enhance the "hidden" innovation in services: evidence and lessons from the UK' Service Industries Journal, January.

Burger, M., de Goeik B., Franken, K. and Kitson, M. (2010) 'Functional polycentrism and urban network development in the greater South East UK: evidence from commuting patterns, 1981-2001', Regional Studies.

Cosh, A., and Hughes, A., (2010), 'Never mind the quality feel the width: University-industry links and government financial support for innovation in small high-technology businesses in the UK and the USA' Journal of Technology Transfer, 35: 66-91.

Hughes, A. (2010), 'The Multi-faceted role of universities', ESRC Society Now, Summer 2010 Issue 7, In Focus: p.7.

Kitson, M. (2010), 'University-business contact faces constraints', ESRC Society Now, Summer 2010 Issue 7: p.4.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'Universities, industry and society: the multiple role of higher education in Britain', Britain in 2010 (ESRC Newsstand Magazine), p.33, November.

Kitson, M. (2009), 'The myth of the ivory tower', Research Fortnight, 18 November, p.16.

Book chapters

Kitson, M, 'Regional Competitiveness and Regional Policy: Some Insights from the UK' in A. Brugnoli and A. Colombo (eds), Government, Governance and Welfare Reform: Structural Changes and Subsidiarity in Italy and Britain, Edward Elgar, London (forthcoming).

Conference/Workshop papers

Hughes, A. (2010), 'What academics and business want and get from knowledge exchange in the UK', RCUK Knowledge Transfer and Economic Impact Group (KTEIG) Meeting, Medical Research Council, 31 March.

Hughes, A. (2010), 'Growth, innovation and the science base: from cargo cult to industrial activism', Joint Economic and Social Research Council and British Academy Event Does innovation produce economic growth?, One Great George Street, London, 16 March 2010.

Hughes, A. (2010), 'What academics and business want and get from knowledge exchange in the UK', presentation at the Enabling innovation: creative investments in Arts and Humanities Research policy seminar, The Work Foundation, 5 March

Hughes, A. (2010), 'University-business/community interaction', Presentation at Round Table Meeting with OECD Secretariat to consider Emerging Themes from the OECD Innovation Strategy, Imperial College London, 16 February.

Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2010), 'Knowledge Exchange in the UK: Motivations, Impacts and Constraints', DIME Workshop: Universities on a Third Mission: External Engagement and Entrepreneurship by Academic Researchers, Alma Graduate School, University of Bologna - 11-12 February.

Hughes, A. (2010) 'The science and research base: activities, interaction and the public good', presentation at the BIS Science and Research Seminar: Science, The Economy and Society: An Overview of the Research Base and the Role of Government at BIS, 1 Victoria Street, London, 15 January 2010.

Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2009), Knowledge Exchange Between Academics and the Business, Public and Third Sectors, Presentation to HEFCE at Centre Point in London, 14 December.

Hughes, A. and Salter, A. (2009), 'Ivory Towers and Bamboo Aeroplanes: The role of University IP in UK (and US) Innovation Systems', Innovation Summit: The drivers of successful innovation and the appropriation of value, 8 December

Hughes, A. and Salter, A. (2009), 'The role of British universities in creating wealth in the 21st century', Innovation Summit: The drivers of successful innovation and the appropriation of value, The Royal Society, London, 8 December.

Hughes, A., (2009), 'What Academics and Businesses want from Knowledge Exchange: The Case of the UK', AURIL 09' Annual Conference, Bristol, Thursday 8th October

Hughes, A. (2009), 'Academic and Business Views of Knowledge Exchange and some potential questions for management practice research', AIM Management Practices Fellows Launch Meeting, 30 September.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'Knowledge Exchange Between Universities and the Business, Public and Third Sector], Research Councils UK, 8 September.

Kitson, M with Hughes, A. Knowledge Exchange between Academics and the Business, Public and Third Sectors, National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), London, 20 October 2009.

Kitson, M. Knowledge Exchange between Academics and the Business, Public and Third Sectors, Making an Impact - Universities and the Regional Economy, Impact of Higher Education Institutions on Regional Economies Initiative Conference, London, 20 October 2009.

Kitson, M with Hughes, A. UK Knowledge Exchange Survey, DIME Workshop, Imperial College, London, 18 November 2009.

Kitson, M. with Hughes, A. Innovation: the State of Knowledge Exchange Between Academia and the Business, Public and Third Sectors, BIS OECD Innovation Policy Seminar, 16 February 2010.

Kitson, M. The myth of the ivory tower: the connectivity of UK academia with the business, public and third sector, Network of Industrial Economists, Nottingham, March 2010

Kitson, M. The myth of the ivory tower: the connectivity of UK academia with the business, public and third sector, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, October 2010

Abreu, M, Grinevich, V, Hughes, A and Kitson, M, 'Universities in the Innovation Ecosystem' Going Global 3: New frontiers of knowledge production and the changing role of universities, London, 5 December 2008.

Abreu, M, Grinevich, V, Hughes, A and Kitson, M (2009), 'Knowledge Exchange Between Universities And The Business, Public And Third Sectors: Preliminary Results From Surveys Of Businesses And Academics', Higher Education - Making A Difference To Economies And Communities, Belfast, 28th January.

Abreu, M, Grinevich, V, Hughes, A and Kitson, M (2009), 'Knowledge Exchange Between Universities And The Business, Public And Third Sectors: Preliminary Results From Surveys Of Businesses And Academics' Higher Education, Knowledge Exchange and the Economy Seminar, Edinburgh, 10th March.

Abreu, M, Grinevich, V, Hughes, A and Kitson, M (2009), 'University-business knowledge exchange: evidence from the UK', Triple Helix Conference, Strathclyde,17-19 June.

Abreu, M, Grinevich, V, Hughes, A and Kitson, M (2009), 'Knowledge Exchange Between Universities and the Business, Public and Third Sector', Triple Helix Conference, Strathclyde, 17-19 June.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'Universities and the Commercialisaton of Science: Retrospect and Prospect', DRUID Summer Conference, Copenhagen, 17-19 June.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'What Academics and Businesses want from Knowledge Exchange: The Case of the UK', UK~IRC Research Conference, Imperial College London, 11-12 June.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'What Academics and Businesses want from Knowledge Exchange: The Case of the UK', UK~IRC Universities~Business Interaction Workshop, Newnham College, Cambridge, 4-5 June.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'Understanding University-Industry Knowledge Exchange: R&D in Context', Industrial Innovation and the Role of the Modern Research University, International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), The Pitt Building, University of Cambridge, 27 April.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'What Academics and Businesses want from Knowledge Exchange: The Case of the UK', Risk and Innovation Workshop, CRASSH, 16 April.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'What Academics and Businesses want from Knowledge Exchange: The Case of the UK', What Industry Wants from Universities - A Kauffman Foundation Seminar, University of San Diego, 13 March.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'University-Industry Knowledge Exchange in the UK: Preliminary Results from Surveys of Businesses and Academics', ESRC Social Science Week Managing Knowledge Spaghetti Event, Imperial College, 9 March.

Hughes, A. (2008) 'University-Industry Links: new results and new directions', DIME Research Network Meeting, Imperial College London, 8 December.

Hughes, A. and Kitson, M. (2008) 'University-Industry Knowledge Exchange in the UK: Preliminary Results from Surveys of Businesses and Academics', Presentation to DIUS, London, 5 December 2008.

Abreu, M, Grinevich, V, Hughes, A and Kitson, M, 'University-Industry Knowledge Exchange in the UK: Preliminary Results from Surveys of Businesses and Academics', North American Regional Science Council (NARSC) conference, New York, 20-22 November 2008.

Abreu, M, Grinevich, V, Hughes, A and Kitson, M, 'University-Industry Knowledge Exchange in the UK: Preliminary Results from Surveys of Businesses and Academics', European Regional Science Association (ERSA) conference in Liverpool, 27-31 August 2008.

Datasets deposited with the ESRC Data Archive

CBR et al. (2010) 'Survey of knowledge exchange activity by UK academics', 2005-2009 (SN6462).

CBR et al. (2010) 'Survey of knowledge exchange activity by UK businesses', 2005-2009 (SN6464).

Media coverage

Hughes, A. (2010) cited in article Times Higher Education Supplement, 'Britannia rules the knowledge-transfer waves', 5 July 2010.

Kitson, M. 'University-business contact faces constraints', Society, Now, ESRC, Summer 2010.

Hughes, A. (2010) Judge Business School Website. 'Excellence is future for UK research!' podcast, JBS website, 23 April 2010.

Hughes, A. (2010) cited in article in Times Higher Education, 'Mixed report card for academy's civic impact', 22 April 2010.

Hughes, A. (2010) appointment to CST published on Number 10.gov.uk - The official site of the Prime Minister's Office, 20 March 2010.

Hughes, A. (2010) cited in article, Times Higher Education. 'One extreme to the other and everything in-between', 11 March 2010.

Hughes, A. (2010) March 2010 cited in BBC News item, 'UK science "must meet challenge" of emerging nations'.

Hughes, A. (2010) cited in New Scientist, 'Politicians have been misled by innovation myths', 2 March 2010.

Hughes, A. (2009), 'Universities, industry and society: the multiple role of higher education in Britain', Britain in 2010 (ESRC Newsstand Magazine), p.33, November.

Article by Hannah Fearn (2009) '"Myth" of ivory tower under siege as survey shows industry links are strong' Times Higher Education at: www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=407124┬žioncode=26, 25 June.

November 2010: Higher Education on Regional Economies Research Initiative Conference, Edinburgh

October 2010: Innovation Policy in the UK, Europe and the OECD

20 October 2009: Results from the largest survey of academics: 22,000 academics speak ...

14 August 2008: Public Lecture: Innovation Systems, Innovation Policy and the Future of University-Industry Knowledge Exchange

June 2007: CBR awarded ESRC grant of £500,000

This project aimed to identify the factors that affect the incidence, form, effectiveness and regional impact of knowledge exchange activities between the business and higher education sectors in the UK. It focused on the regional aspect of this, in terms of the way these interactions vary across UK regions and within those regions. The research aimed to cover the full range of ways in which the business community and the higher education sector interact and which may affect business and regional economic development. The research considered the objectives for taking part in these interactions and an evaluation of their success both from a business (or 'demand' side) perspective and from the academic (or 'supply' side) perspective. The research was used to draw implications for public policy in the area of knowledge exchange.

Two surveys were undertaken as part of the research:

 

  1. A web-based survey of academics, which resulted in 22,170 responses. Download the dataset (SN6462).
  2. A postal survey of businesses, which received 2,530 responses. Download the dataset (SN6464).

The CBR has produced a number of surveys. View our survey output

Other principal investigators & research associates

Maria Abreu
Vadim Grinevich
Philip Ternouth (Council for Industry and Higher Education)

Project dates

2007-2009

Funding

ESRC