A group of London's universities are launching a new collaboration – OpenSME – that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise and knowledge they offer.
Wilson Review into university and business collaboration published
28 February 2012
Professor Sir Tim Wilson, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, has today published his Review into how to make the UK the best country in the world for businesses and universities to work together.
The Review, commissioned by the Government in June last year, makes a series of recommendations including:
- Encouraging the growth of sandwich degrees available to students, with universities encouraged to expand their programmes with incentives through student number controls regulated by HEFCE;
- Opportunities for all undergraduate students to carry out a structured, approved internship to gain business skills and employment experience
- Encouraging universities to work more closely with small businesses in their local area, to help promote the health of their local economies.
Talking about the impact of the Review, Professor Stephen Caddick, Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL, said:
“Many universities are already breaking their backs to work with business and support the growth of the British economy – and this needs to be happening at every university.
“Our most enterprising universities are already reaching out to small businesses to offer expertise to help them grow, and working with some of the UK’s biggest firms to commercialise cutting-edge research – helping to create much needed growth and jobs.
“Teaching business skills to students, investing more in research with direct business potential, as well as reaching out more widely to local businesses and entrepreneurs should be standard in every university across the country.”
Talking on some of the specific recommendations of the Review, he added:
“Expanding opportunities for work placements in business for research students and postdoctoral fellows is vital – enhancing employability as well as providing an excellent opportunity for businesses to get access to highly skilled staff, which is often essential for maintaining global competitiveness.
“We need to find more ways to incentivise collaboration between universities and business and there may be some merit in providing cash investment to remove some of the financial barriers that are currently in place.
“A simple way to do this would be to remove the cap on the Higher Education Innovation Funding pot for high performing institutions, so that we can ensure our universities are world class innovators and business collaborators.”
For further comment read Professor Caddick’s views on Review in his blog for the Huffington Post.