COMMONS

Committee announces new inquiry into Business-University Collaboration

20 March 2014

The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee is today announcing a new inquiry into Business-University collaboration

On 28 January 2014, the Committee previously held a one-off evidence session on Fraunhofer UK as an example of business-university collaboration. The Committee questioned Professor Martin Dawson, Head of the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (and Research Director of the Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde) and Professor Graham Wren, Chair of Business Engagement, University of Strathclyde, where the first UK centre was established in 2012.

Call for evidence

Terms of Reference

Written submissions of evidence are invited in answer to the following questions. 

The closing date for this Call for Evidence is Wednesday 23 April 2014.

The strengths and weaknesses of business-university collaboration in the UK and the UK’s performance against international comparators

1. What are the key strengths and weaknesses of the UK’s innovation system in relation to business-university collaboration?

2. How competitive is business-university collaboration in the UK against relevant international comparators?

Effectiveness of Government initiatives to support innovation through business-university collaboration

3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Catapult Centre model of business-university collaboration?  What areas of research should future Catapult Centres focus on?

4. What steps can be taken to improve the uptake of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), particularly among SMEs?

Funding

5. Recent BIS analysis found that the UK exhibits “a sustained, long-term pattern of under-investment in public and private research and development and publicly funded innovation”.   How does this affect business-university collaboration in the UK?

6. Will the changes to Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF), proposed in the Witty Review, be successful in increasing university engagement with innovative SMEs?

7. What has been the effect of including commercial ‘impact’ criteria in REF assessments, and should the weighting increase to 25% as suggested in the Witty Review?

8. Will the Government’s focus on the ‘eight great technologies’, as described in the industrial strategy, help to attract inward investment?

9. To what extent is this focus compatible with and complementary to the European Strategy for Key Enabling Technologies?

Local Growth agenda

10. Are Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) (and their counterparts in the rest of the UK)  investing as much as they could in innovation and R&D?

11. How can LEPs, universities and Government encourage greater regional R&D investment?

12. How should LEPs direct their allocation of European Structural and Investment Funds in order to maximise increases in R&D output?

13. To what extent will the new University Enterprise Zones encourage business university collaboration?

Image: iStockphoto

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