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Using research for a competitive economy

Doing the Titration 2The report from the Heseltine Review published today, No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth, looks at ways of making the UK economy more competitive – recommending a National Growth Council and distributing funds locally rather than through central government as some of the measures.

Other recommendations include “long term stability of the core funding of science and research”, a higher degree of collaboration between universities and employers to encourage placements, and partial sponsorship of student fees from firms in return for a fixed employment period after graduation.

Despite a policy focus on technology spin-offs from research, it is actually one of the least common forms of external knowledge exchange activity compared to interaction based on personal contacts, community and problem-solving. An ESRC-funded research project by the Centre for Business Research (CBR), looking at university-industry knowledge exchange, suggests that firms’ motivations to interact with universities – rather than being restricted to technology development – are concerned with other aspects of management and business performance, such as service development, human resource management, training and marketing.