Engineering academy call to develop relationship with businesses

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The UK’s national academy for engineering has announced a call for evidence to enable government to support the development of more effective collaborations between UK businesses and universities.

Dame Ann Dowling, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, has been asked by the Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, Greg Clark MP, to lead a review examining how government can support the development of more fruitful relationships between UK businesses and UK university researchers.

The academy is looking to both the private and academic sector to come forward and share their experiences in managing collaborations and ventures with each other and suggestions for how government can help facilitate productive relationships.

The aim of the review is to help businesses and academia to better understand each other’s needs, interests and constraints and to develop trusting relationships which will allow them to share long-term strategic plans. The findings will advise government on the best course of action to foster these collaborations between industry and academia.

The review will consider the implications for the full spectrum of research disciplines and businesses of different sizes, types and sectors.

Dame Dowling said: 'I am delighted that government is committed to improving the relationships between UK businesses and its outstanding university research capabilities and honoured to be leading this important review.

'University researchers can be inspired by areas or developments that would make a long -term difference to a particular company or sector, leading to challenging and innovative research. This, in turn, can give industry the confidence to invest more in UK research and facilitate the flow of innovation between academic researchers and industry.

'Some companies already foster such long term strategic relationships with academia and derive substantial benefits from them. We want to understand the barriers for others and make concrete recommendations about how they can be overcome to deliver broad benefits to the UK in the long term.'

'We want to hear from individuals and organisations that are involved in business-academia collaborations and the successes and challenges that they have faced in building productive ongoing relationships. But we also want to hear from those who did not succeed.  To make a parallel with the world of research, a negative result is still a very valuable result and will be essential in generating a comprehensive body of evidence.'