Universities challenged

The CBI claims that proposals emerging from a series of UK government reviews will seriously undermine new product development in the UK at a time when the intense pressures of international competition mean we should be giving it every encouragement.

The CBI says that new government proposals that universities should own the rights to all joint research and that business should pay more of the overheads are wholly unacceptable. They show that the UK government is failing to understand the research relationship between business and universities.

CBI Director-General, Digby Jones, said that the proposals will jeopardise the level and quality of UK research, stifling new product development at a time when the future of UK manufacturing depends on it.

‘This is not about business taking advantage of cheap labour in the universities or seeking to unfairly exploit their discoveries. Both sides bring expertise and resources to the party and the sharing of costs and benefits should be agreed between them,’ he said.

Digby also expressed concern that the UK Funding Councils had backtracked on their commitment to recognise and reward research work that is directly relevant to industry.

‘Research for its own sake will not help achieve the Chancellor’s drive for improved productivity through innovation,’ he concluded.

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