Research pays off

UK universities are becoming more business-oriented and better at linking research to the needs of the private sector, according to the latest annual report on spin-out activity in the country’s higher education sector.

A recent survey of 164 institutions carried out by the higher education funding council for England (Hefce) has revealed that the number of patents granted to universities increased by 26% in the academic year 2002-03.

Furthermore, UK universities created one spin-out company for every 25 million Euro spent on research, compared with a ratio of one company for every 87 million Euro invested in the US.

The combined turnover of the university spin-out sector totalled 520 million Euro, and provided employment to some 13,000 full-time equivalent staff.

Universities also reported a significant increase in their income from consultancy work, up 38% from the previous year.

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