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Released yesterday, a new report titled The Changing State of Knowledge Exchange and External Relationships: UK Universities 2005 -2015, provides a comprehensive picture of how researchers in different fields work with the wider community, and how far this has changed during the last decade.

Based on the responses of over 18,000 academics surveyed in the UK, the report reveals that a majority of academic researchers are committed to helping the British economy grow by engaging with business. The survey, the biggest of its kind, also uncovered that over half of the academics said working with outside partners influenced the way they shaped their teaching and almost a third that it increased the employability of their students.

Produced by The Centre for Business Research (CBR) at the University of Cambridge, Imperial College Business School, London and the School of Management at the University of Bath, the research was commissioned by the Research Councils, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). 

The analysis shows that despite falling state funding in real terms for research, academics have broadly maintained a wide range of interactions with the public private and third sectors across all disciplines. Public engagement has increased along with an increased engagement with the outreach mission of their institutions.
Professor Alan Hughes
Imperial College Business School
Professor Alan Hughes

A number of other outcomes have also appeared including how funding and time constraints can hinder university partnerships with external organisations and individuals in the private and public sectors. The report details how funding bodies such as the Research Councils and HEFCE play a key role in enabling and supporting engagement activities. Nearly one third of those engaging with private, public and third sector organisations indicated that they had been aided in their activities by the Research Councils.

 To read the full report, please click here.

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