In its response the government recognises the crucial role of HEFCE’s Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) in supporting university-business collaboration through flexible funding for knowledge exchange.
The role of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in encouraging collaboration with business is also recognised.
The response also gives more detail on the announcement in October of £100 million additional funding through HEFCE over the next four years, to incentivise universities to work together across England supporting collaborations in technology transfer and in engaging with business.
The funding will enable universities to pool expertise sustainably, respond flexibly to industrial and regional priorities, and make it easier for businesses to access opportunities to work with them.
Funding will be allocated through competitive mechanisms, complementing and building on established HEIF allocations which enable universities to develop their core capacity to collaborate with business.
Also noted in the government response is the development of the UK Intelligent Brokerage tool, konfer, by the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), a project funded by HEFCE and Research Councils UK.
Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE’s Chief Executive, said:
'We welcome the Government's response to Dame Ann Dowling's review of university-business collaborations, in particular the recognition given to knowledge exchange funding through HEIF’.
‘Subject to Parliament, we also welcome the opportunity for closer working to support the environment for effective university-business collaborations through the creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). UKRI will engage with the forthcoming Office for Students (OfS) to ensure joint discussion of strategic objectives for knowledge exchange and the criteria for HEIF funding going forward, recognising the Government's commitment to the teaching grant element of HEIF over the Spending Review period. We will continue to work with Government to develop plans for the £100 million additional funding, supporting our universities to maximise the social and economic benefits from knowledge exchange activities drawing from research and teaching, as part of contributing to the Government's Industrial Strategy’.