HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.
The HEFCE domain - www.hefce.ac.uk - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.
Within this total, income from intellectual property, such as licensing, increased by 37 per cent to a record high of £140 million. Formal spin-offs based on intellectual property generated by universities increased by 18 per cent, to 168 new companies. In total, university spin-off companies now employ over 18,000 people and in 2015-16 attracted external investment estimated at over £1.1 billion.
Income from engagement with businesses grew significantly faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth over the same period. In particular, engagement with small and medium-sized enterprises showed strong increases, with university income from contract research increasing by 13 per cent and from consultancy by 14 per cent.
The report also shows how university knowledge exchange activity benefits graduates and society. Universities and colleges helped to launch over 4,000 graduate start-up companies, and in total, these are estimated to have created over 22,000 jobs.
In terms of engagement with business and society, there were over 23 million attendees at free university events such as lectures, exhibitions and performances, with over 52,000 days of academic staff time committed to delivering or supporting these.
Speaking at HEFCE’s annual conference today, Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson welcomed the report.
David Sweeney, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at HEFCE and Executive Chair Designate of Research England, said:
‘The 3 per cent increase in knowledge exchange activity shows how universities in England have embedded it as part of their core mission. It is good to see such consistently strong engagement with businesses and communities. The Knowledge Exchange Framework will help universities in deriving greater value for their partners from this activity. It is clear that the sector will have a critical role in supporting the government’s aim of increasing research and development spending to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, not least through helping to deliver the forthcoming industrial strategy. I look forward to further strong engagement between universities and businesses of all sizes.’
Read the Higher Education – Business and Community Interaction survey 2015-16 (HEFCE 2017/23).