BRITISH INVENTION: GLOBAL IMPACT – The Government’s Response to Sir Andrew Witty’s Review of Universities and Growth

This is the Government’s response to the 2013 Witty review of universities and growth. The response sets out what the Government will do to build on our outstanding global reputation for science and research. It is quite long, so I am just going to highlight the key points that I think are of interest for BU’s activities:

  • UUK to convene an annual university stakeholder event to consider the successes of HE third mission activity as well as the impediments.
  • The commitment to invest £15m in establishing 3-4 pilot University Enterprise Zones was reiterated.
  • They will seek to further develop the indicators described in the Witty review such as citation-based measures of research strength by sector, and consider whether there is value in regularly updating the heat maps created for the Witty Review. This is important for BU’s desire to establish a creative and digital industries hub in the region.
  • NCUB, working with the Research Councils, HEFCE and the Technology Strategy Board are developing a collaborative online platform, which joins up university research and expertise with the needs of business.
  • The Centre for Cities has been commissioned by Lord Sainsbury to map the whereabouts of knowledge-based clusters in the UK, and will report in September 2014. Again, important that our region is seen as a creative and digital industries knowledge hub.
  • They will try and simplify the funding arrangements for business and innovation, and HEFCE will look at further options for supporting SMEs.
  • HEFCE will also consider providing long-term fixed allocations for HEIF funding to universities that allows stability in institutional planning.
  • All four UK Funding Bodies are considering carefully the recommendation to increase the contribution of the impact element in future iterations of the Research Excellence Framework to 25%.
  • Universities are encouraged to develop a single point of entry for SMEs involving their Business Schools.
  • They have provided seed funding to the Association of Business Schools to deliver the Small Business Charter, which will be launched in early 2014. Those business schools in receipt of a Charter Award should gain a role in the delivery of Government support schemes such as Growth Vouchers and Start-Up Loans.
  • They will propose to LEPs that innovation is a central theme at the next LEP Network Conference, at end March 2014.
  • Universities will be asked to take a leadership role in identifying areas of comparative advantage and embedding these appropriately within LEP strategies to maximise their impact.
  • They will encourage LEPs and Universities to together champion arrow projects, and work with the Technology Strategy Board, UKTI and other key stakeholders.
  • They will create an Advisory Hub for Smart Specialisation, which will share and disseminate best practice, improve alignment connections between different partners and support LEPs in delivering stronger collaborative propositions through a better coordinated and informed capacity.
  • The Technology Strategy Board will work in collaboration with LEPs and the Devolved Administrations to maximise the UK’s EU funding opportunities for innovation including ESIF and Horizon 2020.

 If you would like further information I’d recommend the table at the end of the document.