All entries for Friday 17 May 2013

May 17, 2013

University — business collaboration must be a core part of the UK growth strategy

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/business/gus

Image. Equations and mathematical symobols

A blog post by Neil Carberry, Director for Employment and Skills. CBI.

Strengthening research and innovation and having the right skills base will underpin a successful industrial strategy for the UK. Businesses and universities, not government, must seize the opportunity to work together and drive the agenda.

Universities have long been central to the CBI’s work on the growth agenda.

The CBI has often pointed to our universities as one of the UK’s strongest assets, from their research record – second only to the US – to the £15bn success story of UK education service exports. And all of this is recycled into better quality education for young people in the UK, raising skills and creating a virtuous cycle of innovation and exploitation of new ideas and technologies. Indeed, a major focus of the CBI over the past few years has been addressing failings in the economy whereby some of the technology-led start-ups, so often spun out from our universities, have struggled to grow. Our industrial strategy is one route to addressing this.

As the UK economy rebalances towards trade and investment, we need an industrial strategy that allows us to get behind sectors where the UK has the competitive advantage and the strategic opportunity. For government this means intelligent political and policy support, not picking winners. There’s no doubting that university-business collaboration, skills and R&D are all-encompassing issues, as well as for each individual sector strategy. I see three key trends where businesses and universities can work together to make real progress:

  • Firstly, on support for investment in research and innovation. Many of the industrial sectors with the greatest growth potential are dependent on sufficient long-term investment in R&D and innovation. Maintaining our competitive advantage means continued protection of spending on science in the 2015-16 Spending Round. When public finances allow, we’d like to see the same protection offered to the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which plays a crucial role in supporting commercialisation. Public funding for research and innovation helps to catalyse private investment – we think there’s a lot more government can do on the margins to keep investment in the UK, and stimulate additional investment in our research base by UK and foreign-based companies.
  • Secondly, by tilting the debate towards the importance of science, technology, engineering and Maths (STEM). STEM graduates are needed not only to maintain key sectors, like manufacturing, engineering and creative industries but to drive future growth. With applications to study physical sciences, maths and engineering holding up well compared to other subjects, it may be that the dial is finally starting to move. But not quickly enough. A recent study by the Royal Academy of Engineering suggested that industry would need 830,000 new STEM professionals and 450,000 technicians between now and 2020. In reality, the UK currently produces only 90,000 STEM graduates a year. Working together, business and universities must take the opportunity to move debate beyond “STEM is good” to “STEM is a core element of the UK’s growth strategy, and there is a need for action now.”
  • Lastly, to maximise the potential of new routes to higher level skills. As business demand for higher level skills increases, universities have a real opportunity to capitalise on the availability of learning in increasingly flexible and attainable ways, particularly online. There’s no doubt that there are already some exciting collaborations between businesses, universities and colleges to deliver skills. For instance, take Jaguar Land Rover’s Technical Accreditation Scheme. Developed in collaboration with university partners, the programme enables employees to work towards Masters level qualifications through a series of business-relevant modules. The CBI is looking closely at what more businesses, universities and government can do to develop the market for work-based higher skill development.

The current economic context offers a huge opportunity for a major shift in how businesses and universities cooperate, working together to seize the benefits for economy and society. The potential pay-off is huge for all of us.

This blog is part of a regular series on the Knowledge Centre looking at issues in higher education ahead of the Global University Summit (May 28-30 2013), hosted by the University of Warwick in Whitehall, London. As part of the Summit, a declaration of commitment and policy recommendations will be drawn up for the G8 summit of world leaders, taking place in Northern Ireland in June.

Image: Mathematics. Source: (Flickr)

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Image. Neil Carberry. CBINeil Carberry was appointed as Director in February 2011. Neil is responsible for setting out a framework of employment and skills policy that supports the CBI's ambition of making the UK a great place to invest and create jobs. Before becoming director, Neil spent four years as Head of Employment and Pensions Policy and he has previously worked in the CBI's public services team as Head of Public Procurement.


How Thomson Reuters Evidence–Based Assessment Solutions Are Helping Drexel University Grow

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/knowledge/business/gus

Image: Squishy Circuits. Model dinosaur made using conductive play dough. LED light in nose is lit up. Taken at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

A blog post by Dave Kochalko, Vice-President of Strategy and Business Development at Thomson Reuters Healthcare and Science

In the spring of 2012, as part of its annual 'Best Colleges' feature, US News ranked Philadelphia-based Drexel University at number three in its listing of “Up and Coming Schools,” based on its expert panel’s peer assessment of colleges that are “making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, and student life.”

The challenge for Drexel, as for any educational or research institution, is to continue on an upward trajectory of growth and expansion, while also fostering an environment in which communication, connectivity, and convenience are enhanced for staff, and in which disparate professional activities and performance metrics across the institution can be easily unified and tracked.

To that end, Drexel has turned to Thomson Reuters solutions, including Research in View, an institution-wide system that aggregates, standardizes, and links data from multiple sources and formats to provide a database and analytic interview for viewing, searching and reporting on faculty service, teaching, research expertise and accomplishments.

Achievement
A key concern for Drexel officials was facilitating collaboration among faculty—providing a means for researchers to identify colleagues involved in similar endeavors (inside as well as outside the University), and furnishing a central resource for tracking faculty activity and achievement. In addition to identifying potential collaborators, such a repository would provide a simpler means for faculty to record, maintain and share pertinent information for discussions involving annual performance evaluation, promotion and tenure.

Profiling in Research in View answers this need, supplying a CV-structured, user interface that provides search features and tools, allowing faculty to maintain and control their own research profiles, including privacy settings. Users have the option to receive automated alerts for new articles, grants, and patents matched to their profiles. Administrators, meanwhile, can identify groupings of faculty involved in related research, and can obtain an overview of activity at the level of individuals, groups, departments, schools, and the entire institution.

Aspirational
Another goal for Drexel officials was tracking progress and evaluating Drexel’s performance against current as well as aspirational peer institutions. Along these lines, Research in View integrates with external data sources, including all the knowledge resources of Thomson Reuters Web of Science and InCites, the web-based research evaluation tool. Thus, Drexel’s research output can be quantified and assessed in terms of its citation impact and other metrics, and these results compared against other institutions and world baselines.

As Drexel University Provost Mark Greenberg noted, “We have been looking for an easy solution to enable our faculty to identify local and global research collaborators and for our administrators to honour faculty professional activities and accomplishments as part of Drexel University’s commitment to fostering scholarship and creative work.”

With Research in View and InCites, Drexel is realising this goal: widening collaborative networks inside and outside the University, maximizing opportunities for partnership and growth, and creating a panoramic vantage point from which to assess the University’s intellectual resources and continue to steer Drexel toward the front ranks of educational institutions. These are tangible examples of technology driving growth in the scientific and scholarly ecosystem.

This blog is part of a regular series on the Knowledge Centre looking at issues in higher education ahead of the Global University Summit (May 28-30 2013), hosted by the University of Warwick in Whitehall, London. As part of the Summit, a declaration of commitment and policy recommendations will be drawn up for the G8 summit of world leaders, taking place in Northern Ireland in June.

Image: Squishy Circuits. Photo taken at The Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University. March 2013. Source: Flickr.

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Image. Dave Kochalko Thomson Reuters

David Kochalko is Vice-President of Strategy and Business Development at Thomson Reuters Healthcare and Science.




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