All entries for Tuesday 21 May 2013

May 21, 2013

Fundamental Curiosity: The Dynamic Of The University

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

Image. Rodin

A Q and A with Professor Tim Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor: Research (Science and Medicine), Knowledge Transfer and Business Engagement, University of Warwick.


What do you think is the most under-hyped, yet significant, change universities in the UK will undergo during the next decade?

I don’t know if it’s necessarily under-hyped but I think the private provision of higher education will completely change the dynamic in the future. I think a number of universities will be threatened very significantly. Private provision will expand and will change the way universities have to behave and operate in a very, very significant way.

And do you think global providers have an advantage?

Almost certainly yes, I mean the US is a classic example, and I think the UK is behind the curve with this certainly compared to some countries.

Open-access research: is the UK shooting itself in the foot or are we leading the way?

There is no doubt that open access research is a great thing in principle, however I think being first is not necessarily a good thing. So I would argue we are shooting ourselves in the foot because I don’t necessarily see the rest of the world following. I think the UK is going to be in a very difficult position.

The University of Warwick is hosting the 2013 Global University Summit in May, which will issue a formal declaration on higher education to the G8. If you could get one commitment from the summit of world leaders, what would that be?

It would be to ensure that universities remain establishments of academic research and scholarships and are no skewed too much by the agendas of governments around the world, where economic growth seems to be the raison d’être for the existence of universities. Don’t skew universities too much towards being engines of economic growth; don’t change the dynamic of the way the university operates. Don’t discriminate against intellectual, fundamental, curiosity driven education and research that continues to attract the very very best students and academics, who are free thinkers and are not constrained by government thinking and policy.

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: Auguste Rodin's Le Penseur (The Thinker). Source: (Flickr).
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Image Professor Tim Jones, University of WarwickAs Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Knowledge Transfer and Business Engagement, Professor Tim Jones has responsibility for development of the University of Warwick’s knowledge transfer and business engagement strategy to support the University’s research and teaching ambitions through corporate level regional, national and international relationships with business partners. He also works with the Registrar and Chief Operating Officer to maximise the impact of the University HEIF allocations and lead engagements with relevant external bodies.He also has responsibility for the University’s Science research strategy, including the development of research opportunities and collaborations both nationally and internationally and the raising of research income, publications and citation scores in the Faculty of Science.


The Relationship Between Universities and Economic Growth

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


Image. Library. Magdalen College Oxford University

A blog post by Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group of Universities

All the evidence shows our leading research-intensive universities are the engine room of long-term, sustainable growth and prosperity.

Russell Group universities are major contributors to the economy in their own right, supporting more than 270,000 jobs and generating an economic output in excess of £30 billion a year.

This benefit is spread right across the UK and, in many of our major cities up and down the country; universities are key contributors to the regional economy.

For example, the University of Birmingham generated £1.1 billion of spending in the region in the 2011/12 academic year. The value-added contribution to the West Midlands economy was almost double that of the region’s eight largest football clubs.

Russell Group universities contribute out of all proportion to their size - just 24 universities account for more than 60 per cent of the spin-out companies which survive for three years or more.

Higher education overall is one of this country’s most successful export industries and is estimated to contribute more than £8.2 billion a year in overseas earnings - on a par with earnings from the export of electrical equipment or manufactured food products. In Sheffield alone, international students pump £120 million into the local economy every year.

And the contribution from our universities is growing apace. The economic impact has increased from £28 billion to £30 billion in just one year. That’s 7 per cent growth at a time when growth across the whole economy was flat.

Our universities are far removed from the image of remote ivory towers. A recent report by the World Economic Forum ranked the UK among the best countries in the world for business-university collaboration.

The skills and expertise developed by one student at the University of Warwick Business School helped to rejuvenate the management techniques and company culture within a local manufacturing SME.

Discoveries like graphene and spin-outs like the University of Oxford’s Natural Games Motion, now widely used in the film and games industries, which will lead to real growth.

Universities also increase productivity by helping to make existing businesses more efficient. A collaboration between Rolls-Royce plc and researchers at the University of Birmingham resulted in a breakthrough technology which is saving the company millions of pounds every year.

In highly developed economies such as the UK, growth increasingly needs to come from investments in research, innovation and human capital - all areas in which the role of universities is critical.

But successful commercialisation requires sustained and patient investment in research, often over many years or even decades. 125 case studies across the Russell Group showed the timescale from research to first realising a commercial return averages more than 17 years.

The Chancellor rightly recognised the importance of research last year when he explained his approach to scientific investment to the Royal Society and said: “Let us identify what Britain is best at – and back it.”

That’s why we believe the science and research resource budget must continue to be ring-fenced in the forthcoming spending review if the UK is to lift itself out of the economic doldrums and set a course for long-term success.

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: Magdalen College, Oxford. Source (Flickr).

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Image. Dr Wendy Piatt, Russell GroupDr Wendy Piatt is the first Director General and Chief Executive of the Russell Group, which represents 24 major research-intensive universities in the UK. She was appointed to set up an organisation providing strategic direction and policy development underpinned by research and communications. She was previously deputy director and head of public service reform at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit where she also led work on social mobility, local government, education and skills and digital inclusion. Prior to that, she was head of education policy at the Institute for Public Policy Research, specialising in higher and further education.


The Class Of 2038: Universities 25 Years Down The Road

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

Image. Delorean - the Back to the future car/time machine.

A Q and A with Professor Mark Taylor, Dean of Warwick Business School (WBS).

What do you think is currently the most under-hyped, yet significant, change universities in the UK will undergo within the next decade?

I think one aspect is the impact of the e-learning agenda and how that will change the way we think about universities. Already with the advent of MOOCs we are seeing an ‘unbundling’ of what universities offer. Universities offer knowledge production, knowledge dissemination, and a qualification and student experience; singularly if you like. Top universities offer all four of those. A MOOC offers you what? It doesn’t offer you knowledge production, doesn’t really offer you a qualification after completion; it doesn’t offer you a student experience. So it is just taking out all of those aspects. Its main purpose is knowledge dissemination. We may see the development of universities, over the next twenty-five years, that offer one or more but not all of those aspects of university life. So that may lead to a richness in university education. It may even lead to the development of different areas and niches within the higher education sector. People often like to refer to the ‘Napster moment’ in music, where people thought it would be the end of the universe. What the impact led to was an enrichment of the music industry because it forced the music industry to orientate itself more towards live performances for example, so it actually increased the quality of the provision of the music industry. In the same way I’d have thought e-learning, distance learning and the MOOC agenda will influence universities in a positive way over the next twenty-five years.

Another aspect that is interesting is so called ‘big data’; huge and complex data sets where, for years now, people have been bombarded with huge amounts of information and we are only just getting to grips with how we can actually analyse these data sets in meaningful ways. I think analysing those within institutions seeing how we can improve how we provide some of those elements universities provide like knowledge production, knowledge dissemination and student experience will be very important.

How can university business schools ‘bridge the valley of death’ between academia and industry?

A business school that doesn’t reach out and interact with business is just a school. So it is central to what a business school does and we have a central mission in the Business School. Our mission is to produce world class research, which is capable of influencing the way organisations operate and the way business is conducted. We are here to produce world class business leaders and managers; we are here to provide a return in investment for our students for our alumni during their entire careers as they go out into industry. So we are thinking of ourselves as always trying to integrate within the business industry. Already in the way the government assesses research, in the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework in 2014, is an important impact element which will measure the significance of research done in business schools and in universities in general, on society and the environment, as well as in business schools and business industry.

I think that will be an increasingly important element of the metrics of higher education going forward; it’s not good enough just to publish a paper in a top rate academic journal, there has to be the impact that flows from that. I for one welcome the metrics. The use of metrics in the past twenty or thirty years often had a distorting effect. I think that in this case, it will have a positive impact. At Warwick Business School, there are a number of initiatives we have undertaken in order to interface with business; we are, for example, appointing Professors of Practice. So we now have several professors within the school of the rank of professor who are not academics, who have spent their career within industry and business and achieved a very high level of distinction and been very successful. We have hired them and given them the rank of professor to teach on our MBA programme. They want to impart some of that knowledge, some of that experience to our MBA students and to our researchers as well.

If you could get one commitment from the G8 summit of world leaders, related to higher education, that would benefit the global sector, what would that be?

Quite simply it would be a commitment from world leaders to utilise the knowledge and skills within universities. Universities will generally provide a politically independent source of advice from a range of ideas. Going back to a previous question on how we bridge the gap between academia and industry, I think it’s also important how we bridge the gaps between academia and governments and policy. So really just utilising the skills, and experience and knowledge that exist within universities will go a long way towards benefiting the global economy and global society.

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: Model Delorean. Source: Flickr.

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Image. Professor Mark Talylor University of Warwick Business SchoolProfessor Mark P Taylor is Dean of Warwick Business School (WBS). Professor Taylor has outstanding credentials both in academia and in the business and policy worlds. He has held a professorship in international finance at Warwick since 1999. From 2006, on partial leave, he worked as a managing director at BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, where he led the European arm of the Global Market Strategies Group, a large global macro investment fund.

Professor Taylor's research on exchange rates and international financial markets has been published extensively in many of the leading academic and practitioner journals and he is one of the most highly cited researchers in finance and economics in the world.


Use Partnerships To Innovate And Grow

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

Image. Leaf-cutter ants

A blog post by Srikanth Iyengar, AVP and Head of UK, Infosys

Powerful global ‘megatrends’ are shaping your future. You might not even be aware of many of them. You might not even know what exactly a megatrend is. But rest assured, they’re going to have a profound effect on you and the way your company does business.

Some of these megatrends – such as emerging economies and new healthcare delivery models– are going to be unsettling and disruptive. Take a look back over the history of the planet: major social and economic transformations have never been without their growing pains. The organisations left standing when the dust settles are those that not only embraced change; they used it to their advantage.

How do you build the enterprise of tomorrow? By making an effective collaboration today. For instance, few companies have adopted Internet retailing faster than those in the United Kingdom. As such, smart retailers from around the world make it a priority to partner with British universities. We have a rich cultural heritage that encourages innovative thinking.

At the corporate level, disruptive innovation is transforming companies that embrace change. BBC iPlayer, for instance, is a leading mobile television technology. British supermarkets were the first to pioneer loyalty cards; online grocery shopping is more advanced here than anywhere else. Innovations like Click and Collect are helping high street companies like Argos to compete with the likes of Amazon.

Economic regeneration begins with innovation. So does supporting grassroots entrepreneurs. Regional clusters like Tech City in London help foster a community of innovation. Extensions of Canary Wharf focus on the so-called FinTech community, which is a smart commercial development that helps drive connections between technology start-ups, universities and the financial services industry.

Speaking of technology, new consumption models, like the Cloud, are helping companies create more flexible cost structures. Successful corporations are using technology to remain agile enough in what can be an uncertain and volatile economy. They are also using mobile and Internet innovations to develop new business models.

The public sector needs to do its part. Governments should be mindful to create the right environments to let these collaborations flourish. They need to avoid protection for uncompetitive industries that refuse to innovate. Politicians would do well to focus on allowing the free flow of the world’s finest minds into the UK.

Of course, the most disruptive technologies don’t mean much if they don’t have the right people behind them. Infosys cherishes its partnerships with Cambridge University and Belfast’s Queens University. The British university system nurtures the kind of innovation that drives success within global corporations.

That said, governments and businesses need to tighten their bonds. Science and technology education create the precise skills that companies need to succeed. Having the right 'e-skills' is precisely this kind of quality that companies in the UK are looking for among recent graduates.

With a strong pipeline of people, the university system is well placed to continue its vital role in driving growth and prosperity. Emerging trends in business and society, along with changing demographic patterns, are presenting companies with new challenges and opening up opportunities. Only firms that relentlessly innovate to overcome challenges can gain and sustain a competitive edge.

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: Leaf cutter ants. Source (Flickr).

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Image. Srikanth Iyengar, AVP and Head of UK, InfosysSrikanth leads a global sales team that drives the pipeline development and successful closure of all US$ 50M+ TCV deals across Infosys. He is also the Head of the UK Centre and a member of the Regional Leadership Council, Europe. Srikanth also has additional responsibility for Infosys’s external interactions in the UK across a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including analysts, industry associations and governmental bodies. Prior to joining Infosys, Srikanth worked with a leading CPG major. He is a qualified electrical engineer and holds a management degree.


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