The Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) has announced plans for the launch of a new National Centre for Universities and Business. NCUB will focus on driving economic growth and recovery by strengthening the partnership between business and higher education institutions. NCUB will be funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
As reported by the Information Daily, the formation of NCUB was a major recommendation in Sir Tim Wilson’s February 2012 report which reviewed business and university collaboration in the UK. With the global economy still in crisis, the turbulence creates challenges to the UK’s long term competitiveness which must be addressed.
The development of a full business plan for the centre, including getting additional sponsors on board for an Autumn launch, will be overseen by a high level steering group chaired by Sir Richard Lambert and Professor Anton Muscatelli. Sir Richard is the former Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Muscatelli is the Principal of the University of Glasgow.
Sir Richard Lambert, former Director-General, CBI said: ‘The challenge to the UK of the rise of developing countries as knowledge economies is serious. In my 2003 review, I endorsed the vital importance of university-business partnerships. However, this is now combined with the more immediate need to get the UK into growth and recovery, and to make it competitive and resilient. Through the new centre, I want to commit businesses and universities to meeting these challenges – together – and to making Great Britain a great place for innovation.’
Muscatelli was equally enthused about the new centre:
‘The Lambert Review was a great spur to business-university partnerships and real progress has been made. However, we need to commit now to deepen that partnership and seize opportunities ahead. I am very pleased that leaders from universities and from business have agreed to put their time into getting this centre launched, as recommended by the Wilson Review. I look forward to working with partners, including all the various relevant funding bodies, universities and business, to establish this centre.’
NCUB intends to publish an annual ‘State of the relationship’ report that should become the dominant influence on policy development in this area. Of particular practical interest to many will be its report on the effects that the controversial new fees regime has on graduate recruitment and long term workforce in business.