University of Southampton rewarded for business collaboration success
The University of Southampton’s success in collaborating with business on knowledge transfer and enterprise activities has been recognised with the award of £5.4m of funding, one of the highest allowances under the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF 4).
In 2006/7 alone the University undertook £30 million worth of collaborative research with business and public sector bodies, with consultancy contracts totalling just over £8 million in the same period.
It has a flexible collaboration portfolio ranging from large-scale research contracts, consultancy and short-term applied research contracts through to licensing of university intellectual property and student projects and placements. The University also enables business partners to leverage funding, which wouldn’t otherwise be accessible.
Successful University Technology Centres have been established with leading organisations such as Rolls Royce, Lloyd’s Register, the RNLI and Microsoft, enabling ongoing collaborative research, knowledge exchange and technological development.
Since 2000, the University has also created 12 spin-out companies, a success which was highlighted in a report by the influential research firm, Library House, chaired by former BBC Dragons’ Den panellist Doug Richards. The report drew favourable comparisons between the Universities of Southampton, Stanford and Cambridge, placing Southampton in the top three worldwide for the quality of its spin-out companies.
Dr Tony Raven, Director of Research and Innovation Services, comments:
“This excellent news will enable us to continue to foster links with industry. The University has a breadth of academic expertise ranging from oceanographers investigating the ocean and its role in the global climate system, to engineers studying aircraft engine noise, and specialists in maritime law. This allocation will allow us to maximise the social and economic impact of this research regionally, nationally and internationally.”
The funding also supports student enterprise, including an active student entrepreneur’s society, financial support to help students get their business ideas off the ground and regular business surgeries – all of which aim to equip students with essential skills for the workplace and starting their own business. In addition, funding will help students choose the right career path through careers fairs and the ‘Graduate Jobs Southampton’ initiative, which helps to promote opportunities for graduates with local SMEs.