Previous ERC research has focussed on profiling the geographic pattern of university-business links across the UK based on analysis of data from the Business Structures Database (to give the number of SMEs) and the Higher Education (HE) – Business & Community Interaction Survey (BCI) (to give the extent of SME interaction). This has led to new measures of the ‘penetration’ of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in the SME sector.
This new project develops this work further by using these measures alongside the UK Innovation Survey data to model the innovation and productivity benefits of SME-HEI links. The study aims to provide a robust assessment of the value of theselinks and their implications for enhancing innovation and productivity. This will be useful in informing HEI policy and specifically measures designed to influence the pattern of HEIs working with SMEs.
The analysis will consider the benefits for different types of SMEs and the differential value of links to research intensive and less research-intensive universities. The UK Innovation Survey also provides information on local, national and international university links by SMEs and it is therefore possible to compare the benefits of each type of interaction and to examine any ‘learning effects’, i.e. whether SMEs graduate from local links to those with more distant universities.