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There Is Untapped Potential in University-Business Collaboration in Europe

A European Commission study on university-business cooperation in 33 countries shows that cooperation in Europe still offers untapped potential for employability, innovation and regional development.

Results from the largest European study on university-business cooperation (UBC) yet completed shows that, given the right circumstances, UBC can be a highly positive activity for all parties involved. Particularly, the State of University-Business Cooperation in Europe  reports shows that businesses are starting to realise the benefits of partnering or working with higher education institutions (HEIs) as a source of future-oriented innovation as well as talent development that can build a competitive advantage. Moreover, there is evidence that HEIs are being increasingly seen as a source of talent, entrepreneurship and a lead player in regional development.

Nevertheless, the majority of academics and business still do not engage in UBC, although the vast majority of HEIs do. This limited engagement is reducing the labour market relevance of the study programmes, the employability of graduates and the impact of research. Despite significant efforts by European national governments and the European Commission to broaden the engagement in UBC through Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ initiatives, there is still a lack of awareness of how HEIs and business can cooperate and how these activities (inter)relate.

The full report provides extensive insights into the state of development of UBC in Europe including the context in which UBC occurs, the barriers and drivers influencing the development of UBC, the mechanisms supporting it, the state of UBC policy and measurements as well as the profile of the cooperating academic and business. Moreover, the report provides a detailed set of recommendations that key stakeholders can adopt to further improve UBC development. Additionally, the study also included 52 good practise cases and an analysis of 25 European nations summarised in a series of European National State of University-Business Cooperation reports.


422018261mDownload the full State of University-Business Cooperation in Europe report.

Executive summaries of the full report are available in the following languages – English | French | German

Access 52 good practice University-Business Cooperation case studies here.


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About the State of University-Business Cooperation in Europe

The aim of the project was to get a more profound, comprehensive and up to date understanding of the state of University- Business Cooperation (UBC) in Europe, from the perspective of both the higher education institutions (HEIs) and the business sector. The project explored the state of play of UBC in different countries, examining the form and extent of main drivers and barriers for the different stakeholders, regulatory frameworks and the type and extent of existing measures supporting UBC at a national level.

The main components of the project were a series of expert interviews with 23 recognised UBC experts, 52 good practise case studies, a major policy and indicator review as well as a major quantitative survey of stakeholders within both HEIs and business. The survey was translated into 25 languages and sent to all registered European HEIs (numbering over 3,000), and over 22,000 contacts (CEOs, managers responsible for UBC, innovation, recruitment and HR) in over 16,000 businesses in 33 countries during October-November 2016. Through this, a final sample population of 17,410 representatives from within HEIs (14,318 responses including 2.285 HEI Managers, 10.836 Academics and 1.197 Knowledge Transfer Professionals) and business (3.113 responses) was achieved making it the largest international study into cooperation between HEIs and business yet completed.

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