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In 2019, Research Consulting undertook a benchmarking and good practice exercise focused on industry engagement and partnership in research and related areas with UK and Australian universities. Participants included: University of Birmingham, the University of Bristol, the University of Sheffield, Cardiff University, Ulster University, the Royal Veterinary College, Central Queensland University, Edith Cowan University, University of South Australia, and the University of Western Australia.
In the UK and Australia, there is sustained, and growing importance placed on increasing the volume and effectiveness of industry engagement and research partnerships. Staffing structures and associated skills and experience requirements are changing to reflect this, notably greater emphasis on partnership skills.
The methodology for this work involved the design and completion of an online survey, supplemented by data analysis and workshops. The survey covered a range of question areas including structures, remits and scales of industry engagement functions; governance; people, training and skills; approaches to managing strategic partnerships, systems, KPIs and management information. It also considered approaches to university-university collaboration, international partnerships and perceived frustrations. Data analysis drew on the UK’s HESA research income data and Australian Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) data, in both cases focusing on comparable and selected indicators for industry income.
The findings from the survey were discussed with participants at a workshop for UK participants and a webinar for Australian participants and a final report was produced for the participating universities.