CBI: Businesses benefit from collaboration with academia

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Businesses and academics can work together for the benefit of all

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has published a new report in partnership with the University of Middlesex highlighting the considerable and mutual benefits that can be achieved through the cooperation of industry and academia.

Entitled Best of Both Worlds: Guide to Business-University Collaboration, the publication has argued businesses of all sizes can gain valuable insights and help set themselves apart from their competitors by working alongside the best and brightest university researchers.

Meanwhile, the interaction between the fields of business and further education can have a profound impact on delivering the graduates needed to fill the highly-skilled roles companies will be looking for in the years ahead.

Indeed, Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills at CBI, and vice-chancellor of Middlesex University Professor Michael Driscoll stated in a joint foreword to the report: "Addressing this challenge will require innovative approaches - not only new ways of ensuring that recruits have the skills employers need, but a fresh approach to raising the skill levels of the existing workforce. Here again universities are helping to respond to business needs."

The pair went on to add that the nation's universities should be seen as a key strength for the UK business sector and an advantage over our international rivals that should be drawn upon at every opportunity.

Creating strong links between these educational establishments and businesses themselves can sometimes be a tricky process, but in many cases it is simply a fact that company leaders do not understand the best ways to identify areas of engagement where university research and their services may overlap.

As a result, CBI advises Research Councils can play a useful role in helping to find academics with the necessary skills, expertise and mindset to add real value to a business's operations. It is simply a matter of companies putting in the time to find the best partners and the rest will develop naturally.