30 August 2018 | Münster

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.

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