15 October 2013

million+ comment on Witty Review of Universities and Growth

Commenting on the recommendations outlined in ‘Encouraging a British Invention Revolution: Sir Andrew Witty’s Review of Universities and Growth’ published today (15 October), Professor Michael Gunn, Chair of the university think-tank million+ and Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University said:

“The Witty report confirms yet again the role that modern universities play in boosting their local economies and the national economy through their links with companies of all sizes.”

“The proposal that Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) should be increased from £160m to £250m per annum is welcome but any boost to this fund must be new money.”

“The Government also needs to take into account those universities which make excellent use of relatively small amounts of funding to promote innovation and add value to many small and medium-sized businesses. This is activity that does not always require a major investment of new money or matched funding.”

“In some areas the Local Enterprise Partnerships do not align with the economic needs of the locality or the region. In the long term Ministers should consider how the 39 LEPs might be sensibly rationalised to minimise the risk of duplication.”

“I also have some queries as to whether Witty’s idea of funding ‘Arrow’ projects linked with an industrial strategy is the best way of investing an additional £1bn. This money is undoubtedly needed but in an increasingly complex funding landscape, there may be an equally valid case to deploy additional resources on translational research which can respond to new and emerging markets and services that often radically change the industrial and business landscape in a very short space of time.”


Notes to Editors
1. For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Pam Tatlow on 0207 717 1655 or 07795 645 241.
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information about million+ can be found at www.millionplus.ac.uk
3. Sir Andrew Witty, Chief Executive of GlaxoSmithKlein and Chancellor of Nottingham University, was invited by BIS to review the relationship between universities and growth. The final report and recommendations are attached.

FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Encouraging a British Invention Revolution: Sir Andrew Witty’s Review of Universities and Growth - October