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Working with business

The Research Councils are a source of ideas, knowledge, expertise, skills and research infrastructure for business. Our research portfolio is a crucial part of the Government’s investment in UK innovation.

We work with business and industry in order to support their engagement with the research base thereby enhancing their innovation potential.

The strength and reputation of the UK research base attracts business and industry from around the world. We work in partnership with over 2,500 businesses, of which at least 1,000 are SMEs. These partnerships are addressing current industry challenges, and developing products and services for the future. UK researchers work with some of the biggest global names in business including Samsung, Siemens, GlaxoSmithKline, Boeing, the BBC and Rolls Royce. 

How the Research Councils engage with business

The Research Councils take a collective approach to engage strategically with businesses where there is wider benefit to the companies and the Research Councils.

We do this by:

  • working together to understand business needs and priorities and sharing these with the research base
  • promoting best practice within the research base to make the system more business friendly
  • supporting businesses in the way that they want to be supported, enabling them to:
    • seize opportunities and make connections regardless of disciplinary boundaries
    • understand where particular research strengths exist
    • access assets within the research base including knowledge, skilled people, data, capabilities and infrastructure.

Further information about how the Research Councils engage with business is highlighted in our booklet, Research and Business: a productive partnership

Opportunities for collaboration

RCUK has developed a website, Gateway to Research, which contains information such as who, what and where the Research Councils and Innovate UK fund, as well as details about technologies, processes, outputs, and impact, enabling access to more than 42,000 research projects from over 33,000 researchers.

This provides a mechanism for businesses and others to source new research developments that might just lead to the commercial opportunity they are looking for. Importantly it will enable businesses to identify potential partners in universities so they can develop and commercialise knowledge and maximise the value and impact generated from publicly funded research.


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