The UK government has increasingly expected universities to develop stronger links with business. Such links are believed to contribute to innovation and economic growth, particularly regionally. Targeted funding by the Higher Education Funding Council for England has been provided to encourage innovative business links, which are often characterised by the development of specialist 'knowledge transfer' offices.
A recent study for NESTA by Dr Nola Hewitt-Dundas of Queen's University Belfast, suggests that other factors in a university may be more important than specialist knowledge transfer offices in determining the strength of institutional capacity to engage with business. In particular, their entrepreneurial ethos and the quality of their research may be more important than organisational resources. There are also significant geographical factors. Previous research has been largely case-study or survey based. This report adopts a quantitative approach, combining four databases to inform the analysis.