New innovation record set for universities’ work with business

New official statistics have been published that demonstrate the importance of innovation links between the business and higher education as Scotland’s universities continue to play their part in the economic recovery from the pandemic.

The HE business and community interaction survey (HE-BCI) published by The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that Scottish universities in 2021-22:

  • Supported 29,649 SMEs, non-commercial organisations and corporations on innovation-focused projects, a record high.
  • 297 university spin-off and start-up companies were registered, the second highest recorded ever. 2021-22 saw a record set for external investments in university spin-out companies at £931.28 million.
  • Were involved in 10,167 regeneration and development programmes across the country.

Commenting on the publication, Universities Scotland Deputy Director, David Lott said:

In a knowledge economy, it’s absolutely vital that universities are engaged with businesses and communities and these figures demonstrate the centrality of universities to Scotland’s innovation landscape. Nearly 30,000 companies working so closely with our universities is a remarkable achievement demonstrating how universities are vital to the nation’s economic recovery following the pandemic. From spin-outs to sole operators to companies and organisations with thousands of employees our universities can offer assistance and solutions to the challenges being faced across Scotland.”

Furthermore universities in Scotland in 2021-22 saw Scottish universities maximising their expertise with commercial knowledge income reaching £582.68 million. This activity overwhelming tends to be loss-leading for the sector but is undertaken by universities as part of their contribution to our economy and the common good, enhancing knowledge and building networks and relationships.