Working with business

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 and innovation base attracts business and industry from around the world. We work in partnership to address current industry challenges, and to develop 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, as well as thousands of SMEs across the UK.

How Innovate UK engages with business

Innovate UK drives productivity and growth by supporting businesses to realise the potential of new technologies, develop ideas and make them a commercial success.

With a strong business focus, they drive growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation. To do this, they work to:

  • determine which science and technology developments will drive future economic growth
  • meet UK innovators with great ideas in the fields we’re focused on
  • fund the strongest opportunities
  • connect innovators with the right partners they need to succeed
  • help our innovators launch, build and grow successful businesses

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.

They 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.

Opportunities for collaboration

konfer, created by the National Centre for Universities and Business in partnership with UKRI, can help businesses, of all sizes, connect with universities. An online tool that help businesses find opportunities for collaboration including research, researchers, facilities, equipment, funding and support

Gateway to Research a UKRI website, 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.