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Why is this National Indicator important?
In terms of quality, Scotland's university-based research is amongst the best in the world. However, the level of business research and development lags behind that of most developed countries. If the Scottish Government is to realise its ambitions for delivering significantly higher and sustainable levels of economic growth, then more of the high quality knowledge being created in Scotland's universities needs to be effectively transferred for and into the Scottish economy.
Enhanced knowledge transfer from universities has the potential to contribute to both improved economic output from existing businesses and the creation of new, high value businesses with the capacity to grow and energise Scotland's GDP performance. It also has the potential to deliver social and cultural gains for Scotland.
What will influence this National Indicator?
The transfer of knowledge from universities to the wider community is complex and can take many forms. Knowledge transfer activities range from bringing high-potential graduates into the workforce through studentships and placements, public lectures, the establishment of new spin-out companies, and project collaboration between universities and business or other organisations. The sheer range and nature of activities which knowledge transfer encompasses means that knowledge transfer is not easily measured systematically across Scotland; is dependent on demand from businesses or public/voluntary organisations; and, in many cases, does not raise income for universities. Moreover, the transfer of knowledge from universities can occur both directly and indirectly.
What is the Government's role?
The enterprise networks and the Scottish Funding Council are tasked with working to improve innovation and knowledge transfer. These bodies employ a wide variety of mechanisms to enhance university-business engagement and the effective transfer and utilisation of the knowledge and expertise located within Scottish universities. This includes support and incentives to stimulate an increase in demand for university innovation from Scottish businesses, which are increasingly able to absorb and exploit such knowledge and expertise to improve their own performance, and that of the Scottish economy.
How is Scotland performing?
It is not possible to compare the weighted index of income from universities' knowledge transfer activities from 2007-08 onwards with the index prior to 2007-08 due to a break in the series.
During the period 2002-03 to 2004-05, the index rose relatively gently, followed by a sharp increase of 11.0 points in 2005-06. There was a slight dip of 1.2 points in the year to 2006-07.
During 2007-08 to 2008-09, the index rose by 3.8 points. However, in the year to 2009-10, the index dipped by 2.0 index points, driven by a large drop in income from UK industry, commerce & public corporations. This corresponds to a performance maintaining marking compared with the previous year.
The Open University in Scotland (OU) and the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) received funding from the SFC's knowledge transfer grant in 2006-07 (OU) and in 2010-11 (SAC) for the first time. The allocation of this funding was based on data for 2004-05 for OU and data for 2007-08 and 2008-09 for SAC, therefore data for these institutions are only available from 2004-05 and 2007-08 onwards respectively.
View data on knowledge transfer
Performance Improving - an increase of 2.5 index points or more
Performance Maintaining - an increase/ decrease of less than 2.5 index points OR no change
Performance Worsening - a decrease of 2.5 index points or more
For more information see Scotland Performs Technical Note
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Who are our partners?
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)
Scottish Funding Council
Related Strategic Objectives
Wealthier and Fairer