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Does a new breed of academic need a new yardstick?

Researchers who collaborate with business are increasingly valuable to universities, but still bang up against reward systems based on journal publications, says Allen Alexander.

Not much is certain for universities at present. But one trend that looks set to continue, whatever happens around Brexit or industrial strategy, is the growing influence of economic and societal impact on the allocation of government and third-sector funds. Likewise, reviews of university performance, both internal and external, are set to focus more intensely on impactful research engagement.

This is driving universities to rework or revise their business models. As a result, many institutions are focusing more on industry—as partners in collaborative research and in long-term relationships that create shared facilities and capabilities. At the same time, many are stepping back from more tried-and-tested modes of transactional engagement, such as consultancy.

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