A survey by the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction organisation found the British Russell Group of research intensive universities generated £800 million from research in partnerships with business during 2006-07 - an increase of £100 million from the previous year.
Director General of the Russell Group Dr Wendy Piatt said the surveyed results showed the huge contribution the group's universities made to the economy and to society in general.
"Our universities are leading the way in engaging with business, public sector organisations and the public," Piatt said. "As the UK's foremost research-intensive universities, the expertise of our institutions is in high demand from business and public bodies seeking to develop their products and services.
She said the group represented 12% of higher education institutions included in the survey but generated 55% of the total collaborative and contract research income earned by the sector. Last year, breakthroughs resulting from research in Russell Group universities generated more than 1,200 new licences to business.
Piatt said the universities had 588 active spin-off companies with some university ownership. On average, Russell Group institutions developed three times the number of commercial licences as other higher education institutions while management of the intellectual property raised more than £38 million of revenue and was likely to result in enormous benefits for wider society and the UK economy.
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