These are the most collaborative companies working on research with universities in the UK

Lynsey Barber
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Pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies are leading the way when it comes to collaborating on research projects with UK universities, leaving technology businesses lagging.

GSK is the most collaborative business in the UK, working on more than 150 projects, followed by Rolls-Royce on just over 110 and Pfizer on more than 100, based on analysis of more than 12,000 collaborative projects between businesses and universities.

Microsoft is the first technology company to rank on the list and just squeezing into the top 10 at number nine, according to the figures which were collected for the Dowling Review into business and universities working together on research.

Businesses with the most collaborative research projects

1. GSK

2. Rolls -Royce

3. Pfizer

4. AstraZeneca

5. Airbus

6. BAE Systems

7. Novartis

8. Unilever

9. Microsoft

10. Siemens

Professor Dame Ann Dowling, one of Britain's leading engineers and a non-executive director at BP who authored the report, concluded the government should be doing more to facilitate collaboration on research projects.

"We need a change of culture in our universities to support and encourage collaboration with industry. In the UK we can be a bit dismissive about research that actually has an application, but in reality such use-inspired research can be truly excellent," said Dowling.

"Business-university research collaboration is an important part of the innovation ecosystem, but innovation is a complex, non-linear activity. This has resulted in a complex policy support mechanism for innovation that presents a barrier to business engagement, especially for small businesses. The government needs to take a systems view of these mechanisms in order to try and simplify the process as much as possible."

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