New research released on 17 May shows that the arts and humanities make a significant contribution to the UK economy in part thanks to researchers being so highly connected with UK businesses. Commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and undertaken by the Centre for Business Research (CBR) at the University of Cambridge the report, ‘Hidden Connections: Knowledge exchange between the arts and humanities and the private, public and third sectors’, has surveyed over 3500 academics in the Arts and Humanities as well as over 2,500 businesses in all sectors of the UK economy as part of the study. In addition the report contains 33 case studies of interactions involving arts and humanities academics.
Alan Hughes, Director of the CBR, said: “One of the most important findings of the report is that a narrow focus on patenting and licensing greatly understates the role in knowledge exchange played by academics in general and by those in the Arts and Humanities in particular. Academics connect through a wide range of problem solving, people based and community activities which both the private and public sectors value highly but which remain hidden if a narrow commercialisation lens is used to view academic interactions with extermnal organisations .”
The conventional wisdom that cultural differences or disagreements over intellectual property rights are significant problems is not shown in the evidence. There are, however, areas where improved connectivity would both support academic pursuits and wider benefits for society and the economy. This connectivity, the report suggests, could be improved by better flows of information and stronger ways to support the development and management of relationships.
The report can be download here: Hidden Connections: Knowledge Exchange Between the Arts and Humanities and the Private, Public and Third Sectors (pdf 1021kb)