Wide gulf on industry income among countries

Data from THE World University Rankings suggest universities in Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland get far more per academic

November 10, 2020
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Universities in continental European countries with traditionally strong ties to industry are reaping tens of thousands more dollars in income per academic from working with commercial partners than the UK and US, Times Higher Education figures suggests.

The data, contained in a PDF icon THE Consultancy report on university-industry collaboration, show that on average a university in the Netherlands gets the equivalent of $64,000 (£48,617) per academic from industry, compared with just $1,700 in the UK and $9,400 in the US.

Swiss institutions in the THE World University Rankings also perform strongly with an average of $49,000 per academic staff member, closely followed by German universities with $47,000.

Income from industry also made up a much higher proportion of all money for research for ranked institutions in these countries: in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland about a quarter of research income came from industry compared with 13 per cent in the US and 10 per cent in the UK.

The figures, provided by universities for the 2021 ranking and based on the academic year 2017-18, show that the highest-ranked institutions in the UK and US do receive greater amounts of industry income: for instance, $107,000 per academic at Stanford University and $57,000 at the University of Oxford.

But the data suggest that among all ranked institutions, universities in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland consistently have close ties with commercial research.

The report also contains an analysis of bibliometric data from the Microsoft Academic Graph database on academic publications produced in collaboration with firms. This also shows how the Netherlands had the highest share of publications with commercial co-authorship (5.8 per cent) out of the group of nations analysed.

In the Netherlands and the UK, the subject with the highest proportion of publications featuring commercial collaboration was material science, while for Switzerland, Germany and the US it was computer science.


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