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THE: Embrace, don't shun, ethos of business

Tim Wilson, vice-chancellor of Hertfordshire, calls for the creation of a new generation of commerce-friendly universities. It has been heartening for academe to hear Government and Opposition acknowledge so clearly the contribution of universities to economic and social wellbeing. But there can be no doubt that a major challenge remains as we pursue a high-skills, high-value-added economy, dynamic and agile enough to compete with the best in the world. The demands upon higher education are becoming so diverse that it is time to acknowledge reality – differentiation in our sector.

There is a compelling case for a new generation of universities, focused on and expert in working with business – business-facing universities engaging and collaborating with business, the professions and the public sector. Of course, all universities do this – just as all universities are research active – but this new type of university has explicit business engagement at the core of its mission and purpose.

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