Arthur D. Little was commissioned by 35 universities to conduct a study of the impact of research in their institutions - primarily from the 'post-92' group. The study showed that such institutions play a key part in sustaining what England's Higher Education Funding Council calls "A dynamic and internationally competitive research sector". They are a distinct and valuable part of the research base, complementary to the reswarch-intensive universities, and have key assets that include:
- Excellent research, including strengths in applied and practice-based disciplines
- Clear relevance for many areas of policy and business – from top multinationals to SMEs
- Direct support to the Government's "10 year Framework - Next steps" agenda - helping to ensure a science and innovation system is responsive to economic and public policy priorities, encourage collaboration between industry and the research base, and ensure a highly skilled and diverse workforce
- Proximity to users
- Skills supply to serve users and secure R&D investment
The performance of the universities proves their ability to deliver high quality research for a diverse range of customers, leveraging modest public investment in the research base to generate comparatively very high levels of successful contract research for government and public bodies, multinational and national industries. They play a strong and distinctive role in regional development and regeneration, maintain research-based links to small and medium sized enterprises and are well placed to provide support for emerging industries.