Skip to Content

Brunel University wins Global Business Excellence Award for Research and Development

Its strategy has seen its related income from business partnerships and R & D collaborations treble in less than five years.
The chairman of the GBEA judging panel, Andrew Areoff, said: “At a time when higher education establishments are having to work harder and smarter to generate revenue and further enhance their reputations, Brunel is leading the way with ground-breaking business partnerships.“
The University has a well-established reputation for working with industry, and lays claim to pioneering “sandwich“ courses, in which part of student's degree is spent working in industry.
Recently, it secured a £9m research project into the next generation of liquid metals technologies, partnered and co-funded by companies including Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls Royce, supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
This follows Brunel's success with another £13m 'Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre' (IMRC) project, working with medical device manufacturers and the NHS to improve evaluation processes of new healthcare products.
Brunel is only the third university in the UK (with Cambridge and Loughborough) to secure funding for two separate IMRCs.
Professor Steve Dixon, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Strategy and Development), said: “A large number of academic and administrative staff are engaged in working partnerships with business and they are responsible for this success.“
Other projects have included the establishment of the Brunel Innovation Centre (BIC), a partnership with TWI (formerly The Welding Institute), which secured over £2m of European Union funding to support BIC's R & D projects.
• Collaboration with Glaxo Smith Kline and Pfizer to win a £1.5m Technology Strategy Board research grant to refine Brunel's patented drug purification technology.
• AstraZeneca provided significant funding for Brunel's cancer research to develop in vitro (cell culture) models for the complex process of cancer development.
• Awarded £1.5m from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and EPSRC, to work with Tesco and other food retailers and manufacturers including United Biscuits and Unilever on a number of projects to optimise refrigeration equipment and reduce CO2 emissions.
The results of the University's R & D strategy have been impressive: it has won 27 CASE awards - the second highest nationally - to help fund new researchers to work with industry.
The national RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) in 2008 resulted in a 53 per cent annual funding increase (£13m pa) against a sector average increase of 6 per cent.
Brunel was one of only eight universities (out of 159) to receive a special commendation and maximum £5m Higher Education Innovation Funding for its 2008 knowledge transfer strategy.
It one of twelve to receive a maximum £0.5m Economic Challenge Investment Fund award to assist businesses during the economic downturn in 2009.
Last year Brunel launched novel two-way secondments with industry, providing paid leave periods for its academics to work in industry and reciprocal industrial secondments into Brunel.
It is the current winner of the 'RateMyPlacement' organisation's Best University Award for providing student placements into business and industry.
Brunel is one of five UK universities to secure government funding awards for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), where a high-calibre graduate is employed to work on company premises to carry out project work.
These have resulted in many major commercial successes. One example is the breathing trainer product range POWERbreathe®, developed by a Brunel physiologist with HaB International Ltd, which is on sale high-street retailers as well as available on prescription from the NHS.
Brunel University is shortlisted in the 2010 Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards for the Outstanding Research Management Team (the result is due in June 2010).
Notes to Editors
For further information, please contact the Brunel University Press Office; email:; tel: Andrew Kershaw: 01895 265098; or email:; tel: Phil Smith, 01727 733888.