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University Business Cooperation

What is it?

If Europe wants to be a leader in innovation and enterprise it must improve the dialogue between the education sector and the market-place. Cooperation between businesses and higher education institutions encourages the transfer and sharing of knowledge, helps create long-term partnerships and opportunities and drives innovation. Closer cooperation with the employment sector helps universities develop curricula that are relevant and meet the needs of individuals and society, equipping graduates with the right skills and mind-sets for the labour market.

There are many examples of successful co-operation between academia and industrypdf(3.25 Mb) Choose translations of the previous link  throughout Europe. However, the level of co-operation varies considerably between different countries, universities and academic disciplines. See the individual reports on the state of University-Business Cooperation in specifc member states.

How does the EU support this?

The University-Business Forum

  • An annual forum that brings together higher education institutions, companies, business associations, intermediaries, and public authorities, providing them with a common space at a European level for dialogue, networking, and the exchange of good practice. This event looks not only at the staus quo but also investigates what might be needed in terms of new policy initiatives and programmes.
    The Fifth University-Business Forum pdf(9.74 Mb) Choose translations of the previous link  took place in June 2013.
  • Regular Thematic Forums are also held across Europe in cooperation with Member States to address key themes at national and regional level.
    The most recent thematic forums took place in Warsawpdf(8.76 Mb) Choose translations of the previous link  in November 2013, in Stockholmpdf(5.91 Mb) Choose translations of the previous link  in March 2014, in Madridpdf(3.01 Mb) in June 2014 and in Romepdf(4.57 Mb) in October 2014.


The Knowledge Alliances

The Knowledge Alliances are structured partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses, working on projects that promote creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship by developing new approaches to teaching and learning. They aim to create new multi-disciplinary curricula to promote transferrable skills and entrepreneurship within education as well as encouraging a more systemic culture of cooperation between the business and academic sector for mutual benefit.



Studies on the various aspects of University-Business Cooperation are regularly commissioned, looking at a variety of sectors, member states and specific topics.

The most recent studies have included the first comprehensive review of the state of university-business cooperation in Europepdf(3.22 Mb) Choose translations of the previous link  , a study on innovation in higher educationpdf(6.16 Mb) Choose translations of the previous link  , and a study on measuring the Impact of university-business cooperation.

Much of this work is the outcomes of discussions that have taken place during the various Forums organised by the Commission and in partnership with institutions in the member states.


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