Business Engagement

Business Engagement

What is it? 

Business engagement is the development of mutually-beneficial partnerships between academic researchers and industry with the aim of addressing real-world challenges.

It can take many different forms, from undertaking an industry placement or internship, to conducting a research project to address specific industry challenges, testing and analysing business partners’ existing methods or securing an industrial partner’s support in a research grant bid.

Why do it?

Developing strategic business partnerships and strengthening academic-industry links offers researchers a host of benefits. For example, collaborations with business partners can present opportunities to:

  • Secure alternative sources of funding for research
  • Access rich, large-scale, real-world datasets
  • Raise the profile of your research
  • Stimulate exciting new areas of research and innovation
  • Change the way business leaders think, invest, and act
  • Influence policy agendas relating to your field
  • Gain insight into the challenges facing industry and different markets
  • Develop valuable professional skills in relationship-management, stakeholder engagement, communications, and leadership

What support is there to help me?

The Social Sciences Division’s Research, Impact and Engagement (RIE) Team provide advice, training, funding support, and examples of effective engagement with industry partners to maximise the benefits for both researchers and businesses. Guidance and support is also available from the Division’s Innovation and Business Partnership Manager. There is also a Business Engagement Seed Fund with awards up to £6,000 available to help researchers kick-start relationships. Find out more below.

Watch: Highlights of social scientists engaging with partners in industry

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Who can help me?

The Social Sciences Division's Research, Impact and Engagement Team works with colleagues across Oxford’s Research Services and Academic Divisions, as well as with the Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM), to ensure that Social Sciences researchers have as many opportunities as possible to develop their business engagement skills and experience. Contact one of the specialist Team members below for advice on the best next steps for your business engagement ideas: