About Us

The Business Engagement Team works with key regional, national and international partners to develop academic-industry links and strategic business partnerships with the overall aim of generating positive reputation, impact and income.

In doing so, we work closely with colleagues across the University, including from Research and Support Services, University of Birmingham Enterprise and External Relations, to grow our commercial partnerships and ensure consistency of the ‘business message’ externally.

Our Business Engagement Partners develop and grow relationships with many commercial businesses, small and large. By identifying challenges of mutual interest we introduce academia to companies in their area of research, broker the development of project proposals and assist the set-up of commercial contracts for project collaboration. We also help to identify suitable funding mechanisms and advise on business case and project planning.

Click here to download our strategy framework (PDF - 3.2Mb)

The various ways in which industrial partners and University of Birmingham can work together to mutual benefit are listed below:

Research, development and innovation projects

  • Collaborative research/consultancy: work in partnership to propose and carry out research specifically for business.
  • Sponsored PhD: enables a postgraduate student to work exclusively on the subject for 3 years. UK Research Council often funds industrial research activities and invites proposals for supported research studentships (iCase).  Alternatively, the University itself offers PhD studentships, for which student support is applicable and contributes towards a stipend increase for the student, all fees and access to laboratories, technicians, etc.
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project for 1-3 years to apply technology/knowledge available at the University into the company, using a dedicated resource (KTP associate).  The project must have a clear business case e.g. develop a new product, process or service.  The KTP associate can be a graduate of any university, and would be an employee of the University but is line managed by the company and spends the majority of their time at the company site. The KTP associate cannot previously have been employed by the company but can be offered a job on completion of the KTP.


Sponsoring research

  • Sponsor a research fellow
  • Sponsor a Chair (Professor)


Education and training engagement

  • Degree Apprenticeship programmes at both under-graduate and post-graduate level
  • Industry can sponsor undergraduates through their degrees with or without job commitments at the end
  • Sponsor full or part-time MSc student, usually with commitment to job
  • Sponsor full or part-time MRes student, usually with commitment to job
  • MBA Consultancy Projects (also opportunity to teach on programmes, deliver talks and input into the design of a programme)
  • Student year in industry (usually taken after undergraduate year 2 or 3).
  • Student summer jobs:
    • Summer vacation job without tie-in of sponsorship
    • Sponsorship, consisting of bursary of typically £1,500 per year of study plus placement during vacations and, ideally, job upon graduation
  • MSc or UG final year student research projects: UG projects good for a small, niggly problem which may be overlooked due to pressures of the “day job”, but which, if time permitted within the company, would be easily justified in carrying out. PG projects are more substantial, taking place between May and September each year. Projects must contain an appropriate level of academic challenge.
  • Sponsorship of undergraduate laboratory or design projects


Reputation Development

The Business Engagement Marketing and Communications team is responsible for raising the profile of the University’s ‘offer’ to business. We deliver marketing campaigns and manage communication channels to promote the University to external and internal audiences to help support and develop mutually beneficial partnerships with industry.

What you can talk to us about:

  • How we can work with you to develop and implement plans for marketing the University’s business and knowledge transfer offers
  • Hosting and/or attending events which cover key research themes and have a business agenda
  • Identifying business focused news and developing relationships with relevant trade press
  • Content on the ‘Business’ section of the University’s website
  • Producing case studies and testimonials that demonstrate impact.

For further information contact us.



Professional Services