New web tool launched to promote university-business collaboration

New web tool launched to promote university-business collaboration

21 November 2017

A new online platform to promote and enable university-business collaboration, konfer, has been officially launched by Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive Designate of UK Research & Innovation. Including well over a million pieces of data, the online tool has been designed to help businesses find opportunities for collaboration including research, researchers, facilities, equipment, funding and support.

konfer infographic showing how information is pulled in from universities, collated and then pushed out to industry based on specific requests

The innovation brokerage system can also provide opportunities for universities to find research partners, and has been described by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee as a “straightforward way for businesses to identify potential academic collaborators.”

konfer has been created by The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) in partnership with HEFCE and Research Councils UK (RCUK).

David Sweeney, Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange at HEFCE and Executive Chair Designate of Research England, said:
“konfer promotes stronger commercialisation, business and policy links and wider societal engagement with publicly funded research. It opens out what universities and research institutes do to a wider audience and I’m delighted to see it reaching full launch stage following development work with universities and businesses of all sizes.”

David Docherty, CEO of NCUB, said:
“Through konfer entrepreneurs, startups, and larger organisations can gain easy access to funding, resources, expertise and innovation opportunities, enabling our universities to find commercial project partners in a simple and straightforward way.”

The new collaboration tool can be found at


The konfer tool supports the journey from finding a research partner and funding to planning and co-creation. It does this by giving direct access to:

  1. 12,076 academics
  2. 14,386 facility and equipment listings
  3. 1,732,279 web pages from university sites and social media
  4. 27,526 YouTube videos from university channels
  5. 238,274 news, funding and events articles from curated feeds
  6. 51,537 publicly funded research projects