2011年12月英语六级仔细阅读真题第二篇选自英国卫报网站。原文发表于2008年12月，题目"More UK universities should be profiting from ideas" 更多英国大学应从创意获利。
A recurring criticism of the UK's university sector is its perceived weakness in translating new knowledge into new products and services.
Recently, the UK National Stem Cell Network warned the UK could lose its place among the world leaders in stem cell research unless adequate funding and legislation could be assured, despite an annual £40m spend by the Department of Health on all kinds of research.
We should take this concern seriously as universities are key in the national innovation system and, in the face of the current economic turmoil, one of the few 'get out of jail' cards still held by the nation.
However, we do have to challenge the unthinking complaint that the sector does not do enough in taking ideas to market. The most recent comparative data on the performance of universities and research institutions in Australia, Canada, USA and UK shows that, from a relatively weak starting position, the UK now leads on many indicators of commercialisation activity.
Our weaknesses show up in the rates of US patenting and license income arising from our efforts, but these have improved and there is no reason to believe that this trend will not be continued.
When viewed at the national level, the policy interventions of the past decade, such as the sharp increase in research funding, the evolution of the Higher Education Innovation Fund and the continuation of the Research Assessment Exercise have helped transform the performance of UK universities. The evidence suggests the UK's position is much stronger than in the recent past and is still showing improvement.
Now for the health warning. National data masks the very large variation in the performance of individual universities. The evidence shows that a large number of universities have fallen off the back of the pack, a few perform strongly and the rest chase the leaders.
This type of skewed distribution is not peculiar to the UK and is mirrored across other economies. In the UK, research is concentrated: less than 25% of universities are in receipt of 75% of the research funding. These same universities are also the institutions producing the greatest share of PhD graduates, science citations, patents and license income. The effect of policies generating long-term resource concentration has also created a distinctive set of universities which are research-led and commercially active.
As part of the debate on the future of higher education, John Denham, the innovation, universities and skills secretary, challenged authors to take a 10-15 year outlook on the direction of the sector.
My report, Intellectual Property and Research Benefits, highlights the interrelationships which have evolved around research funding, graduate schools and the effective creation, management and exploitation of intellectual property. It seems clear that the concentration of research and commercialisation work creates differences between universities.
A consequence of more than two decades of policy recognising and rewarding research excellence is further differentiation in the sector. At the same time, we need to increase the number of PhD students across a broad range of disciplines. This will generate an opportunity to develop the graduate schools at those universities with higher numbers of PhD registrations, to invest in more scholarships and to expand the training opportunities for PhD students by promoting courses linked to commercialisation skills and business development practices.
The core objective for universities which are research-led must be to maximise the impact of their research efforts. Their purpose is not to generate funds to add to the bottom line of the university or to substitute other income streams. Rather, these universities should be generating the widest range of social, economic and environmental benefits. In return for the scale of investment, they should share their expertise in order to build greater confidence in the sector.
Part of the economic recovery of the UK will be driven by the next generation of research commercialisation spilling out of our universities. On the evidence presented in my report, there are three dozen universities in the UK which are actively engaged in advanced research training and commercialisation work.
If there was a greater coordination of technology transfer offices within regions and a simultaneous investment in the scale and functions of our graduate schools, universities could, and should, play a key role in positioning the UK for the next growth cycle.