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Hidden connections


Themes: Economics and policy

Mr Michael KitsonNew research into relationships between the arts and humanities and the UK economy has revealed far greater interaction than expected

‘Hidden Connections’ was commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and charts the extent of connectivity with the private, public and third sectors.

A co-author, Michael Kitson, Senior Lecturer in International Macroeconomics at Cambridge Judge Business School, says the arts and humanities make a significant contribution to the UK economy in part thanks to researchers being so highly connected with UK businesses.

“The research does not fit the conventional wisdom that academics connect to businesses in the realms of science and technology and that it’s unlikely to take place elsewhere.

“We found there is widespread connectivity between academics, including those in the arts and humanities, with businesses but also with other elements of the economy and society including the public sector and third sector.”

He says that the connections are often hidden because the focus falls on science and technology, patents, licences and spin-outs.

“What are often missed are the connections with many different disciplines and many different parts of the economy through many different mechanisms. It is far more complex than conventional wisdom portrays it to be.”

The report highlights the importance of mutual understanding and expectation in knowledge exchange.

The research involved surveys with over 22,000 academics including 3,500 from the Arts and Humanities plus over 2,500 businesses. It includes 33 case studies of interactions involving arts and humanities academics.

The study was conducted by Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Business Research.