How well do university students understand IP?

By Ideas Matter

Although 68% of UK students say they expect to be involved in creative or innovative activity that involves intellectual property during their higher education, many students have no idea whether there is any IP in their particular project work (19%), nor how to protect it (14%) or who to talk to about it (46%).

The Intellectual Property Awareness Network’s (IPAN’s) recent study of university IP policy, perception and practice describes these and other statistics, which they say suggest that there may be an appetite among students for gaining more understanding of IP and their higher-education institution’s IP policies.

There is a clear awareness among students (58%) and staff (62%) that intellectual property will be important for a student’s future career, says IPAN.  Most higher-education staff say that IP should be taught (76%), but there is widespread ignorance as to whether it in fact is taught at their own institution.  When asked whether IP had ever been referred to in their education, 69% of students said ‘No’ or ‘Don’t Know’.

Nigel Carrington, Vice Chancellor of the University of Arts London, remarked, “the gap in staff and student understanding of IP may represent a failure in knowledge transfer so far, but at least we can teach our way out of it. The good news is that there is a shared recognition of the need for such teaching.” 

“I hope that the words ‘mandatory IP module’ appear regularly at academic boards in universities across the country over the next years,” said Carrington.

More information and IPAN’s detailed study can be found here.