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Many scientists in British universities now have close links with industry. Spin-off companies are a feature of academic life.
The Government applauds this entrepreneurial spirit, pointing out that it boosts the economy and helps to pay the cost of higher learning.
But critics argue that the commercial imperative distorts research priorities and undermines the established values of the university system.
Geoff Watts asks are they right. Is the urge to make profit subverting the search for knowledge?
Producer: Beth Eastwood.