The CBI has created a taskforce of business and university leaders to examine what business wants from higher education.

The Higher Education Taskforce will also consider how the higher education can be funded.

Lead by Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, the taskforce comprises 18 businesses and universities, including Imes Group, McDonald’s, QinetiQ and King’s College London.

Melfort Campbell, CEO of Imes Group, said: "I want the HE sector to provide more graduates with degrees which are relevant to our business. Industry needs to be clear on which degree subjects are considered valuable. The taskforce recommendations should aim to help students who are currently unsure about the value of a degree and also improve communication with the HE sector in relation to what business wants."

All three main political parties are currently reviewing higher education policy and the government is expected to publish its vision for higher education next year.

CBI director-general Richard Lambert said: “Business knows that a vibrant, dynamic higher education sector is crucial to the future of the UK economy and in the past few years universities have made good progress building bridges with business.

“As well as examining if businesses and universities are getting the most out of working together, the taskforce will report in June 2009 on what business wants to get out of universities.”