A new study has found that universities in Ireland and the UK are ranked the least valuable to big business.

The index, compiled by Times Higher Education, examined how the world's top universities compete for research funding from industry.

The study looked at the amount of money top universities in 30 countries globally attracted from big business for research into innovation.

Korea came out on top with global companies investing almost €75,000 in each Korean researcher.

Singapore was second averaging €63,300.

However, in the UK global companies invest just €9,977 in each British academic.

Academics in Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork, NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth attracted just €6,226, leaving Ireland at the bottom of the list in terms of its value to big business.

Times Higher Education said universities in the UK and Ireland need to understand that in an era where companies survive through innovation, ideas can no longer be kept within the walls of academia.

It said the future is no longer just about teaching and research, but is increasingly about knowledge transfer.

Times Higher Education editor Phil Baty said Irish universities are being overlooked by global and local investors, when trying to secure funding from businesses.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Baty said Ireland faces a challenge and the successful universities are "getting much more professional, much more focused and are going into businesses, making sure they get a lot of money out of businesses to help them with their research and development and their innovation".

He said Irish universities will have to establish how they can help local businesses.

"Perhaps this is a cultural problem where we haven't been quite as ready to get into bed with business," Mr Baty said.