Exploring the effect of geographical proximity and university quality on university–industry collaboration in the United Kingdom, Regional Studies. This paper concerns the geographical distance between a firm and the universities in its local area. It is argued that firms' decisions to collaborate with universities for innovation are influenced by both geographical proximity to universities and the quality of these universities. The findings show that being located close to a lower-tier university reduces the propensity for firms to collaborate locally, while co-location with top-tier universities promotes collaboration. However, it is also found that if faced with the choice, firms appear to give preference to the research quality of the university partner over geographical closeness. This is particularly true for high-research and development intensive firms.