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Innovation, growth and skills

Universities play a vital role in supporting business and communities, promoting local and national economic growth and innovation, and supplying highly skilled and employable graduates. ​​


 

We encourage collaboration and the exchange of knowledge between universities and businesses, local authorities, professional bodies, charities and a wide range of other stakeholders to ensure that businesses and employers are supported to grow, become more innovative and productive, and can access the skills that they need.​

Supporting and promoting universities' contribution to innovation, growth and skills​

Our work on innovation, growth and skills covers a range of areas and projects. In all of these we seek to support and promote the significant efforts universities are already making.

  • Impact of universities
  • English devolution
  • Knowledge exchange
  • European Structural and Investment Funds
  • Skills
  • Degree apprenticeships
  • Higher Education Employer Trailblazer

Impact of universities​

We research and promote the economic impact of universities across the UK and the value they add nationally, regionally and locally. In 2017 our economic impact report demonstrated that universities supported almost one million jobs, and contributed £21.5 billion to UK gross domestic product in 2014-15 alone.

English devolution

Universities have a central role to play in the ongoing devolution of funding and services to local areas. As providers of education and skills, significant economic actors, large employers, key partners of public services and leaders in local growth initiatives, universities have the people and knowledge to help drive local growth, and have much to offer in strengthening and delivering devolution settlements.

Knowledge exchange​

University collaboration with businesses and the wider community (activity known as 'knowledge exchange') plays an important part in improving the UK's economic growth and productivity, and in the success of our public services.

We work with Research England, higher education sector experts and representatives of the business community to increase understanding of the role universities play to encourage exchange of best practice between academia and business.

European Structural and Investment Funds​

In England we represent the sector in the European Structural Investment Funds Programme, which universities use to help them collaborate with businesses, charities and Local Enterprise Partnerships on innovation, skills development, and business support and advice.​

England has been allocated €6.9 billion from the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) between 2014 and 2020.

We produce regular ESIF webcasts offering analysis and guidance; maintain a Universities and Local Growth LinkedIn group, and an email list to which we circulate ESIF Growth Programme Board papers.

Skills​

We support the development of strong links between universities and employers to boost the employability of graduates and recognition of the value of graduate skills. 

Degree apprenticeships​

We are working to support the development of degree apprenticeships in England and the development of wider apprenticeships policy across the UK. The future of degree apprenticeships is a new project to ensure degree apprenticeships fully meet employers' skills needs, provide opportunities and contribute to productivity and economic growth.

Higher Education Employer Trailblazer

We are working with Buckinghamshire New University and The University of Sheffield who are leading the Higher Education Employer Trailblazer consortium responding to the introduction of apprenticeship standards.

Cover of flexible learning

Flexible learning: the current state of play in UK higher education

Report
26 October 2018
Analysis undertaken as part of UUK's project on the economic case for flexible learning, setting out the experiences of higher education institutions in providing and developing flexible learning opportunities, including the challenges and opportunities.

Lost learners

26 October 2018
A report exploring the socio-economic profile of the prospective students who have considered, but not pursued, part-time higher education since 2010.

Routes to high-level skills

Routes to high-level skills

Report
8 October 2018
Partnerships between higher education, further education, employees and other parts of the tertiary system are explored in this paper.

Solving future skills challenges

Solving future skills challenges

6 August 2018
Educating more people at university could bring significant benefits to the UK economy as the Fourth Industrial Revolution increases future demand for higher level skills.

Graduate retention: meeting local skills needs

Graduate retention: meeting local skills needs

UK Report
14 December 2017
A report analysing whether increased graduate retention could ease current skills shortages in the UK.

Sector deals – partnering with universities

Sector deals – partnering with universities

Factsheet
27 November 2017
A guide offering advice for businesses on how to best involve and engage with universities when proposing a sector deal, and gives practical advice on how this engagement can occur.

Raising attainment through university school partnerships

Raising attainment through university-school partnerships

Report
14 November 2017
A booklet providing examples of collaborations between universities and schools, and outlining how higher education institutions could work with the government to best deliver its objectives to raise attainment.

Universities UK submission to the Economic Affairs Committee inquiry into tertiary education

31 October 2017
Universities UK submission to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the economics of higher education, further education and vocational training

Economic impact of UK universities

The economic impact of universities in 2014–15

Report
16 October 2017
An investigation into the economic contribution that universities make annually​ to the UK economy through generating GDP, jobs and taxes, and their longer-term impact on the UK. 

Events

Graduate employability and skills

8 May 2019, 09:30 - 17:00

Blog

The Augar review must be judged on Britain’s best interests

5 March 2019
Universities UK Chief Executive Alistair Jarvis sets out five tests by which the Augar review should be judged.

Graduates in demand, but skills must match up with jobs

7 November 2018
With regular debates about the value of degrees and whether graduates have the right skills, Greg Wade considers the evidence from employers on graduate recruitment and their actual skills needs.

News

Life-changing research at UK universities could be days away from stalling

19 March 2019
Universities UK is calling on the government to take urgent steps to prevent the UK from losing out on hundreds of millions of pounds worth of research grants if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Government urged to reconsider plans for subject-level TEF

25 February 2019
Government urged to reconsider plans for subject-level TEF

The team

James Ransom

James Ransom

Policy Researcher
Universities UK

Julie Tam

Julie Tam

Deputy Director of Policy
Universities UK

Greg Wade

Greg Wade

Policy Manager
Universities UK