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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. Our degree apprenticeship briefing gives an overview of what degree apprenticeships are, and the benfits, funding and challenges to this kind of provision. 

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.

The future of degree apprenticeships

15 July 2019
A report by UUK setting out recommendations to reform the degree apprenticeship system.

example page from the report

Supporting universities to deliver skills, growth and improve lives

10 June 2019
Universities UK is highlighting five areas that the next Conservative party leader and prime minister should back to support UK universities. The new prime minister must support the continuing growth and opportunity of institutions in the UK.

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.

Events

Blog

A-level results day and Clearing 2019: reasons to be cheerful

12 August 2019
As A-level results day approaches, UUK’s Daniel Wake looks at recent trends in university admissions, and provides some final information to applicants, who for the first time can choose to put themselves into ‘Clearing’.

Higher education policy priorities for the new prime minister

31 July 2019
UUK's Karmjit Kaur on how new Prime Minister Boris Johnson can can help maximise the role of universities for both his domestic and global ambitions.

News

Thousands more should be able to do Degree Apprenticeships

15 July 2019
Bold action is needed from government to reform the degree apprenticeship system so many more people can become degree apprentices, according to a major report published today by Universities UK.

Research and innovation key to plans for UK prosperity

27 June 2019
UUK has linked with business, charities and researchers to appeal to Conservative leadership hopefuls

The team

portrait of charlie coyte

Charlotte Coyte

Policy Analyst
Universities UK

Julie Tam

Julie Tam

Deputy Director of Policy
Universities UK

Greg Wade

Greg Wade

Policy Manager
Universities UK