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.

  • Skills
  • Adult learning
  • Degree apprenticeships
  • Level 4 and 5 higher education
  • Collaboration with sector bodies
  • Knowledge Exchange Concordat
  • European Structural and Investment Funds
 

Skills

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

Adult learning 
We are calling for the introduction of a pilot scheme that will test how modular funding could address local skills gaps, with a view to bringing about longer-term change to the higher education system. 

If you have an interest in adult learning and a more flexible higher education system, we would appreciate if you could take some time to give your views in our call for evidence.

Degree apprenticeships

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

Level 4 and 5 higher education

We are supporting efforts to increase the flexibility of higher education provision at level 4 and 5. This will help meet employer demand, increase options for learners and develop provision that better suits the future shape of work. This work includes the development of technical education at level 4 and 5. We have responded to the most recent government consultation on this topic.
 

Collaboration with sector bodies

We engage with sector bodies that are identifying higher level skills needs and seeking to increase and improve their engagement with universities. We have been working with the digital sector, the film and television sector and the financial services sector.
 

Knowledge Exchange​ Concordat

The development of the concordat has been led by UUK and GuildHE in partnership with Research England, NCUB and PraxisAURIL as well as other funders and stakeholders. The concordat seeks to both enhance knowledge exchange within universities through the exchange of good practice, highlight the good practice that exists and act as a catalyst for collaboration between universities and with employers. 
  
The Knowledge Exchange Concordat has been published on our website. For further details of the implementation of the concordat, please go to www.keconcordat.ac.uk.

UniversitiesUK and GuildHE have outlined the importance of the knowledge exchange concordat and their endorsement of it in a supporting statement.
 

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 are working closely with the government on the placed successor to the ESIF Programme the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
 


Cover of higher technical education discussion paper

Higher technical education – discussion paper

Report
2 February 2021
This discussion paper sets an agenda for how universities can increase their higher technical education provision.

Recovery, skills, knowledge and opportunity: A vision for universities

21 October 2020
Universities will be at the heart of not just a recovery, but new ways to invest in our people and local communities, our world-leading research and creating a more equal, healthier, and sustainable future for the next generation.

Future international partnerships: putting the UK at the heart of global research and innovation collaboration

Report
20 October 2020
This paper proposes a wide-ranging set of policy recommendations to enable UK universities to grow and diversify their international research and innovation collaborations

Universities and Colleges and the Industrial Strategy report cover

Universities and colleges and the Industrial Strategy: exploring data on knowledge exchange, research and skills

Report
22 September 2020
A research paper commissioned by the Industrial Strategy Council looking at the contribution of further and higher education to the UK’s prosperity.

ke high implementation plan report cover

Knowledge exchange concordat: high-level implementation plan

Report
14 September 2020
This document provides high-level information on how the KE concordat will be implemented across the UK and detailed information on implementation in England.

report cover, including an image of the tower of babel

Towards a national languages strategy

Report
8 July 2020
Proposals from the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Association of School and College Leaders, the British Council and Universities UK.

Supporting graduates in a Covid-19 economy report front cover

Supporting graduates in a Covid-19 economy

Report
25 June 2020
A set of proposals for the UK government, recommending ways to support the employment prospects of graduates from the class of 2020, and to help businesses get back on their feet following the Covid-19 lockdown.

Level 4 and 5 education: Universities UK briefing

Briefing Report
21 February 2020
This briefing provides information on level 4 and 4 education and what the government can do to support it.

Widening opportunity in higher education - The third phase: beyond graduation

Report
21 November 2019
This discussion paper, written by Professor Simon Gaskell and Professor Rebecca Lingwood, concerns the influence of socio-economic background on graduate success.

Events

Blog

Local artist Nicole Mollett running a workshop for her ‘Graphic Novel for Luton’ project

How universities can attract vital regeneration and development funding for their regions

8 July 2021
Dr Nick Lancaster, Director of Innovation & Enterprise at the University of Bedfordshire, outlines how universities are the ideal conduit for regional regeneration through collaborative research and development.

Open sign on a shop

‘What’s good for the city is good for the university’: higher education’s vital role in the post-Covid recovery

27 May 2021
Reflecting on his role as chairperson of Bradford Metropolitan District Council’s Economic Covid-19 Recovery Board, Professor Zahir Irani outlines why universities must play a key role in the country’s post-pandemic recovery.

News

Children playing sport at university

Universities vital to nation's health and wellbeing recovery says Dame Katherine Grainger

13 July 2021
One of the UK's most decorated Olympians is backing MadeAtUni: Energising Places – launched today by UUK and BUCS to highlight the role universities play in improving lives through sport and physical activity.

University partnerships will help UK build back better faster

27 May 2021
​A new report is predicting that thousands of jobs, new businesses, and prosperity will be created across the UK through university collaborations with employers, local government, and other partners.

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