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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 the new degree apprenticeships in England and the development of wider apprenticeships policy across the UK.

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.

Factsheet front cover

Innovation and growth factsheet series: funding local development

Factsheet
13 March 2017
Among other factors, increased university engagement with local communities and businesses is leading to new opportunities for collaboration, and the need for alternative and more diverse sources of funding.

Report cover

Degree apprenticeships: realising opportunities

Report
9 March 2017
This report sets out the findings of an extensive survey conducted by UUK, with support from HEFCE, into universities' uptake of and views on degree apprenticeships – their benefits, challenges, and what needs to be done to ensure their future success.

HERB – Lords second reading

The economic impact of international students

Briefing
6 March 2017
This briefing outlines new figures for 2014–15 on the economic impact of international students studying in the UK, including the jobs generated at a regional level and the income they provide local businesses.

Analytics in higher education

Analytics in higher education

3 November 2016
Learning analytics provide a set of powerful tools to inform and support learners. They enable institutions and individuals to better understand and predict personal learning needs and performance.

Elected mayors

Innovation and growth factsheet series: elected mayors

Factsheet
2 November 2016
With widespread devolution of power and responsibility to local areas forthcoming, the office of mayor could become a viable alternate to senior national office, and one that wields considerable influence, including over university affairs.

Parliamentary briefing: The role of universities in sustaining an industrial strategy for the UK

Briefing
20 October 2016
Universities have a crucial role to play in driving an industrial strategy and future economic growth for the UK.

UUK submission to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee inquiry into the government's industrial strategy

18 October 2016
Universities have a crucial role to play in sustaining an industrial strategy for the UK. There is an important window of opportunity for government to enhance the role of universities through the use of targeted government funding.

Universities UK submission to the Autumn Statement

7 October 2016
Universities UK’s submission to the 2016 Autumn Statement sets out how universities can play a crucial role in an industrial strategy for the UK.

Higher education in England: provision, skills and graduates

19 September 2016
This publication analyses the available data on graduate outcomes in terms of qualifications, skills and employment, and seeks to understand the patterns, the connections and the gaps in our knowledge.

Report cover

Economic impact on the UK of EU research funding to UK universities

Report
10 June 2016
EU research funding generates more than 19,000 jobs across the UK, £1.86 billion for the UK economy and contributes more than £1 billion to GDP, according to this report produced for Universities UK by Viewforth Consulting.

Events


Degree apprenticeships in 2019

26 Feb 2019, 09:30 - 16:30

Blog

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.

Challenging the higher Vs further education false divide

8 October 2018
UUK's Director of Policy looks at the need to go beyond the outdated and simplistic distinction between FE and HE. A new piece of research commissioned by Universities UK reinforces this message.

News

MadeAtUni

MadeAtUni: universities top 100 discoveries

6 December 2018
From technology that turns urine into electricity to care robots for the elderly, the MadeAtUni campaign celebrates the transformational impact of UK universities

Education system must change to support flexible study

26 October 2018
Shorter and more flexible courses could encourage more people of all ages to improve their skills and life chances at university. This is one of the main findings of a project set up by Universities UK (UUK) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

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