Home > Policy and analysis > Innovation, growth and skills

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
  • 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.
  

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

We are leading on the development of the Knowledge Exchange Concordat in collaboration with GuildHE and Research England. 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.
 

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.
 


Making the most of data report cover

Making the most of data: Data skills training in English universities

Report
13 July 2015
Data presents a significant opportunity for the UK. Businesses are increasingly collecting and analysing data to enhance their productivity.

Report page

Why invest in universities?

Report
25 June 2015
Universities are essential for the UK's modern knowledge economy. The UK has a university sector that many other countries aspire to emulate.

Briefing front cover

Parliamentary briefing: Westminster Hall Debate – Science and research in the UK and regional economies

Briefing
23 June 2015
This briefing sets out the economic benefits of investment in science and research and the role of public investment within this.

Report cover

The economic impact of Queen's University Belfast on the Northern Ireland economy

Report
3 April 2015
This study provides an analysis of the economic impact of Queen’s University Belfast and its students on the Northern Ireland economy.

Factsheet front cover

Innovation and growth factsheet series: University involvement in ESIF 2014–2020 programme

Factsheet
20 March 2015
This factsheet summarises a recent assessment conducted by UUK, HEFCE and the Department for Communities and Local Government, exploring the extent to which universities in England are engaging with the 2014–2020 ESIF programme.

Report cover

Forging futures: building higher-level skills through university and employer collaboration

Report
22 September 2014
Case studies from across six industrial sectors highlight the variety and depth of collaboration between employers and universities.

Innovation vouchers factsheet

Innovation and growth factsheet series: Innovation vouchers and LEP Structural Funds strategies

Factsheet
19 September 2014
This factsheet provides an overview of the benefits of innovation vouchers, and gives some examples of how universities and Local Enterprise Partnerships re including them in their European Structural and Investment Funds strategies.

Report page

The economic impact of higher education institutions in England

Report
3 April 2014
This summary report outlines the higher education sector’s impact on local economies in the academic year 2011–12, the latest for which figures were available at the time this research was commissioned.

The economic impact of the East Midlands higher education sector

Report
3 April 2014
Key economic aspects of the higher education sector in the East Midlands in the academic year 2011-12 and of the sector’s impact on the region and on the rest of the UK.

Report cover

The economic impact of the East of England higher education sector

Report
3 April 2014
Key economic aspects of the higher education sector in the East Midlands in the academic year 2011-12 and of the sector’s impact on the region and on the rest of the UK.

Blog

Seizing the opportunity to offer more people the chance of success through higher technical education

21 November 2019
UUK's Greg Wade on the 'missing middle' of level 4 and 5 qualifications, and shares UUK's recommendations for government.

City with blue sky

General election 2019: skills, jobs and opportunity

11 November 2019
UUK's Karmjit Kaur on the policies that all parties should commit to, to ensure UK universities remain a global success story.

News

Universities UK welcomes UCAS figures on disadvantaged students

28 November 2019
Universities UK (UUK) today welcomes figures showing that disadvantaged students are 61% more likely to enter university now than they were ten years’ ago.

Universities UK responds to Labour manifesto

21 November 2019
UUK President Julia Buckingham responds to the release of the Labour manifesto

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