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.
 


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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.

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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.

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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.

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The economic impact of the London 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.

The economic impact of the North West higher education sector

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

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The economic impact of the North East higher education sector

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

Events

Degree apprenticeships 2021 conference

27 Jan 2021, 09:30 - 16:25

Blog

Student working on a bike

Funding for adult learners will boost the UK's economic recovery

30 September 2020
UUK's Julie Tam takes a look at the prime minister's announcement of a lifetime skills allowance, and what it means for the economy, society, and individuals.

The careers services team at Royal Holloway, University of London

How university careers services are supporting graduates through Covid-19

25 June 2020
Gabi Binnie from AGCAS explains how university careers services moved their provision online almost overnight following lockdown, in order to ensure students and graduates continue to be supported.

News

Majority of adult learners would upskill at university if given the chance

21 October 2020
New polling by Savanta ComRes for Universities UK has revealed that 82% of prospective students in England who are either unemployed, at risk of unemployment, or looking to learn new skills would be keen to study individual modules of a university degree.

UUK response to prime minister’s speech on adult learning and skills

29 September 2020
Commenting on the Prime Minister's speech on adult learning and skills, Professor Julia Buckingham, the President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University London, said it could benefit millions of adults

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