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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 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.

Report cover

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.

Report cover

The economic impact of the Yorkshire and Humberside higher education sector

Report
3 April 2014
Key economic aspects of the higher education sector in the Yorkshire and Humberside 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 West Midlands higher education sector

Report
3 April 2014
Key economic aspects of the higher education sector in the West 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 South West higher education sector

Report
3 April 2014
Key economic aspects of the higher education sector in the South 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.

Report cover

The economic impact of the South East higher education sector

Report
3 April 2014
Key economic aspects of the higher education sector in the South 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.

The economic impact of Ulster University on the Northern Ireland economy

Report
3 April 2014
Analysis of the economic impact of Ulster University and its students on the Northern Ireland economy.

Impact of universities on the UK economy

The impact of universities on the UK economy

Report
3 April 2014
​This report highlights universities’ increasingly significant impact on the economy in terms of output, contribution to GDP, job creation, and overseas investment.

Report cover

The funding challenge for universities

Report
7 November 2013
In the wake of significant reforms to the ways universities are funded, both universities and government are faced by a number of challenges and financial pressures.

Massive open online courses report cover

Massive open online courses: higher education's digital moment?

Report
3 May 2013
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) offer millions of people to study courses by distinguished scholars and connect with learners around the globe.

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