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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.

Report page

Universities enabling social enterprise: delivering benefits for all

Report
15 November 2012
Highlights some of the good work happening in universities to support social enterprise activity.

Beyond bricks and mortar boards: universities and the future of regional economic development

Report
13 February 2012
This report is based on joint work by IPPR North and Universities UK to understand better the impact of recent changes to regional and local structures and the emerging relations between universities and regions.

Driving economic growth report

Driving economic growth

Report
1 December 2011
This publication highlights the critical role UK universities will continue to play in reviving and sustaining economic growth across the country.

Big ideas front cover

Big ideas for the future: UK research that will have a profound effect on our future

Report
16 June 2011
Big ideas for the future is a joint report by Universities UK and Research Councils UK, published as part of the second annual Universities Week campaign.

Degrees of value: How universities benefit society

Report
15 June 2011
This report attempts to put a monetary value on some of the ways that universities contribute to society at both a local and a national level, using Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology.

Creating Prosperity: the role of higher education in driving the UK’s creative economy

Report
11 February 2011
Summarises the findings of research commissioned by Universities UK into the role and contribution of higher education in the UK’s creative economy.

Making an economic impact: higher education and the English regions

Report
28 July 2010
This is the first published study of the impact of the higher education sector on the English regions.

Report cover

The impact of universities on the UK economy - 4th report

4 November 2009
2009 study looking at the impact of the higher education sector on the UK economy.

Report page

The economic benefits of a degree

Report
17 February 2007
Universities increase skills, support innovation, and attract investment and talent.

Report page

The economic impact of UK higher education institutions (2007)

Report
7 February 2007
Universities increase skills, support innovation, and attract investment and talent.

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