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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.

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

Employment data reveals added 'value' for graduates

25 April 2018
UUK's Greg Wade looks at yesterday's Graduate Labour Market Statistics, and what they mean for graduates and the UK economy.

Government’s industrial strategy – a good opportunity for universities

27 November 2017
Universities UK's Julie Tam looks at the UK government's new industrial strategy and highlights a number of opportunities for universities.

News

University entrants remain highly qualified

4 June 2018
An analysis published by Universities UK shows that the growth in student numbers has not led to university entrants having lower qualifications.

UUK and CBI to look at decline in part-time students and future skills needs

6 February 2018
Universities UK is going to work with the CBI to look at whether higher education can introduce more flexible ways of learning to meet the changing needs of students and employers.

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