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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.

  • 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

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.
 


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.

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.

Events

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

​Time is running out to save Erasmus+: Losing study abroad scheme would blow a hole in UK economic prospects

9 March 2020
More than 17,000 UK university students are hoping that the UK Government can negotiate continued involvement in Erasmus+ in its trade discussions with the European Union so they can develop important and necessary skills overseas next year.

Golden opportunity for government to reverse decline in adult learning

2 March 2020
Greater financial support would supercharge lifelong learning

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