A new report is predicting that thousands of jobs, new businesses, and prosperity will be created across the UK through university collaborations with employers, local government, and other partners.
Today's report – 'Universities and the UK's economic recovery: an analysis of future impact' – written by the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE) and published by Universities UK, predicts that over the next five years UK universities will provide:
£11.6 billion worth of support and services to small enterprises, businesses, and not-for-profits.
21,700 new companies and charities will be started because of universities.
191,000 nurses, 84,000 medical specialists and 188,000 teachers will be trained at UK universities.
£21.7 billion (estimated value) of research collaboration between universities in the UK and non-academic organisations.
It comes as UUK launches #GettingResults – a campaign to put universities at the heart of the economic and social recovery – with a renewed commitment from universities to do even more to reach out to new partners locally and nationally and deliver even greater impact than currently estimated.
As part of the campaign, universities will develop a series of pledges and partnership agreements with leading employers and bodies representing sectors with strategic importance to the nation's economic and social recovery. These will outline the role that universities can play supporting business and other partners, identify where these partnerships can be improved, and encourage increased collaboration to benefit society and level up opportunities.
This work is being overseen by a newly created Universities UK Economic and Social Taskforce, which is led by Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, and a board member of Universities UK.
Professor Chris Day said:
"Universities are at the heart of the nation's recovery from the pandemic. Over the past year we have seen first-hand what can be achieved through strong collaboration between our universities and their partners. Now universities want to do more, to help the UK to bounce back stronger, with opportunity and prosperity spread across the country. We are looking to form strategic partnerships with employers and sector bodies throughout the UK to strengthen collaboration between universities and their partners."
Lord Karan Bilimoria, President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said:
"At the CBI we are proud that the United Kingdom has one of the finest higher education sectors in the world, one that should never be taken for granted by the government and the public."
"Following the challenges that have been faced throughout this pandemic, 2021 must be a turning point for the UK, and universities have a key role within research, skills and innovation which is going to drive the UK to build forward better".
"We must now think in the long term and of the future opportunities the sector can bring and ensure universities are given the recognition and prominence they deserve".
Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan, said:
"Our universities play a vital role in their local communities, through creating levelling up opportunities, boosting the economy, and training up some of the brilliant talent this country has to offer."
"I encourage universities to join this movement, deepen their ties with local communities, and solidify their position as the engines of regional growth that this nation needs to build back better, and fairer from the pandemic."
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Science, Research and Innovation), Amanda Solloway, said:
"The immense contribution of UK universities to our economy and local communities cannot be underestimated."
"Partnerships between these world-leading institutions and UK businesses are crucial to our economic recovery and the Getting Results campaign will play an important part in helping us to build back better from the pandemic."
Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, President of Universities UK, said:
"By working together with their partners, including local government and employers, universities will play a vital role in the next chapter of our country's history. This report shows that university partnerships can contribute significantly to future economic success and improve lives across the UK. With the right kind of support and a stable funding environment, this growth and impact could be even faster and stronger than the report estimates."
The report 'Universities and the UK's economic recovery: an analysis of future impact' was compiled by James Ransom, Head of Research at the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE). It is based on Higher Education Statistics Agency, ONS, and Innovate UK data.