Russell Group universities ‘worth £87bn to UK economy’

By Tania Chakraborti

Leading research-focused universities in the UK, including Durham, are worth £86.8 billion a year to the national economy.

This is according to a study conducted by London Economics, Business Management Consultants, which focused on the single academic year of 2015/16.

The study claims that in that one year all Russell Group universities together contributed a total to the UK economy equivalent to eight months’ expenditure on the NHS.

The report assesses the medium- and long-term impacts of universities’ teaching, learning activities and research, their value through income gained from overseas students, and their spending on goods, services and employees.

The study also showed that Russell Group universities support approximately 260,000 jobs, more than the total population of the city of Aberdeen.

Within teaching and learning, the study reveals the 166,000 UK- domiciled students undertaking research at the 24 Russell Group universities in 2015/16 will contribute almost £21 billion to the UK economy through the valuable skills they acquire.

For every £1 of public research funding these universities receive, the report claims, they will accomplish an average return of £9 for the UK’s economy.

This follows a major study conducted by BiGGAR Economics earlier this year which showed that for every £1 Durham University receives in funding, it provides £3.21.

Furthermore, the BiGGAR study revealed Durham University is worth £1.1 billion a year to the UK economy and that the University generates over 13,000 jobs overall.

Durham students also contribute 14,000 hours to volunteering annually overall, according to the survey.

Photograph: Samuel M via Creative Commons

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