University worth £1.1 billion a year to UK economy, report finds

By Anna Tatham

An independent report into Durham University’s economic contribution has revealed that it adds around £1.1 billion a year to the UK economy.

The findings, instigated by BiGGAR Economics, showed that the University generated £1.1 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) for the UK economy in 2014-15, including £633.6m in the North East alone.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Corbridge said: “All these sorts of things show the university is doing more for the North-East than we even thought. “(Durham University) is proud of the positive contribution we make to the UK, the North East, Durham City, and Stockton.”

The University also generates nearly £8 million through tourism, with 231,270 people visiting University-owned sites including  the Palace Green Library, the Oriental Museum, and Botanic Garden in 2014-15.

Students collectively spend 14,000 hours a year volunteering at local schools and clubs.

Professor Corbridge added: “As the North East restructures and moves away from coal and steel and ship building, universities are becoming one of the major business centres in the region.”

He also noted that “a lot of jobs in the future in the North East will come from the relationships between the university and other industries.”

The report was presented at the ‘Durham University — So Much More’ event held on Wednesday 9th November at Durham University Business School.

The event convened leaders from the political, business, culture, and community spheres to celebrate their achievements and discuss possibilities of collaborating in future.

James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce and who attended the event, described Durham University as “an anchor for established business activity in the North East, and a magnet for attracting new investment.”

He also highlighted that “not only does [the University] employ nearly 8,800 people and educate 17,000 students every year, but it supports the wider economy — spending nearly £100million a year on goods and services and supporting 1,900 jobs in the supply chain.”

The BiGGAR Economics report coincides with the University’s development of a new ten-year University Strategy 2017-2027, with the “goal of delivering world-leading and world-changing research across all academic departments and institutes; education that is challenging, difficult, enabling, research-led and transformative; and a wider student experience to rival the best in the world.”

Other key findings from the report include that for every £1 Durham University receives in funding, it generates £3.21 for the UK economy.

Moreover, Research and Knowledge Transfer activities at the University generated £139.3 million GVA for the UK economy, supporting 2,700 jobs, which includes collaborations with Procter and Gamble, IBM, and Dong Energy.

Professor Corbridge praised the turnout at the So Much More event, stating that he “look[s] forward to the many new initiatives that I am sure will emerge from the discussions.”

 Photograph: Durham University 

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