Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Universities suggest ways of sparking growth across the UK [October 2022]

The press release issued by Universities UK on 26 October 2022.

UK government must press ahead with plans to invest £20 billion every year in Research and Development by 2024 – 2025.

Establish University Enterprise Zones (UEZs) in every university.

Bring together local communities by creating more enterprise and opportunity hubs.

Make us world leaders for university-employer partnerships.

Place universities at the heart of policy making in every part of the UK.

Universities across the UK are today insisting they can play a bigger role in generating economic growth and are calling on the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, and his government, to create the conditions to accomplish this in a new report.

The ‘Our universities: generating growth and opportunity’ report, published today by Universities UK, explores ways in which universities can contribute to economic growth, and makes several recommendations such as establishing collaborative hubs for skills development, building on the Help to Grow scheme, and the rapid expansion of University Enterprise Zones (UEZ).

The success of UEZ projects in Nottingham, Liverpool, Hertfordshire, Bradford and Bristol highlights how universities can help to foster positive and impactful partnerships between themselves, local communities and employers. Through building collaborative hubs for skills development, universities can reach out to left behind areas and create opportunities for local people. UEZs and universities can play a key role in supporting the success of Investment Zones, one of the new proposals recently put forward by the government to help encourage growth.

Investment in research is crucial to developing the innovative products and services that create new businesses and good jobs, in turn leading to economic growth.

It is currently estimated that over the next five years UK universities will help form 21,500 new businesses and provide over £11.6 billion of support and services to small enterprises, businesses and not-for-profits. This includes specialist advice, training, access to the latest facilities and equipment to develop innovative products and conducting bespoke research projects.

A priority for the UK government is to stimulate economic growth. The recommendations made in the new report offer a range of ideas for achieving this goal and highlight how well-placed and crucial universities are to supporting growth.

Professor Steve West CBE, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, said:

Given the gloomy economic outlook and the difficult global situation, we need ambitious and bold action to fire up growth. It is more important than ever that universities can support businesses and charities through their research, innovation, and enterprise, to create a healthier, wealthier, and fairer Britain.”

“Research shows that investment in the higher education sector creates more jobs per pound than equivalent investment in construction, the manufacture of computers and electronics or the public administration sector.”

Professor Steve West CBE, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol

Skilled Education leads the online aspect of the government’s Help to Grow scheme.

Rajay Naik, the chief executive of Skilled Education, said:

“The Government’s decision to engage over 50 UK universities to deliver the face-to-face learning for Help to Grow underscores the central role of British universities in upskilling the nation. We have an immense skills gap and higher education working in partnership with government and the private sector is a central part of how we must address it.”

Rajay Naik

Chief executive of Skilled Education