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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.

  • Impact of universities
  • English devolution
  • Knowledge exchange
  • European Structural and Investment Funds
  • Skills
  • Degree apprenticeships
  • Higher Education Employer Trailblazer

Impact of universities​

We research and promote the economic impact of universities across the UK and the value they add nationally, regionally and locally. In 2017 our economic impact report demonstrated that universities supported almost one million jobs, and contributed £21.5 billion to UK gross domestic product in 2014-15 alone.

English devolution

Universities have a central role to play in the ongoing devolution of funding and services to local areas. As providers of education and skills, significant economic actors, large employers, key partners of public services and leaders in local growth initiatives, universities have the people and knowledge to help drive local growth, and have much to offer in strengthening and delivering devolution settlements.

Knowledge exchange​

University collaboration with businesses and the wider community (activity known as 'knowledge exchange') plays an important part in improving the UK's economic growth and productivity, and in the success of our public services.

We work with Research England, higher education sector experts and representatives of the business community to increase understanding of the role universities play to encourage exchange of best practice between academia and business.

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 produce regular ESIF webcasts offering analysis and guidance; maintain a Universities and Local Growth LinkedIn group, and an email list to which we circulate ESIF Growth Programme Board papers.

Skills​

We support the development of strong links between universities and employers to boost the employability of graduates and recognition of the value of graduate skills. 

Degree apprenticeships​

We are working to support the development of the new degree apprenticeships in England and the development of wider apprenticeships policy across the UK.

Higher Education Employer Trailblazer

We are working with Buckinghamshire New University and The University of Sheffield who are leading the Higher Education Employer Trailblazer consortium responding to the introduction of apprenticeship standards.

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.

Report page

The economic benefits of a degree

Report
17 February 2007
Universities increase skills, support innovation, and attract investment and talent.

Report page

The economic impact of UK higher education institutions (2007)

Report
7 February 2007
Universities increase skills, support innovation, and attract investment and talent.

Events


Degree apprenticeships in 2019

26 Feb 2019, 09:30 - 16:30

Blog

Graduates in demand, but skills must match up with jobs

7 November 2018
With regular debates about the value of degrees and whether graduates have the right skills, Greg Wade considers the evidence from employers on graduate recruitment and their actual skills needs.

Challenging the higher Vs further education false divide

8 October 2018
UUK's Director of Policy looks at the need to go beyond the outdated and simplistic distinction between FE and HE. A new piece of research commissioned by Universities UK reinforces this message.

News

MadeAtUni

MadeAtUni: universities top 100 discoveries

6 December 2018
From technology that turns urine into electricity to care robots for the elderly, the MadeAtUni campaign celebrates the transformational impact of UK universities

Education system must change to support flexible study

26 October 2018
Shorter and more flexible courses could encourage more people of all ages to improve their skills and life chances at university. This is one of the main findings of a project set up by Universities UK (UUK) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

The team

James Ransom

James Ransom

Policy Researcher
Universities UK

Julie Tam

Julie Tam

Deputy Director of Policy
Universities UK

Greg Wade

Greg Wade

Policy Manager
Universities UK