The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) estimates that last year universities
contributed £3.3 billion (€ 4.2 billion) to the British economy
through "commercialisation of new knowledge, delivery of
professional training, consultancy and services". This represents
an increase by 7% over 2009-2010.
In its most recent report, HEFCE argues that universities have
significantly boosted knowledge exchange in the UK. David Willets,
Universities and Science Minister, comments on these findings and
emphasizes the "important role [of higher education] in creating a
more entrepreneurial society".
Universities in the UK contributed £3.3 billion to the economy
in 2010-11 through services to business, including
commercialisation of new knowledge, delivery of professional
training, consultancy and services.
These comprise part of a much wider economic impact.
Analysis by HEFCE of the eleventh annual Higher Education -
Business and Community Interaction survey shows that the total
value of the services which UK universities provide to the economy
and society increased by 7 per cent in 2010-11, from £3.1 billion
in 2009-10 to £3.3 billion.
Despite wider economic uncertainty, spending on university
services by large business increased by 7 per cent, from £587
million in 2009-10 to £629 million in 2010-11. Universities are
stimulating economic growth and contributing to public services and
The report, published today, finds encouraging signs of the
rising value of UK knowledge exchange . This is illustrated by
increases in income to universities from facilities and equipment -
such as wind tunnels or digital media suites - where income grew by
12 per cent over the previous year, to £129 million in 2010-11.
1,262 spin-off companies
- In 2010-11 268 new businesses were set up based on the
world-class research carried out by UK universities, bringing the
total number of active spin-off companies to 1,262. These companies
employed around 18,000 people and turned over nearly £2.1 billion
during the year.
- UK universities formed one new company per £24 million of
research funding during 2010-11. This far exceeds the record of US
universities (one new company per £56 million).
- Graduates established over 2,800 new enterprises to capitalise
on the knowledge and experience gained while studying. Universities
support these enterprises by embedding enterprise in degree
courses, and also by providing advice and facilities for graduates
to set up and grow their businesses, and by putting them in touch
with investors looking for opportunities.
- The direct application of knowledge to solving problems in the
public and private sectors also grew, with collaborative research
increasing by 16 per cent and contact research by 7 per cent.
David Willetts Minister for Universities and Science
"Universities and industry working together are making a
substantial contribution to the UK's economic growth. The latest
analysis shows that external income to the higher education sector
from business and other users has continued to increase, despite
the challenging economic environment, to over £3.3 billion."
"Today's increase in the number of new start-up companies by
staff and recent graduates of higher education institutions also
highlights the important role that universities have in creating a
more entrepreneurial society."