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East Midlands universities: helping to drive a successful economy

The enormous impact on the region by the ten Higher Education institutions in the East Midlands has been highlighted in a report from the East Midlands Universities Association, which is headed by University of Leicester Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess:


The East Midlands benefits from ten diverse Universities and Higher Education Colleges based in the region, all of which are successful in their different ways:

Collectively these institutions make a considerable direct impact (through expenditure) on the region’s economy equal to £1.15 billion. The dynamic impact of universities (made through contributions to regional competitiveness, and lifelong learning and employability) are estimated as equal to the direct impact. The overall contribution to the region’s GDP is therefore approximately 4%, with the creation of 60,000 full time jobs.

Large student population

There are 174,700 students in the East Midlands across the ten Higher Education Institutions: 

· The East Midlands has more students in universities in relation to its population than does England. It is a substantial net exporter of HE services to the rest of the UK, and the rest of the world.

· Full time students spent £607 million in the region in 2001/2002.

Bringing money to the East Midlands

The direct impact of the Universities to the regions GDP is 2% or £1.15 billion:

· The income of the region’s universities is £9.5 billion

· Universities in the East Midlands spent £469 million on staff wages in 2001/02.
· Expenditure by staff, students and suppliers generates £454 million in the region.

· Expenditure by universities on operations, buildings and equipment generated £227.5 million annually.

Creating jobs

Approximately 60,000 full time jobs are created in the region by universities:
· 30,500 full-time jobs (just under 2% of the regions total) are jobs in universities, as university suppliers and in other services required by HE staff and students.

· An estimated 29,500 jobs are created through universities contribution to the regional competitiveness (* in table right), and lifelong learning and employability (** in table right).
* Increasing the competitiveness of the East Midlands

Universities play a central role in supporting competitiveness in innovation, which is the mainspring of economic growth. In 2000, the East Midlands Universities spent £204 million on Research and Development. This accounts for the majority of public sector R & D in the region.

** Skills for life
Universities are the primary source of Higher Education qualifications. This skills acquisition is known to yield economic benefits both to individuals and employers. Retaining graduates in the region will assist in raising the level of regional competitiveness and in turn result in an improved regional economy.

A healthier, safer, more attractive region

As well as helping to drive the regional economy, Universities make the East Midlands a better place to live:

· Culture: Universities provide sports facilities, music events and other related activities and facilities. These facilities are available to the general public and promote cultural activity amongst groups that have not traditionally enjoyed good access to such activities.

· Social well-being and health: The universities in the region are centrally involved in the training and development of the country’s doctors and nurses, and have research centres of international repute focusing on the causes alleviation and prevention of ill health. 

· Universities play a vital role in taking forward the sustainable development agenda. Not only do they help to train the specialists who play a key role in setting standards, but they are also the focus of research into a wide range of environmental issues such as air and water pollution, and waste management. 

· Impact on urban and rural regeneration: Universities are often at the heart of major regeneration projects in their areas. Working with partners such as local authorities they undertake a variety of activities such as estate enhancement and campus renewal. Examples of major regeneration projects with university leadership include The Leicester City Challenge, the National Space Science Centre, University of Lincoln Campus, and Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus.

Achieving a Top 20 region

Emda’s Regional Economic Strategy aims to increase the GDP growth rate by 0.2% pa in order to make the East Midlands one of the top 20 Regions in the European Union. An incremental expansion in East Midlands Universities by 2010 would result in a 0.4% rise in GDP, which equates to almost a third of the GDP growth rate required to reach this target.

This flier summarises key messages from the EMUA report The Impact of the East Midlands Higher Education Institutions on the Regional Economy. The full report can be downloaded from the EMUA website Reading room

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Last updated: 13 October 2003 12:00
Maintained by: Barbara Whiteman

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