25 Oct 2022
A new report out this week by Universities UK reveals universities throughout Britain are certain they can play a greater role in boosting economic growth and are urging new PM Rishi Sunak to create the necessary conditions in order to achieve this. The ‘Our Universities: generating growth and opportunity’ report looks at ways universities can help to boost economic growth, such as expanding the Help to Grow scheme, setting up collaborative hubs for skills development, as well as the growth of University Enterprise Zones (UEZ).
The success of this scheme in cities including Liverpool, Bristol and Nottingham underscores how universities can help encourage positive relationships between themselves, businesses and communities. Establishing collaborative hubs focused on skills development allows them to generate opportunities for locals. In addition, UEZs and universities can play a crucial part in the effectiveness of Investment Zones, recently proposed by the government to foster growth.
It’s predicted that universities in Britain will help set up 21,500 new businesses and provide more than £11.6 billion of support to small businesses within the next five years. This will be achieved by offering training, advice and access to equipment and facilities to develop pioneering products and undertake specialist research projects. With one of the government’s main priorities being to boost economic growth, the findings in this latest report suggest various ways of doing this, and how universities can play a key role. According to Professor Steve West CBE, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol: “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.” He added: “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.”