Universities in the UK contributed £3.4 billion to the economy in 2011-12 through services to business, including commercialisation of new knowledge, delivery of professional training and consultancy, according to the latest figures published by HEFCE.
The twelfth annual ‘Higher Education – Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI)‘ survey shows that the total value of the services which UK universities provide to the economy and society increased by 4 per cent to £3.4 billion in 2011-12, from £3.3 billion in 2010-11.
Particularly significant is the 11 per cent increase in activity benefitting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which gain a competitive advantage from their association with universities – for example through access to specialist knowledge (via consultancy) or facilities (such as rapid prototyping or computer-aided design).
Engagement with large businesses increased by around 5 per cent overall, including a notable rise (6 per cent) in contract research income, from £343 million in 2010-11 to £365 million in 2011-12. This not only shows UK higher education institutions responding to the needs of business at home, but investment from overseas seeking to take advantage of the UK’s world-class research.
Sir Alan Langlands, HEFCE Chief Executive, said:
‘This report shows that our universities continue to have a compelling offer during this period of economic uncertainty. The increases in activity with SMEs are particularly important to ensure we make the best of our world-class research and innovation but it’s also clear that universities offer value right across the economy. Indeed, our universities are demonstrating greater efficiency than ever in strategically crafting their infrastructure to create the most value for the UK.’
For more information and the full report, visit the HEFCE website.