Thousands of jobs and hundreds of new businesses expected for North East as universities team up with employers and local leaders to drive post-pandemic recovery
New research published today by Universities UK (UUK), compiled by the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE), predicts that over the next five years universities in the North East will help bring sweeping economic benefits to the region.
This includes research projects with partners worth almost £1billion, helping form 725 new businesses and charities, and training more than 10,000 nurders, 4,000 medics and 8,000 teachers.
The research is published as UUK, which represents Britain’s universities, launches its #GettingResults - a campaign to put universities at the heart of the economic and social recovery.
The campaign sees higher education leaders pledge renewed commitment from universities to do even more to reach out to new partners locally and nationally and deliver even greater impact than currently estimated.
Sir David Bell KCB DL, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Sunderland who is supporting the campaign, said: "At the University of the Sunderland, we have always taken pride in the many ways in which we contribute to social and economic development and growth, both in the city and beyond.
"As we begin to rebuild from the pandemic, the role of universities is more relevant than ever in supporting individuals and businesses. We offer courses in a wide range of applied areas such as medicine, nursing, engineering, computer science, business and law – to name but a few. Through our work, we create a pipeline of highly skilled graduates, all of whom will contribute the region’s future success.
"Data released recently in Research England’s first Knowledge Exchange Framework revealed Sunderland to be the top university in the north-east of England for graduate start-ups, with 93% describing the support they received as ‘high quality’.
"Sunderland was also in the top 10% of universities nationally for contributing to local growth and regeneration, through projects like the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) initiative, which has just been evaluated as contributing a gross £43 million to the regional economy.
"All-in-all, the University of Sunderland is in the business of creating ‘useful knowledge’, the bedrock of a thriving city and region."
The work is being overseen by a newly created Universities UK Economic and Social Taskforce,
Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, said: “Universities are at the heart of the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. Over the past year we have seen first-hand what can be achieved through strong collaboration between our universities and their partners.
“Now universities want to do more, to help the UK to bounce back stronger, with opportunity and prosperity spread across the country. We are looking to form strategic partnerships with employers and sector bodies throughout the UK to strengthen collaboration between universities and their partners.”
He added: “A great example of this is the Newcastle Helix, a £350million development with 2,600 jobs in 65 different organisations on the site. This true coming together of academia, business, public sector and more has been innovating and collaborating to support the global fight against COVID-19.
"Not only to combat the immediate impacts but preparing cities and regions for our post-Covid world.”
UUK said throughout the pandemic, businesses, and a wide range of sectors not just within the North East region, but across the UK, have suffered greatly, leading to economic and social damage.
The organisation said contributions made by universities and their students through knowledge and skills exchange, partnerships and support for local employers have huge potential to help businesses, industries, and other partners to continue, recover and thrive following the pandemic.