November 2022

University boosts UK economy by £358m 

By Melanie Hall

Share post:

Read time: approx 1 mins

University College Birmingham contributes £358 million to the UK economy, according to new research, with around two thirds of the identifiable impact benefitting the West Midlands region.  

Analysts at London Economics estimated that £88 million of the institution’s economic impact that can be directly linked to a region occurs in the West Midlands. 

Crucially, however, the independent research also found that the University’s £221 million of UK-wide impact from teaching and learning activities is also heavily concentrated in the West Midlands region.

And that for every £1 spent, the University generates £6.70 of economic impact across the UK – an extremely high benefit to cost impact when compared across the sector. 

"University College Birmingham punches significantly above its weight – of that, there can be no doubt"

Joscelyn Miller Senior Economic Consultant at London Economics

Professor Michael Harkin, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at University College Birmingham, said: “We impact far beyond the success of our students, contributing £358 million to the UK economy, with around 65 per cent of identifiable regional impact in the West Midlands, reflecting our integration into the local community and the fact that most students remain in the region post-graduation. 

"Universities must continue to play their part in the infrastructure that maintains the West Midlands’ status as the economic engine of the UK. 

“We will pro-actively work with the West Midlands Combined Authority, the City of Birmingham, local businesses, community stakeholders and other regional partners, and continue to strengthen our partnership with the University of Warwick, ensuring we continue to grow our contribution to our region." 

Analysis in the report estimates that £48 million of identifiable regional impact is accrued across other regions and sectors of the UK economy from the University’s activities, which includes impact from international students, estimated at £14 million. 

In terms of jobs, the University supports 1,275 jobs across the UK, with 925 jobs in the West Midlands. 

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We all know that our world-class universities are a critical part of the West Midlands’ economy, and so it’s brilliant to see this new data for University College Birmingham confirming that.

“The University is a key educator and employer, and I look forward to continuing to work with them as they grow their curriculum and widen their opportunities to support our regional Plan for Growth.”

In pictures: Our state-of-the-art facilities

Raising aspirations 

With a portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, apprenticeships from Level 2-7, vocational college courses and, from 2024, a wide range of A-levels, University College Birmingham is a powerful driver of inclusive economic growth and social value in the West Midlands. 

A key part of this is enabling access to education in some of the region’s most deprived communities and inspiring young people to raise their aspirations.  

This year, the University was recognised by students as the University of the Year at the 2022 Whatuni Student Choice awards, reflecting the vital role it plays in shaping students’ and the region’s future.  

Bolstered by its partnership with the University of Warwick, University College Birmingham works with over 1,000 employers – regionally and globally – to provide student placements, with employer boards to influence the curriculum and ensure graduates are equipped with the skills industry needs.  

To support the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Plan for Growth, the University has expanded its course offering to include engineering and sustainable construction and nursing, complete with new multi-million-pound facilities. In the past decade, it has invested £160 million into its teaching and learning facilities. 

Launched with the University of Warwick, the University also has a new Creative Futures Incubator, supporting the next generation in launching businesses that put back into the regional economy, and spearheads a regional hospitality taskforce

University College Birmingham was also the headquarters of Team Scotland at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, bringing economic benefit to the city. 

Joscelyn Miller, Senior Economic Consultant at London Economics and lead author of the report, said: “The economic impact of University College Birmingham on the UK economy is indisputable.

“Standing at a substantial £358 million in 2020-21, much of the economic impact occurs in Birmingham and the West Midlands. University College Birmingham punches significantly above its weight – of that, there can be no doubt.” 

She added: “Importantly, the University has a real and tangible impact on the lives and livelihoods of local residents.

“After the pandemic, the University, its staff and its students will be one of the key drivers of the economic recovery in the Birmingham region.” 

Find out more and read the full report

Back to top