Students Staff

07 December 2015

University of Essex contributes nearly half a billion pounds to the Eastern region

Professor Anthonyu Forster with the new report

The University of Essex is driving economic growth in the East and contributing £464m each year to the regional economy according to a new report released today (Monday 7 December).

Commissioned by the University as an independent report, the Economic Impact Report shows the huge scope and impact of the University’s work. Now the University is looking to take this even further to deliver a step-change in the way it works with business and other organisations.

This includes delivering more opportunities than ever before for businesses to connect with the University with building work on the next phase of Parkside Office Village starting and a £10m Innovation Centre at the heart of the Knowledge Gateway research and business park due to be completed by summer 2017.

Other highlights from the Economic Impact Report include:

  • The University directly employs 2,014 staff and creates a further 2,900 jobs in the East of England
  • Students across the University’s three campuses spend an estimated £52.3m off-campus per year
  • Business engagement at the University of Essex generates £21.7m on average per year. In 2013-14 this work included 14 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, 32 consultancy contracts, 109 research contracts and 80 facilities and equipment contracts
  • The University of Essex’s total contribution to the UK economy will be £489.1m in 2014-15

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Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “This is a defining moment for us. This report shows the huge contribution the University of Essex already makes to the regional and national economy and we are absolutely committed to increasing our economic impact.

“We believe we have a vital role to play in creating jobs, promoting growth and driving productivity. We are already delivering award-winning spin-out companies and business collaborations. Now we want to take this even further by forging new partnerships, sharing our world-leading research and providing thought leadership.

“As part of this vision we are developing the Knowledge Gateway to be the location of choice in the eastern region for knowledge-based enterprises in science, technology and the creative sector. This will build on our global reputation for analytics and data science and our outstanding support for SMEs.”

The Economic Impact Report, by Dr Abhijit Sengupta from Essex Business School, reveals the University’s annual turnover across its three campuses will be £205m for 2014-15 and the University will contribute an extra £259m indirectly to the East of England economy through research, business collaboration and the cutting-edge courses delivered to close to 13,000 students. This delivers an overall economic impact of £464m.

In the coming year the University will invest in increasing this economic impact even further by making sure businesses plus the public and voluntary sector can access Essex research even more easily to improve productivity, support the creative sector and manage increasing pressures on public services.

So far the University has invested £12m in creating world-class infrastructure at the Knowledge Gateway site and spent £2.6m on creating the first phase of Parkside Office Village, supported by a South East Local Enterprise Partnership loan.

Professor Forster said: “Demand from businesses who want to benefit from co-location with us, alongside direct access to Essex Business School, our expertise and facilities, is very high. We now have 18 small businesses based on the Knowledge Gateway and more are about to move in.”

Leader of Essex County Council Cllr David Finch welcomed the report and highlighted the value of the University’s contribution.

He said: “The University of Essex is a recognised asset to the county of Essex. It indirectly supports many jobs and businesses across the county, and attracts thousands of staff and students nationally and internationally, who make a significant and valued contribution to the local economies of Colchester, Southend and Loughton.”

Councillor Bill Frame, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Planning at Colchester Borough Council, said: "The University already contributes significantly to our local economy but the Knowledge Gateway development presents further opportunities. Businesses who locate on the Knowledge Gateway will benefit from innovation, networking, academic expertise and a leading business school right on their doorstep: key things that can help businesses grow.”

Cllr Mary Betson, Executive Councillor for Enterprise, Tourism, and Economic Development at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: "We know what a great contribution the Southend Campus makes to the economy, job prospects and the community and we are pleased that this report highlights that officially. The University of Essex is a key partner of ours and we look forward to working with the University in the future to educate our young people, support local people and be a leader in the local community.”

Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive, Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “The University of Essex is committed to supporting businesses across Essex, offering expert support for entrepreneurial SMEs, an excellent business school, knowledge transfer schemes and great opportunities for networking. The Knowledge Gateway is an exciting new development that is already attracting small businesses wanting to benefit from working near and with the University.”

You can see more about the report on the University’s business webpages.

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