UNIVERSITIES in the Solent area contribute more than £4.2bn to the UK economy every year, it has been revealed.
Statistics from BiGGAR Economics also showed that the University of Portsmouth, University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University provide 52,300 jobs and bring in £2.1bn to the Solent region.
The findings, that were shared at a Solent growth forum last night, considered staff and student spending, income for supply chain companies, business services and the commercialisation of university research. It stated that for every £1 generated by the universities’ work, £6 of UK economic activity was sustained.
Stuart Baker, head of local growth at the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, said: ‘This report underscores the importance of our universities and the role they play in our local economy and in the wider UK economy.
‘There are some really impressive figures here. I think part of this is due to the particular expertise of our universities.’
Vice chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, Professor Graham Galbraith, said: ‘Universities must demonstrate why we matter to our regions – and this is precisely what this study does.
‘Not only are we engaged in world-leading research and in producing over 12,000 highly-skilled graduates each year – nearly one in two of which are STEM graduates – we also inject vital economic benefits to our region.
‘The universities are vital contributors to the Solent and I am delighted that we play such a positive role.’
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, the president and vice-chancellor at the University of Southampton, added: ‘This is evidence of the major contribution our institutions make not just amongst our students and staff but across our wider communities and region where we play a vital role in stimulating economic stability and growth.
‘The economic, social and cultural impact of the Solent area universities should not be underestimated.
The report also highlighted the importance of the universities’ research into engineering, biomedicine, aerospace, defence, marine, maritime and advanced manufacturing, describing it as ‘world-leading’.