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Knowledge economy and life sciences 

Universities are the beating heart for encouraging dynamic industries like the life sciences to thrive

The value that universities can add to towns and cities – from knowledge exchange, training, expertise and research and development to facilities that support innovation and expansion – helps to accelerate local growth, create new jobs and attract inward investment.

A university supports communities, improves health, creates jobs, drives economic growth and results in positive benefits for people and places.

Campus-based incubators can nurture and support start-ups in getting off the ground and businesses can access tools to drive better efficiencies and processes, sparking greater productivity and profitability.

This in turn attracts entrepreneurs and skilled workers into the area and helps raise its profile as a great place to live.

Universities UK reports that in 2019–20 alone, UK universities were the catalyst for new businesses with a turnover of nearly £8 billion and employing 70,000 people.

University College Rotherham - mid front.jpg

A new university arrived in Rotherham in 2018 with the University College Rotherham

Universities and colleges can set the social, cultural and intellectual tone of cities and towns, making them more international, lively places.

In Bristol, the city has two big universities, the University of Bristol, and UWE Bristol, the University of the West of England. Both institutions work with local council and the private sector in what has been called a ‘triple helix’, a mutually beneficial partnership between academia, government and business.

The universities produce skilled graduates and provide professional expertise, research and innovation. These feed into the city's aerospace, finance and media industries, as well as the supporting social sector and other services. In return, government and private capital give them support and incentives to carry out useful research and attract bright students who may stay after graduation and become part of the local skilled labour force.

It estimates that by 2027, the country’s universities will have provided over £11.6 billion of support services to small enterprises, businesses and not-for-profits. The local economic and social impact value in this period will be over £2.5 billion.