Economic research carried out by BiGGAR Economics looked at planned spending by the 24 Russell Group Universities between 2012/13 and 2016/17. The amount they are building is on a similar scale to the amount spent on the 2012 Olympics or the government’s current railway investment programme.
The key findings of the report are that over a 25 year period capital investment by Russell Group universities is expected to generate gross value added (GVA) with a current value of £44.3bn for the UK economy. This includes £8.2bn of short-term impacts relating to construction and fit-out, £10.1bn longer-term operational benefits and £26.0bn of wider catalytic impacts stimulated by activities carried out in the new facilities.
These projects are expected to support more than 98,500 UK jobs. This will include around 37,800 temporary jobs during the five-year construction period, around 45,000 permanent operational jobs and almost 15,700 permanent jobs supported by the wider catalytic impact of the activity undertaken in the new facilities.
The investment ranges from new student accommodation, medical research facilities and science labs to new office space and facilities to help start-up businesses and universities work better together.
Russell Group universities together account for almost a quarter of all students studying in UK universities. The otgher three-quarters are also investing heavily in new buildings.
Russell Group director general Dr Wendy Piatt said: “Russell Group universities are engines of growth for the British economy. Not only do they lead the way in teaching and research – but they’re also a driving force behind the creation of new jobs, new opportunities for start-up companies and urban renewal in our cities.
“The government have recognised much of this contribution but we would urge them to step up big capital investment in our universities. We will keep investing on behalf of our students and academics but the rest of the world are snapping at our heels and spending money to match their ambition. We must do the same.”