Staff Services Student Enterprise

Maximising economic and social impact

New report finds the University of Edinburgh generates £7.52 billion per year for the UK economy
22 Jun 2023

A new economic and social impact report has found that the University of Edinburgh generates £7.52 billion per year for the UK economy.

The independent financial study assessed the impact the University has on local, regional and national communities.

The study found that every £1 spent by the University produced £6.90 in economic benefit across the UK, a 34 per cent increase in impact since 2015-16.

The University - Scotland’s largest - also supports more than 32,760 jobs across the UK.

From understanding volcanic eruptions to investigating the influence of our genes on disease, 9,200 academics have generated £3.2 billion from their research and knowledge exchange activities.

And researchers working with businesses and the public sector to address global challenges in our focus areas of climate, data and health create a further £350m of innovation impact annually.

Dr George Baxter (pictured above), CEO of Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, said:

Impact drives everything we do here at Edinburgh Innovations - supporting our students, staff and our partners to find solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.
Our innovation contributes £350 million annually to the UK economy, but the real impact is improving patient care, digital services and sustainable energy. And we maximise that impact; with every £1 we receive we generate £6.90 for the UK economy each year.
These figures tell us that our research and knowledge exchange work contributes to a better world economically and socially, at home and far beyond.”

Picture: Xiaoyan Ma of startup Danu Robotics

The report also cites entrepreneurship as a major contribution, with the University’s startup and spinout companies generating £162 million a year.

Dr John Lonsdale, Head of Enterprise at Edinburgh Innovations, said:

Our staff and student enterprise teams at EI have supported our entrepreneurs in creating £162 million for our economy and 1830 jobs.
Spinouts and startups like Sunamp and Danu Robotics begin with a brilliant idea, and it’s our rewarding role to help those ideas out of the University and into the world, where they can become energy storage or recycling solutions, in these two excellent examples. We are proud to be making our ideas work for a better world.”

Led by policy and economics consultancy London Economics, the report reviewed the University’s impact from a diverse range of activity including research, entrepreneurship, teaching and educational exports in the 2021-22 academic year.

In terms of sector, the University’s activities resulted in particularly large impacts within the government, health, and education sector (£1,299 million, 34%), the distribution, transport, hotel, and restaurant sector (£656 million, 17%), the production sector (£552 million, 14%), and the property sector (£427 million, 11%).

Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, Principal of University of Edinburgh, said:

We wouldn’t be where we are without our people. We value the contributions of every individual regardless of whether they are students, staff, alumni or the many partners we work with.
As a world-leading centre of academic excellence, we aim to make a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK and the world. This study strongly indicates the hugely important economic role that the University of Edinburgh plays within Scotland and beyond.
We have more than 400 years of excellence behind us, but we’re not done yet. Working together, we can make the next 400 years even better.”
Making ideas work for a better world

Maximising Impact

By unlocking innovation and driving it forward, we maximise the University’s economic and social impact.
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