University of Hull adds £370m to local economy, report finds

University of Hull campus.
University of Hull campus. Photo: Jerome Whittingham, @photomoments.

As an anchor institution in the Humber region the University of Hull plays a vital role in its economic growth and prosperity, a new report finds.

The University of Hull directly employs over 2,000 people, and through its supply chain and business networks, supports an additional 4,100 jobs across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Contributing £370m to the local economy – a figure which rises to £913m across the UK – a new study commissioned by the University and College Union has highlighted the importance of Higher Education institutes to their area.

Susan Lea
Prof. Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull.

Prof. Susan Lea, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hull, said: “Having a strong and successful University is absolutely vital to the prosperity of a region. These figures, released by UCU, only serve to reinforce that message.

“The University of Hull is critical to the economic future of the Humber region and beyond. Whether through providing a highly-skilled workforce of the future, or helping local businesses thrive and grow, we know the University has a hugely significant role to play.

“Throughout recent months, which have brought with them significant challenge, the University has remained rooted to its core principles – providing a high-quality learning environment, delivering impactful research and innovation, supporting businesses and jobs across the region, and spearheading economic growth and prosperity.”

When focusing the spotlight on employment, the University of Hull generates almost 8,000 UK jobs.

More than 6,000 jobs in Hull and across the Humber Estuary rely on the University, with the institution committed to nurturing a highly-skilled workforce of the future.

The University’s impact, however, spans far beyond employment.

As a research centre of excellence, with world-class expertise in areas including flooding, renewable energy, environment and slavery, the University continues to drive innovation and tackle some of society’s greatest challenges.

From its Energy & Environment Institute – now comprising of almost 100 researchers working together to tackle the threats posed by climate change – to the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, research is at the heart of everything the University does.

Over at Aura, a University-led initiative, work has been completed on a new £12m Innovation Centre in East Yorkshire. 

The Aura Innovation Centre (AIC) will work with SMEs and provide space for businesses to develop new renewable energy technologies, create a strong supply chain, and spearhead the Humber’s low-carbon ambitions. 

The Aura Centre for Doctoral Training also offers overs 72 PhD scholarships in offshore wind energy and the environment. 

The University has also joined forces with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) to offer an MSc Master’s Degree Apprenticeship in Offshore Wind Energy Engineering through the University’s Department of Engineering.

A new MSc Flood Risk Management course is also launching next month for the first time. The programme will focus on finding innovative new ways to increase flood resilience and tackle one of the greatest threats facing the planet.

The new UCU study examined goods and services produced locally through universities’ supply chains, and the money spent by employees and students. 

The figures show how universities are often among the single largest contributors to the local economy.

Jo Grady UCU General Secretary, said: ‘This review shows that universities are a very significant factor in many local economies. 

“Allowing universities to fail because of the health crisis will mean the economies of many of our towns and cities will also fail. 

“Universities are vital in providing educational opportunities, but they also have a huge impact in creating local jobs, supporting local businesses, and attracting business to the area.”

Supporting businesses to grow and thrive is also at the heart of the University’s ambition.

The University’s SparkFund, an innovation support and grants programme launched by the University in 2017, has so far helped create over 130 new jobs, bring 63 new products to the market, and helped firms cut a total of 200 tonnes of carbon emissions.

The programme was originally due to end in March 2020, but due to its enormous success, has been extended until the end of 2021.

The University has also played a vital role in the region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A team of engineers at the University – backed by a crowdfunding campaign which raised over £80,000 – produced tens of thousands of lifesaving face shields for NHS and frontline workers.

The University also led the re-training of NHS staff returning to help amid the pandemic, and earlier this year, student nurses, midwives, operating department practitioners and paramedics volunteered to extend their clinical placements, to take up temporary, paid roles to boost the NHS frontline.

On top of this, a team of University and Hull York Medical School researchers provided a rapid response to the pandemic, by initiating two international clinical trials for COVID-19.

Throughout the challenges posed by the pandemic, the University remains focused on supporting the region’s NHS and providing a high-quality staff force for the future.

The University recently announced it had been successful in a bid for additional healthcare places, in subjects including Adult Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedic Science, as it works to tackle a shortage of staff who save lives on the front line of the NHS.

[Phil Winter – University of Hull]