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The University of Reading Contributes Approximately £1 billion A Year To The UK Economy

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The University of Reading contributes approximately £1 billion a year to the UK economy, new research shows.

The Economic Impact of the University of Reading report, commissioned by the University and compiled by experts Hatch Urban Solutions, highlights the contribution of the University of Reading to the local, regional and national economy.

Based on data from the 2021/22 academic year, the University and the tenants within its commercial spaces contribute £1 billion to the UK economy in Gross Value Added (GVA).[1] Around half of that is retained within the Reading area, equivalent to 2.9% of the economy of Reading.

The University’s contribution to the UK economy is 24% larger than when measured in a previous study, which captured the impacts for the 2017/18 academic year. The increase is mostly driven by a larger student population, and the associated expenditure effects. The study shows that University of Reading students spend an estimated £260 million off campus each year.

An increase in the University’s commercial space also added to the overall economic contribution. In addition to businesses already based across the University estate, the University-owned Thames Valley Science Park has recently expanded and is now home to Shinfield Studios, a new film and TV production hub, and the British Museum’s new research and storage facility, among other new tenants.

On employment, the report estimates that the University, including its commercial operations, supports a total of 12,300 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs nationally. To put this into context:

  • around one in every 26 jobs in the whole of Reading and Wokingham can be traced back to the University.
  • for every direct job at the University, a further 2.8 jobs are supported across the UK economy.

Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “The University of Reading is an important anchor institution, making a significant economic, social and cultural contribution within Reading and the Thames Valley, as well as all the communities globally that we serve.

“This report demonstrates that we have reached our strategic target of contributing £1 billion to the UK economy, with much of that staying within the local area and providing jobs here, through our own activity and in supporting commercial operations of others.

“Growing our engagement with the world beyond our campuses is a core part of our mission, and we will continue to play our role in supporting communities economically, socially and culturally.”

Beyond these quantitative economic measures, the report also found that the University supports the local, regional, national and global economies by:

  • supplying highly skilled graduates: around 86% of graduates go into highly skilled occupations shortly after graduating; 36% of graduates go into the education and health sectors, plugging vital skills gaps.
  • continuing professional development: the University is a major supplier and supporter of continuing professional development (CPD) for both business and key public services, including schools and healthcare.
  • driving business productivity: through knowledge exchange programmes and by supporting businesses located on the University’s campuses, including Thames Valley Science Park.
  • Supporting research enterprise: in 2021/22, the University of Reading attracted £38 million in research income, estimated to generate another £270 million in private sector income.

The Economic Impact of the University of Reading report is available online.