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14 December, 2015 - 12:36 By Tony Quested

Essex Uni contributes £464m annually to East of England economy

Professor Anthony Forster

The University of Essex is helping to drive economic growth in the East of England and contributing £464 million a year to the regional economy according to a new report.

The Economic Impact Report shows the huge scope and impact of the University’s work. Now the University is looking to take this even further to deliver a step-change in the way it works with business and other organisations. This includes delivering more opportunities than ever before for businesses to connect with the university with building work on the next phase of Parkside Office Village starting and a £10m innovation centre at the heart of the Knowledge Gateway research and business park due to be completed by summer 2017.

The university directly employs 2,014 staff and creates a further 2,900 jobs in the East of England; students across the university’s three campuses spend an estimated £52.3m off-campus per year.

Business engagement at the university generates £21.7m on average per year. In 2013-14 this work included 14 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, 32 consultancy contracts, 109 research contracts and 80 facilities and equipment contracts.

The university’s total contribution to the UK economy will be £489.1m in 2014-15.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster (pictured) said: “This isa defining moment for us. This report shows the huge contribution the University of Essex already makes to the regional and national economy and we are absolutely committed to increasing our economic impact.

“We believe we have a vital role to play in creating jobs, promoting growth and driving productivity. We are already delivering award-winning spin-out companies and business collaborations. Now we want to take this even further by forging new partnerships, sharing our world-leading research and providing thought leadership.

“As part of this vision we are developing the Knowledge Gateway to be the location of choice in the eastern region for knowledge-based enterprises in science, technology and the creative sector. This will build on our global reputation for analytics and data science and our outstanding support for SMEs.”

The Economic Impact Report, by Dr Abhijit Sengupta from Essex Business School, reveals the university’s annual turnover across its three campuses will be £205m for 2014-15 and the university will contribute an extra £259m indirectly to the East of England economy through research, business collaboration and the cutting-edge courses delivered to close to 13,000 students. This delivers an overall economic impact of £464m.

In the coming year the university will invest in increasing this economic impact even further by making sure businesses plus the public and voluntary sector can access Essex research even more easily to improve productivity, support the creative sector and manage increasing pressures on public services.

So far the University has invested £12m in creating world-class infrastructure at the Knowledge Gateway site and spent £2.6m on creating the first phase of Parkside Office Village, supported by a South East Local Enterprise Partnership loan.

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