Survey shows how Russell Group universities boost UK economy

13 July 2009

Responding to the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) ‘Higher Education - Business and Community Interaction Survey’ for 2007-08, Dr Wendy Piatt, the Director-General of The Russell Group, which represents the United Kingdom’s twenty leading research intensive universities, said:

“This survey shows how Russell Group universities continue to make a huge contribution to the UK economy and society, leading the way in engaging with business, public sector organisations and the public. During 2007/08 The Russell Group earned over £880m from research in partnership with business. This represents an increase of over 10% from the previous year; almost twice the increase seen by the higher education sector as a whole.

“Now more than ever, our world-leading institutions have a crucial role to play in helping the UK survive the economic downturn and stimulate a recovery; this survey highlights the huge contribution they continue to make to the UK’s economic success. Russell Group universities, supported by dedicated ‘third stream’ funding from the Government, lead the UK in engaging closely with business, enhancing skills and competitiveness, and generating major new products and world-beating spin-out companies.

“World-class universities, with their heavy concentration of brainpower, established excellence, and the sheer numbers and facilities to achieve global impact, are best placed to attract investment by leading global companies. We need this investment to flow to the United Kingdom and have to ensure that Britain retains world-class universities who are international partners of choice.” 

Notes to editors

  1. The 2007-08 Higher Education Business-Community Interaction Survey is undertaken by HEFCE  but covers all UK universities. The results of the survey are available from
  2. Representing just 12% of institutions included in the survey, in 2007/08 Russell Group universities earned 58% of the sector’s total collaborative and contract research income.

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