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Universities the engine room of local economies

Professor John Craven

Professor John Craven

The extent to which having a university in a region helps empower and drive its local economy has been celebrated in a new publication.

The University of Portsmouth is a member of the University Alliance, which produced the booklet ‘Growing the Future’ arguing that the government needs to take steps to ensure universities are central to its growth strategy. Vice-Chancellor Professor John Craven was a founding member of the University Alliance and is a former chairman.

He said: “Every university has a major impact on its city and region– in Portsmouth the economic benefits of the university to our local community exceed £250m a year, in addition to the significant contribution we make to the educational, social and cultural life of the city.

“Every year we support more than 300 entrepreneurs from the local economy helping them translate ideas into commercial realities; our staff and students work with local businesses to help regenerate and sustain them and their products; and we see our skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering, business, languages and the creative industries having a strong commercial effect in Portsmouth, across the south-east and globally.

“Universities are the engine room of modern Britain and the University Alliance’s new booklet helps showcase the wealth of what we offer our regional economies.”

The booklet argues that universities have a central role to play in realising the government’s plans for growth through encouraging investment and exports, to creating an educated, flexible workforce and ensuring Britain is the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business.

Libby Hackett, Director of the University Alliance, said: “The evidence is clear – universities are no longer just part of the education system. They are central to the economic and social prosperity of our nation. As growth figures continue to look worrying bleak we urge the Coalition Government to look closely at the role of universities in the second phase of their growth plan.”

The University Alliance represents 23 UK universities which are committed to engaging with businesses and playing a leading role in helping build regional economies. Together they educate a quarter of all UK university students.

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