University of Suffolk reveals £862 million economic impact in independent report

24 April 2024
Time to read
7 minute read
Prof Helen Langton standing at a lectern addressing the audience for the Civic University event
Prof Helen Langton addressing the audience at the Civic University launch event

The University of Suffolk’s significant impact on the economy and communities in Ipswich, Suffolk and the UK has been outlined in a new independent study – with a new pledge signed this week to further boost its contribution.

On Tuesday 23 April the University signed a Civic University Agreement, which commits the institution to continuing its contribution to the wellbeing and prosperity of people in Suffolk.

It follows the publication this week of a new Economic Impact Study which found the University helped generate £862 million through its operations in economic activity in the UK – through a metric known as Gross Value Added (GVA) – and supported more than 13,500 jobs in 2021-2022.

The study was published by BiGGAR Economics – a consultancy which provides independent economic analysis – and reported that the University of Suffolk is a major driver of growth in Ipswich and Suffolk.

The £862m figure includes £484m GVA and 3,760 jobs supported in the East of England, of which £332m GVA and 2,740 supported jobs were for Suffolk as a whole (including Ipswich) and £237m GVA and 1,660 jobs supported in Ipswich. 

It marks a significant increase in GVA generated across the UK of £500m since the previous study, which covered 2017-18.

Every £1 the University receives supports £6 in GVA across the UK, the report said.

The increase has come about as a result of the growth in student numbers attending the University, and the significant expansion of the institution’s business engagement, knowledge exchange and research activities since the previous study.

The University’s ambitious plans to continue growing student numbers, increase collaborative partnerships with employers and industry, and enhance research and knowledge exchange activities could result in a future annual economic impact of £1.4 billion and 21,020 jobs supported across the UK, the study predicted.

With the signing of the Civic University commitment this week, the University has pledged to continue and grow its positive impact.

Developed in collaboration with community organisations and stakeholders, the pledge’s guiding principles were also shaped by a series of consultation events with the public, stakeholders, staff and students, and are linked to the University’s areas of expertise.

Those pledges include preserving and celebrating the culture and heritage of Suffolk by working with artists, historians and cultural institutions; fostering sustainable economic growth and regeneration; enhancing skills and aspirations beyond traditional higher education through areas such as expanding community-based learning opportunities; addressing the health challenges of the region by partnering with healthcare providers; and harnessing digital innovation.

The University has already shown a commitment to these themes with key projects over recent years, including establishing a new community interest company to improve the oral health of the population through helping those in most urgent need to access NHS dental treatment; partnering with BT Adastral Park to form the DigiTech Centre and Smart House in Martlesham, expanding its suite of degree apprenticeships, and developing new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in areas of high demand.

Ongoing and upcoming plans will also continue these themes, including partnering with the NHS and regional further education colleges to develop new health and social care apprenticeships, and being a key partner in the regeneration of a redundant department store in Great Yarmouth to become a new library and university centre called The Place.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Helen Langton MBE, said: “As an anchor institution in Ipswich and Suffolk, it is important that the University of Suffolk delivers real-world impacts in our communities, and our signing of the Civic University pledge marks a continued commitment to this goal.

“Providing transformational higher education study opportunities for those who may never have had the chance, helping regenerate Ipswich, supporting and developing our NHS workforce, and partnering with businesses and community organisations are just some of the ways we have, and will continue, to serve Ipswich, Suffolk and beyond.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor Business and Entrepreneurship, Professor Gurpreet Jagpal, added: “Our Economic Impact Study demonstrates just how important our work at the University is in the UK, the region and in our county, delivering exceptional growth in only a few years.

“The growth in the University’s student population shows that this has become a real destination of choice for students who know they will be supported into good careers, and the expansion of our research and knowledge exchange work is delivering a powerful impact in our communities in Suffolk and beyond.

“With further exciting developments and ambitious plans for the future, we are confident this trajectory will continue.”

To find out more about the University's economic impact, read the full report on the website here.

Read more about the University's Civic University pledges here.

Civic University event host and honorary graduate Mark Murphy MBE, seated on stage addressing the audience
Honorary graduate Mark Murphy MBE hosting the Civic University launch event
Left to right: Event host Mark Murphy MBE, University of Suffolk Vice-Chancellor Prof Helen Langton MBE, Tech East Chair Lisa Perkins, Ipswich Town Football Club Chief Financial Officer Tom Ball, Ipswich Borough Council Chief Executive Helen Pluck, Healthwatch Suffolk Chief Executive Andy Yacoub and Birketts LLP Legal Director Amanda Timcke, and Prof Gups Jagpal
Panelists for the Civic University launch event

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