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UEA contributes £1 billion to the economy, report finds

An independent report commissioned by the University of East Anglia (UEA) has found that the institution has an economic output impact of £1.04 billion on the UK economy, through the expenditure of the University, its staff and students.

The independently commissioned report which was launched at an event at Norwich Castle today (6 June), highlights some of the ways UEA and its students positively impact Norwich, Norfolk, the UK and internationally.

The University carried out a similar assessment in 2016 and this is the first time its overall financial impact to the New Anglia LEP region and wider economy has tipped the £1 billion mark.

UEA’s Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson said: “I have an enormous sense of pride that UEA plays such a pivotal role, as an employer, as an educator and as a world-leading research institution in the life of our city and our region.

“Recent figures show that out of a selection of ten UK cities surveyed, people in Norwich were most proud of the role universities play in their community, beating Manchester and Nottingham. We are a university for the region and I want local people to join me in celebrating what we achieve here.”

UEA directly employs 5,100 people, and it’s not just researchers making a positive impact on the wider community, roles such as running gigs at the LCR, keeping coffee shops running and maintaining the 360 acre grounds used by members of the public, help to keep the UEA cogs turning.

In the report titled ‘Connecting People + Places’, figures show that UEA’s UK and international students spent £224m on living and entertainment in 2017/18, spending money with local businesses. While students are also establishing their own businesses, 114 of them received UEA funding.

Prof Fiona Lettice, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation, said: “Collaboration with local organisations, in the public and private sectors, and with our wider community is key if universities are going to make a positive impact on everyday lives.

“At UEA we are committed to working collaboratively to build local business clusters, to build stronger partnerships with a range of organisations and to help to solve both global and local challenges through our research, teaching and related activities.”

But it’s not just about the financial impact of UEA, it’s about community, social mobility and local people. A recent Universities UK report (November 2018) surveyed over 2000 UK adults on their knowledge of the impact of universities make, and it revealed the biggest gap is people knowing the positive impact universities have within their local communities.

At the event Prof Richardson also presented examples of some of the important civic work UEA contributes to, including the work done through the Law Clinic. Students use their legal knowledge and skills to provide the community with pro bono legal assistance, seeing over 1400 clients, and have recovered more than £7 million of wrongly denied welfare benefits to date. And in October, part-funded thanks to the generous support of UEA Law alumni, the clinic moved into new purpose-designed facilities at Earlham Hall, allowing students to see clients at UEA for the first time.

The report revealed the work UEA does to widen access to education, regardless of people’s background, including that the University has awarded scholarships to people who need them most, worth £3,843,505 since 2009. This comes as TV presenter Jake Humphrey announced that he will help to fund a film, television and media student, mentoring and supporting them.

It was also showed that students have a desire to give back to their community while studying at UEA, which is reflected in the statistics showing that 3,000 students volunteer in the community per year. They are working in charity shops, volunteering with local festivals, like the annual Norwich Science Festival, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, and the Hostry Festival, and acting as befrienders for the elderly.

Camilla Ryan, postgraduate student in the school of environmental sciences volunteers at the Norwich Science Festival, she said: “I volunteer because I am passionate about what I do and I enjoy talking to people about it. I think it helps people to appreciate some of the awesome research that is being done at the Norwich Research Park by people who could be your next door neighbour.”

The full report is available here: www.uea.ac.uk/business