Olympic Games scale investment by Russell Group universities including Birmingham will generate £44 billion for the UK

Posted on Wednesday 21st May 2014

The ambitious £175 million campus development project getting underway at the University of Birmingham is part of a programme of investment by Russell Group universities which will generate billions for the economy and thousands of new jobs across the country in years to come, new research has concluded.

The economic research, carried out by BiGGAR Economics, has looked at planned spending by the 24 Russell Group Universities, including the University of Birmingham, over the next four years. It finds that Russell Group universities will spend more than £9 billion on capital projects between 2012/13 to 2016/17. This is similar to the amount spent on the Olympics or the Government’s current railway investment programme.  

The money comes from a range of sources including government grants for capital, income from research and teaching, private donations and borrowing.

In Birmingham, the University has recently broken ground on several exciting capital projects, which together form the biggest campus redevelopment of its kind since its Edgbaston site was established in the 1900s. The masterplan will see a new library built at the centre of campus, a state-of-the-art sports centre for students, staff and community use, and featuring Birmingham’s only 50m swimming pool, and the redevelopment of a wing of the original Aston Webb building to create a hub for many student services.

In addition, the redevelopment will pave the way for a green heart to be opened up on the central campus, re-establishing the sweeping views of the Joseph Chamberlain memorial clocktower which were central to the University’s original campus masterplan.

The University is also rebuilding its Chamberlain Hall of Residence, building a new Dental School in conjunction with Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, and creating one of the first University Training Schools in the country at its Selly Oak site. As part of Birmingham Health Partners, the University is, together with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, building an Institute of Translational Medicine on the hospital site adjacent to the University.

The BiGGAR Economics researchers looked at the long term gross value added that investments including these schemes at the University of Birmingham would produce and calculated that:

  • Capital investment by Russell Group universities is expected to generate gross value added (GVA) with a current value of £44.3 billion for the UK economy over the next 25 years.
  • This work will support more than 98,500 new UK jobs - including around 37,800 temporary jobs during the five-year construction period, 45,000 permanent operational jobs and almost 15,700 permanent jobs supported by the wider impact of the work undertaken in the new facilities.
  • This investment should generate £4.89 for the UK economy for every £1 invested.

The report calculates the long term benefits of Russell Group university investment by looking at information gathered from the 24 universities about 69 projects where they are investing money in the next four years. Researchers have calculated the quantifiable impact of these projects by looking at three areas:

  • Short-term investment impacts – such as jobs created in the construction industry
  • Long-term operational impacts – like increased expenditure from the additional university staff and students based in the new facilities
  • Long-term catalytic impacts – such as medical breakthroughs, more productive students, and better research competitiveness.

The researchers also looked at the impact of this investment in different regions of the country – calculating the number of jobs generated and the total return on the investment in each region. In the Midlands, they calculated that this could include up to 8,173 jobs generated over the next 20 years.

Notes to editors

  • Read BiGGAR Economics' report.
  • The Russell Group represents 24 leading UK universities which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience and unrivalled links with business and the public sector.
  • The Russell Group Universities are: University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, Durham University, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Glasgow, Imperial College London, King's College London, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, London School of Economics & Political Science, University of Manchester, Newcastle University, University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, Queen Mary University of London, Queen's University Belfast, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University College London, University of Warwick, University of York

For more information on the University of Birmingham’s capital development programme, visit our campus redevelopment pages or contact Kara Griffiths on +44 (0)7812 671797.