The University of Birmingham has today put a figure on the economic impact it makes to the local and regional economy: a startling contribution of £662 million to the City of Birmingham and £779 million to the West Midlands region.

The results of a detailed report carried out by the University’s Centre for Urban and Regional Studies in collaboration with GHK, were revealed at a breakfast briefing for key city and business leaders this morning.

The research measured the scale of the economic impact attributable to University activities in 2005-06 and also looked at the effect of its staff and students on the general economic, social and cultural life of the region.

Professor Michael Clarke, Vice Principal of the University of Birmingham, said:

“Governments and commentators often argue the importance of higher education in the development of regional economies, but we haven’t previously had an understanding of just how great a figure it is for the University of Birmingham.  The £779 million result is staggering.

“This University was born out of the city by Joseph Chamberlain in 1900, who had a long term view that the University should feed back into the regional economy.  I think that, 106 years on, Jo Chamberlain would be justly proud of the report’s findings!”

Key issues such as job creation, graduate retention and the University’s impact on civic society were highlighted at the event:

Job Creation: the University employs 5,900 members of staff, and for every one of those University jobs, there is a second job in the local economy supported by spending attributable to the University. 

Senior women in jobs: at the University, 50% of managerial and professional posts are held by women - this compares with only 36% in the region.

Graduate retention: the University’s total student population numbers more than 31,500, of which 20% are recruited locally.  With 44% of Birmingham graduates taking up their first employment in the region, the University acts as a net attractor of labour and talent for the City’s workforce.  In 2005-06, 58.3% of new workers in Birmingham with degree level or higher qualifications were University of Birmingham graduates.

Research income: in 2005-06, the University’s research income exceeded £76 million, representing more than 46% of higher education research and development income to the region.

Civic impact of the University in the region: whilst the research concentrated on spending power in the region, the report also gave promising indicators of a high level of civic engagement by its staff and students.  University staff sit on regional advisory groups and governing bodies across a wide range of sectors including schools and healthcare trusts, and are involved in a wide range of social and cultural organisations and activities.  Students volunteering is at all time high – in 2005/06, student volunteers were engaged in projects involving 85 different charities in the region including Childline, Help the Aged and Oxfam.



The economic impact report:

The report, entitled Regional and Local Economic Impact Assessment of the University of Birmingham, was completed by the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) in collaboration with the independent consultancy, GHK. The team was led by Dr Stewart McNeill from CURS.

Key facts and figures from the report:

Economic impact was £662m and £779m to the city and region respectively

Annual income of over £388.6 million

£64m of disposable income received by staff resident in Birmingham

Over the last 10 years Birmingham graduates have added an additional £146 million to the City economy

Eighth largest employer in the Birmingham/Solihull sub-region, representing 1.2% of total West Midlands employment

Potential £525 million additional input via research activities over the next 10 years, including over 2000 jobs by 2015

£10m estimated visitor expenditure attributable to the University in 05-06

The full report is available on the University of Birmingham website, visit:

The University of Birmingham’s Centre for Urban and Regional Studies:

is an international centre of excellence in academic and policy-related research within the field of public governance, management and policy. 

contributes to this agenda through a focus on socio-spatial aspects of public policy, particularly at urban, regional neighbourhood and community levels, both in the UK and internationally. 

has a strong portfolio of academic and commissioned research.   This includes participation in major comparative studies such as RESTATE, large scale housing estates in 10 European countries (EC 5th Framework) and ‘Knowledge in Regional Economies’, a Euro 4m, 28 partner project (EC 6th Framework), an EPSRC project on regeneration of Birmingham’s Eastside, and Joseph Rowntree Foundation research on Mixed Tenure Communities.

Regular research funders include the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Housing Corporation, The Department of Work and Pensions, The Department of Health, the Department for International Development, Advantage West Midlands, the National Housing Federation and the Housing Associations Charitable Trust.


Rachel Burrows – Head of Communications, University of Birmingham

Tel: 0121 414 6681 / mob: 07789 921165 / email: