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Universities’ influence on economy grows in the UK

According to the recent Higher Education - Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey, UK higher education institutions received £2.64 billion from business and community interaction in 2006/07. This marks 17 percent from 2005/06. In 2006/07 UK HEIs' income in this area was nearly £670 million, 12 percent more than the previous year. Income from consultancy and training also rose significantly. Science and Innovation Minister, Ian Pearson, said: "Universities are shifting up a gear when it comes to working with business and making an economic impact. In percentage growth terms, collaborative research with industry in the UK is growing at a faster rate than the Chinese economy”.

Higher education institutions increasingly attract investment and talent to the UK and collaborative research allows universities to work with innovators around the world, which in turn explains the rapid growth of income. Higher education also develops its own entrepreneurs and produces successful high-tech companies. In 2006/07, 226 'spin-off' companies were formed out of university intellectual property and there were over 700 past 'spin-offs' still in operation after at least three years. This is an increase of 10 percent. Graduates started 1 508 businesses in 2006/07 and academic staff created 62 new businesses.

As well as working in the commercial world, higher education helps public services and the voluntary and charitable sectors. Around half of total income to HE in 2006/07 came from such public and 'third' sector bodies.

Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills