University investment to generate 37,800 construction jobs


Imperial College London is one of 24 Russell Group universities. Photo: Andrew Crump

Spending on buildings and facilities by Russell Group universities will generate thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds for the economy in years to come, research by BiGGAR Economics has shown.


The economic consultancy firm found that planned spending on capital projects by the 24 Russell Group Universities over the next four years adds up to more than £9 billion. It noted that this is similar to the amount spent on the Olympics or the Government’s current railway investment programme.


The work is expected to support more than 98,500 new UK engineering jobs including around 37,800 temporary jobs during a construction period of five years starting now.


In addition this investment by universities will create 45,000 permanent operational jobs as well as supporting almost 15,700 permanent jobs through the wider impact of work undertaken in the new facilities.


Research also looked at the long term gross value added this investment would produce, calculating an expected boost of £44.3Bn for the UK economy over the next 25 years. This means investment should generate £4.89 for every £1 invested.


Planned projects by Russell Group universities range from new student accommodation, medical research facilities and science labs to new office space. The research took into account information about 69 such projects with money being invested in the next four years.


Director general of the Russell Group Dr Wendy Piatt said: “Russell Group universities are engines of growth for the British economy. Not only do they lead the way in teaching and research – but they’re also a driving force behind the creation of new jobs, new opportunities for start up companies and urban renewal in our cities.


“The Government has recognised much of this contribution but we would urge them to step up big capital investment in our universities,” she added.