European Union university research funding supports more than 19,000 jobs at British educational institutions or in industries benefiting from research activities, according to a report published on Friday.
The study by the higher education campaign group Universities UK represents the latest attempt by the sector to convince voters of the importance of the EU to British research
ahead of the June 23 referendum on membership of the bloc.
Universities UK said that EU research grants for British universities amounted to £838 million in 2014-2015, enabling the creation of 8,864 research jobs and facilitating a further 10,190 full-time equivalent openings in industries outside the education sector.
The report said that, within higher education in England and Scotland, the EU-funded research generated an economic output of £836 million and contributed nearly £577 million to the GDP. In industries benefiting from research, £1.02 billion of economic output was generated, with GDP being boosted by almost £503 million.
"EU research funding helps our universities to thrive, enabling UK researchers to collaborate with the best minds from across the EU
in order to tackle global problems, from cancer to climate change,” said Dame Julia Goodfellow, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Kent.
"What is clear from this new analysis is that this EU funding also benefits the UK economy, boosting growth and creating jobs both directly and indirectly in a range of sectors in all corners of the UK.”
According to the report, UK universities did "disproportionately well" in attracting EU funding. Dame Julia said, "EU support goes far beyond money. It also provides irreplaceable networks and frameworks which enable our researchers to have a genuine impact on society by pursuing breakthroughs, discoveries and inventions which improve our lives."
A regional breakdown of EU funding for English and Scottish universities showed that institutions in the East Midlands received £27.3 million in grants, delivering a £72.4 million boost to the local economy, adding £41.6 million to GDP and generating 797 jobs.
Universities in London received £168.8 million, pumping £450 million into the capital's economy, improving local GDP by £264.4 million and sustaining 4,300 jobs.
Scottish universities received £79.2 million, boosting the nation's economy by £214.8 million, improving GDP by £118.7 million and generating 2,193 jobs; in NE England, universities received grants from the EU of £24.5 million, putting £64.4 million into the economy, improving GDP by £38.6 million and securing 714 jobs.
SE England universities got £112.5 million for research, boosting the local economy by £285.6 million, adding £170.3 million to GDP and underpinning 3,045 jobs, while in the East of England, universities got £73.3 million, injecting £183 million into the economy, swelling GDP by £104.3 million and securing 1,746 jobs.
Universities in NW England received £49 million, boosting the local economy by £123.4 million, adding £72.1 million to GDP and developing 1,277 jobs; while, in SW England, grants of £42.5 million added £95.6 million into the economy, swelled GDP by £56.7 million and secured 981 jobs.
Across the West Midlands, university grants amounted to £44.1 million, pumping £108.2 million into the local economy, swelling GDP by £63.9 million and safeguarding 1,202 jobs; while, in Yorkshire and Humberside, universities got £54.5 million in grants, resulting in an economic boost of £141.2 million which added £79.8 million to GDP and supported 1,493 jobs.
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