York's students '˜pump £1.8bn into economy'

The national economy benefits to the tune of £1.8bn from research projects and studies at the University of York, a report out today has calculated.

University of York, Central Hall, Heslington

The institution, one of 24 research-led bodies that constitute the Russell Group of universities, is said to have generated £537.1m from the £90m it received in research funding last year – the equivalent of £6 for every £1.

The figures will be presented to a conference today on current research projects at York, which include investigations on how nature can influence mental health, tropical disease and the thought processes of babies.

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The figures, produced independently by the business management consultancy London Economics, also calculate the effect of the £702m students in York are estimated to spend – some £603m of it within the county. The money is said to support 6,325 jobs, including those at the university.

The York campus is a relatively recent addition to the city’s economy, having been established in 1963 as one of the “plate glass” institutions intended to supplement the early 20th century “civic universities” in larger cities such as Leeds and Sheffield.

Today’s report calculates that the total economic impact of York’s 2016/17 student community was just under £0.5bn, including additional earnings graduates can expect to gain from their degrees through employment over their lifetime.

Prof Saul Tendler, York’s acting vice-chancellor, said: “In a challenging global economic environment, facing major societal and environmental shifts, impactful university research has never been more important.

“This report not only highlights York’s global significance in research, but also the research benefits to local companies, small and medium sized enterprises, and its contribution to new start-ups and spin-outs.”

International students in York contributed £93.1m in export income, with more than £80m from China and other countries outside the EU who arrived in the city in 2016. More than £11m is generated by EU students.

Prof Tendler said: “In the current political climate, it is essential that we create export opportunities where we can.

“International students not only contribute significantly to enrich the cultural life of the university and our local community, but they also provide valuable sources of export income, in the form of foreign currency, which is put back into the local and national economy.”

He added: “We hope this report adds further evidence to the wider value of higher education and how important it is that we continue to invest in research, build international partnerships, and support the next generation of global leaders.”

York, which became part of the Russell Group in 2012, now has 17,500 students and some 4,000 staff, but remains one of the smaller universities in Yorkshire. Leeds and Sheffield each accommodate around 30,000 students.

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