The University of Cambridge has contributed almost £30 billion to the UK economy and supports nearly 90,000 jobs across the country, a report from London Economics shows.

The University of Cambridge has contributed almost £30 billion to the UK economy and supports nearly 90,000 jobs across the country, a report from London Economics shows.

The University’s tech transfer powerhouse Cambridge Enterprise can take a huge bow as knowledge transfer and commercialisation activities, including spin-outs, account for a significant proportion of the economic impact generated.

Dr Diarmuid O’Brien, Chief Executive, Cambridge Enterprise, said: “Cambridge is the UK’s most successful entrepreneurial ecosystem and one of the world’s leading innovation clusters.

“Cambridge Enterprise is an important engine in delivering economic impact for the University of Cambridge, with knowledge transfer and commercialisation activities forming a significant proportion of the University’s contribution to the UK economy.”

The commissioned report comes hot on the heels of the ‘Cambridge Ideas Change the World’ special feature in Business Weekly before Christmas which showed how the University’s research – including science & technology brainpower – had revolutionised entire ways of living and working across the planet – and in space.

Of the huge number of jobs created for the nation it is estimated that 52,000 of the 86,000 total apply to the East of England. In a stunning stat, the report reveals that for every £1 the University spends it creates almost £12 of economic impact!

Cambridge is the most successful cluster and local ecosystem in the UK. Just over £23bn (78 per cent) of its economic impact is generated by the companies spun out from – or closely associated with – the University, as well as research and commercial activities carried out at the University.

This includes the impact of 178 spin-outs and 213 startup companies that have connections to the University. It is the biggest impact of any university in the UK. Success is the result of long-term, strategic decisions that have established the University at the heart of one of the world’s most successful innovation and technology clusters.

The University has helped harness a winning combination of venture capital, government-supported capital investment and infrastructure funding (e.g. the 2016 Cambridge City Deal) through a very deliberate strategy of investing in innovation and commercialisation over past decades.

To build on this success, Innovate Cambridge – founded by Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Innovation Capital and the University – is joining with more than 100 partners, including AstraZeneca, Microsoft and Arm, to develop an ambitious and broad-ranging vision of innovation for the Greater Cambridge area.

The goal is to accelerate progress and for the Greater Cambridge ecosystem to accomplish in the next 10 years the same success as in the past 25.

Dr Anthony Freeling, Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University, said the report demonstrated “how international excellence coupled with a deliberate strategy of investing in innovation creates jobs and significant growth for the UK economy.”

Even more could be done if the UK rejoined the Horizon Europe programme, he argued.

“An early commitment to Horizon Europe, the EU research funding body which provides billions of pounds in research support for academics across Europe, is essential to underpinning future success,” said Dr Freeling.

“Horizon Europe provides not only the stability of funding required to make long-term research plans but also access to vital international networks and collaborations.”

Reflecting on the University’s impact and contributions to economic growth, Dr Freeling adds: “The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

“In pursuing this mission, the University rightly focuses on academic excellence. We educate some of the brightest minds from the United Kingdom and from around the world.

“Cambridge has been the birthplace of many of the world’s greatest intellectual achievements and has nurtured many of the world’s leading scientists and scholars – from Isaac Newton to Charles Darwin to Jocelyn Bell Burnell; and from Bertrand Russell to John Maynard Keynes to Mary Beard. Our 121 Nobel Prize Winners attest to this record.

“There is an aspect of the University’s contribution to society that remains to be fully told – the story of Cambridge’s economic contribution to the UK.

“Alongside their social and cultural impact, Cambridge graduates and academics make a significant contribution to the British economy through research breakthroughs and entrepreneurial activities, as well as through the enhanced value and the skills they bring to their employment.

“This report by London Economics is a comprehensive attempt to estimate the economic value that the University of Cambridge brings to the UK.”