Small and specialist universities are innovative, agile industry experts supporting the economic development within their communities and specific sectors in the economy. Frequently located in smaller towns, on the edge of cities, or in rural or coastal locations, many also carry out high impact, practical research and knowledge exchange.
This new report from GuildHE demonstrates they are well-positioned to stimulate the growth of key priority economies such as the creative industries, health and agriculture in a landscape which includes the Government’s levelling up agenda and the plan to increase investment in research and development to 2.4 per cent of the GDP by 2027.
On Tuesday 27 September GuildHE – who represent 58 universities and colleges in the UK – launches the Building the Jigsaw Report, an in-depth study of the key role of smaller and specialist universities in their local, national and international economies. The report uses a combined experimental heat mapping and case studies approach to highlight the local, national and international economic impact of smaller and specialist UK higher education institutions. It brings new evidence to the sector by capturing knowledge exchange activities not always apparent in traditional statistics and often in unexpected locations throughout the UK.
Anthony McClaran, GuildHE Chair and Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University Twickenham said:
“Many small and specialist universities are innovative, agile industry experts that carry out high impact, practical research and knowledge exchange. This important report brings new evidence to the sector and a new approach to capturing the local, national and international economic impact of their work.”
Eleven UK higher education institutions contributed to the report which highlights five case studies, from cybersecurity to the support and care of people with dementia. The studies reveal a surprising number of initiatives and collaborations being undertaken by smaller and specialist institutions that are driving impact, prosperity, and actively addressing local, regional, national and even international, economic, social and cultural challenges.