Alliance universities set to play a vital role in the UK’s recovery from the pandemic

The 12 universities that make up the University Alliance group will help power a national economic, social and cultural recovery from COVID-19, according to a new campaign launched today.

These universities will deliver the skills, ideas and innovations needed to generate the pillars of growth for an economic recovery that will see communities across the country thrive once again, the campaign ‘Powering the UK’s Future’ will say.

Calling for higher education to be positioned and funded as a major asset for the nation’s recovery, University Alliance have released a set of high-level policy asks which if enacted will enhance universities’ contribution to the national economic, social and cultural recovery.

The Alliance’s 12 universities train almost a quarter of the nation’s nurses, support almost 24,000 businesses with consultancy, facilities and research, and have been awarded more than £68m to spend on regenerating their local communities, alongside their own significant investments.

As the UK economy grapples with recession, today’s campaign highlights how Alliance universities will use their critical role within the NHS and public services, support for businesses, locally-rooted research and innovation, and partnership with industry to find solutions to the economic and social challenges we all face and support the governments investment pillars of growth.

Already they are finding new treatments to tackle obesity, creating new training routes for police officers, supporting SMEs to develop new technologies, developing green innovations, redesigning a struggling high street, and working with TV companies to produce new programmes.                                                                                          

The campaign has been backed by major employers and industry partners, including the International Chamber of Commerce, along with support from numerous SMEs and local organisations who work with Alliance universities to deliver change for their communities.


Paul Drechsler CBE, Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce (UK), Former CBI President and Chancellor, Teesside University said:

“Universities are a vital source of inspiration, innovation, economic growth and job creation to local communities, and have been critical to the success of towns, cities and regions for many years. Universities have the capabilities to drive economic, social and cultural recovery, working in partnership with business, industry and the public sector to shape a great future for our nation.”

University Alliance Chair and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, Professor Debra Humphris said:

“Alliance universities are deeply rooted in their surrounding regions, with a heritage stretching back hundreds of years and a mission to support local people and communities that continues today. Alliance universities are helping to build the economy and workforce of the future with their leading research and close links with business, and are powering the public services we all rely on.

“This campaign highlights just some of the ways in which Alliance universities can draw on their practical strengths to support the national economic, social and cultural recovery effort in the months and years ahead. As the country looks to build back from this crisis, Alliance universities stand ready to support our communities and national renewal, and have the local connections, the expertise, the partnerships and the public support needed to power the country’s future.”

University Alliance CEO Vanessa Wilson said:

“As a mission group we are committed to working together, to unlock potential in order to effect change, and this has never been more important for the UK than now. I am proud that through launching this campaign we are demonstrating our potential and readiness as a collective group of universities to power a national renewal and recovery which we all strive for as we look to rebuild from Covid-19 and beyond.

“With their closeness to industry, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to levelling-up, Alliance universities are well placed to support national pillars of growth in innovation, infrastructure and skills. The success of this role will be dependent on the Government’s policy approach and we look forward to working with them to harness the potential and power of our institutions and institutions like us to support their plan for growth and renewal.”

Caron Ricciardi, Senior Business Development Manager, Lloyds Banking Group said:

“By working together, universities and employers are able to bridge the gap between academia and industry, providing young people with a great start to their working life and equipping them with the skills and experience they need thrive. This not only helps individuals to realise their aspirations but helps UK businesses and society to prosper.’’

 Anne Kiem, Chief Executive of the Chartered Association of Business Schools and Small Business Charter said:

“As the voice of the UK’s business and management education sector, we welcome recognition of the role of universities in supporting UK business growth and prosperity. Universities such as those in the Alliance equip our graduates and post graduates with critical business and financial management skills to effectively identify and harness innovation as well as nurture talent and enable entrepreneurialism to thrive, essential components for a successful future UK plc.”

Professor Paul Gately, Chief Executive, MoreLife said:

“Our partnership with our local Alliance University allows us to access the latest cutting-edge research to inform our programme content; helping people live healthier lives. The industry-responsive research undertaken by Alliance universities makes a huge difference to businesses like mine, and the real-world impact it delivers will become even more valuable as we look to power a social and economic recovery from this pandemic. “


 How Alliance universities are powering the UK

  1. Alliance universities train almost a quarter of all nursing and midwifery students, 18% of all social work students and 15% of all teacher training students in England and Wales
  2. Over 1/3 of all courses at Alliance universities result in professional accreditations such as medicine, nursing, teaching, social work, engineering and law
  3. There are over 4,500 apprentices on programmes across Alliance universities in England, we train more than 50% of all civic engineering degree apprentices in the country
  4. Commercialisation and entrepreneurialism are ingrained into the DNA of Alliance universities, who support around 24,000 commercial and non-commercial organisations with consultancy, research and the provision of facilities and equipment-related services. In 2018/19 alone our members supported over 2,000 active graduate and post graduate spin-offs, start-ups, and social enterprises with a combined turnover of £157m that year alone
  5. Our members are research active and community conscious, conducting world-leading research in areas such as health and engineering. In 2018/19 Alliance universities received over £100m worth of research grants and contracts from research councils, governments, charities, and commercial businesses and between the years 2016-19 received £68m alongside their own significant investments to support community regeneration


Follow the campaign on University Alliance’s website, and on Twitter using #UApoweringUK







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