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Cardiff University: Cardiff generates £3.7bn for UK economy

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A report published today (24 October 2022) by London Economics – one of Europe’s leading specialist economics and policy consultancies – shows Cardiff contributed £3.68 billion to the UK economy in a single year.

The assessment for 2020-21 is the highest since the University began recording its economic impact back in 2012-13 and amounts to a 6% increase in real terms on the last analysis in 2016-17.

The quality of the University’s teaching and learning generated £1.22bn; research and knowledge exchange activities accounted for £831 million, and £970m was created by the operational and capital spending of the institution itself, with its 33,000 students and almost 7,000 staff. Educational exports – in the form of international student spending – contributed a further £655m.

Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University, said: “The full scale of the economic and social impact of Cardiff University on the UK, and on Wales in particular, is staggering.”

“Our total economic impact on the UK in 2020-21 — at the height of the pandemic — is estimated at almost £3.7 billion. This means that for every £1 we spend, we generate £6.40, significantly outperforming our comparator institutions which, on average, generate £5.50 per £1 spent. We are punching above our weight, and the benefits accrue to the people of this country, to our communities and to the taxpayer.”

An outstanding example of the University’s contribution to the UK’s balance of trade can be seen in the value of educational exports which, at £655m, exceed the export performance of the car and other vehicle industry in Wales, according to HMRC regional trade data.

In addition to employing nearly 7,000 people directly, Cardiff’s activities support a further 7,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the UK.

“That’s over 14,000 people in total who have jobs because of the research, teaching, work with industry and general operations that we carry out at Cardiff University,” said Professor Riordan, “and almost 10,000 of these jobs are based in Wales.”

Cardiff generates economic impact fairly evenly across its activities: research and knowledge exchange activities generate 23%; teaching and learning activities account for 33%; educational exports make up 18%, with the remaining 26% arising from the University’s expenditure.

“Across the whole palette of our activity, Cardiff University is creating economic and social benefit for Wales, the UK, and indeed the world. In the current economic climate, universities face huge challenges about how our funding model can be made more sustainable. We must ensure our teaching and research are recognised and valued by government at all levels. If the funding challenges can be addressed, we believe we can do even more in the years ahead.”