New report explores Oxford Brookes' economic contribution

Friday, 05 March 2010

Millions of pounds flow into the Oxfordshire and UK economy due to the presence of Oxford Brookes University in the city, reveals a new report.

Millions of pounds flow into the Oxfordshire and UK economy due to the presence of Oxford Brookes University in the city, reveals a new report.

The report describes how Brookes is one of the biggest employers in the county and injects more than £1million a day into the UK economy.

It shows how Brookes is adding value both financially and socially. Local businesses, suppliers, contractors, retailers, Oxfordshire's schools, hospitals, local authorities and charities all benefit from the presence of the university and its students.

The economic contribution report links into the new university strategy for the next ten years and key financial headlines include:

  • How the £171 million Brookes spent on capital expenditure and running the university last year created additional value to the economy, estimated to total over £380m a year - more than £1million a day
  • £20 million direct spend with local suppliers in Oxfordshire a year
  • £85 million spend per year on salaries of over 2,500 staff, more than 84% live in the county
  • Nearly £4 million channelled by Brookes to support businesses and boost skills in the challenging economic times

The report also explores the university's role as a key economic driver, sharing expertise and fostering business improvement. For instance, as well as a thriving business consultancy service, Brookes has a growing knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) portfolio. This places graduates with specialist skills in local businesses and since 2005, six KTPs have been successfully completed and a further 8 are in progress or about to start amounting to a total value of £2 million. The university sits in the top 20 of UK universities for income generated from intellectual property - either selling products under licence or directly to companies.

In addition, the report identifies how Brookes' contribution extends beyond the walls of the university in many other ways:

  • Skills training: The money Brookes has secured as part of recession busting activities has enabled the university to offer a raft of measures including free business advice to support local firms in a package worth £160,000 and running free skills sessions with over 30 local projects.
  • Local health care: More than 3,500 people study with our School of Health and Social Care each year to pursue or develop their career as a health professional - they work as paramedics, specialist nurses, occupational therapists, osteopaths and midwives. Three out of four nurses that study at Oxford Brookes go on to work in the local community.
  • Volunteering: In 2009, Brookes students contributed 14,240 hours of volunteer time to a huge range of different projects and the university helped to establish 100 partnerships with third sector organisations.
  • Advice and support: Students are able to use their academic courses to help people, for example law students volunteer with the Citizens' Advice Bureau, the Oxfordshire Youth Offending Team and the Oxfordshire Short-Term Advocacy Service.
  • Community research: Community-based research has included work with the Royal British Legion looking at the extent of homelessness among ex-service personnel in Oxford. In another project, PhD researcher, Tracy McAteer, is working closely with families and staff at Helen & Douglas House on a study looking at young people's understanding of chronic illness.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janet Beer, said:

'We are committed to making Oxfordshire a better place to live, work and study and this report demonstrates just some of the ways we meet this commitment.

'The benefits for students who study at Oxford Brookes are obvious, but the value we bring to the wider community should not be overlooked. Whether it is the support we give a local business through tougher financial times, the encouragement we provide to entrepreneurs starting a new business or our work in local schools to raise aspirations and ambition, they all make a difference.

'Our contribution takes many forms - much of our activity is highly visible and easier to quantify but we're just as proud of the quieter work that goes on in communities every day to change lives in Oxfordshire and beyond.”