LISTEN: Professor Crichton Lang explains why the report was commissioned and what it means for local economies
Ahead of celebrating tens years of official University status, the University of Highlands and Island’s (UHI) found that its partnership contributes nearly half a billion to Scotland’s rural economy.
After commissioning a report to investigate the economic impact of the partnership, they found that the partnership adds £560 million across all of the economies they serve.
Welcoming the findings, Professor Crichton Lang, University of the Highlands and Islands Principal and Vice-Chancellor (Interim), said: “We commissioned these reports to measure the contribution our university partnership makes to the communities we serve.
“It shows that investment in our partnership has a clear benefit and, in these uncertain economic times, it is important to understand this benefit and highlight the full extent of the value the university partnership brings.”
The impact report has been carried out by the independent consultancy, Biggar Economics, to gauge the how the UHI affects local economies.
These findings reveal that over the ten year period since the last report was published, there has been around a 20% – 25% increase in the impact of the partnership over time.
Students and staff are behind this rise says the report, which concludes that the increase in the number of both is adding to the impact on local economies as the partnership has expanded over time.
The report details: “The benefits of the university extend beyond the significant gross value added and jobs measures. It supports sustainable and inclusive economic wellbeing and social development in the broadest sense, for people, communities and employers across the region.
“It supports heritage and culture, the economy, the environment, the regional health sector and it offers pathways through tertiary education that give routes to personal and collective growth and development.
“Through the university, the region has greater control of its own economic and social future which will be especially important in helping its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Now, the network across the UHI partnership covers the largest geographical area of any campus-based university or college in the UK and has the largest student population in Scotland, with nearly 37,000 students studying across the university partnership each year.