I expect that many of you are faced with similar questions about the University, so I’d like to share with you some of the facts and figures the analysts came up with.
Let’s start with our history. For over 150 years we’ve been providing teaching and learning in the city, firstly as the Hartley Institution in the High Street below the Bargate, later as University College Southampton at Highfield and, since 1952, as the University of Southampton.
From our modest beginnings in the city centre back in 1862, when just a handful of students were taught a small range of subjects, the University has developed into one of the UK’s leading research universities and is ranked as one of the top one per cent of universities in the world – putting Southampton firmly on the international map in terms of higher education.
You are part of a 6,000 strong staff community; together we are providing an education to more than 23,000 students at seven campuses – five of which are in this city – making us the largest university on the south coast and one of this city’s largest employers. Our annual turnover of over £484m means that we are also one of the biggest businesses in the region.
The work undertaken by the consultancy that carried out the impact assessment, gives us some very interesting additional statistics. They estimate that the University annually supports economic activity in Southampton of more than £729m and 11,700 jobs. For the regional area the figures come to more than £1bn and over 16,300 jobs; and for the UK it is over £2bn and more than 26,500 jobs.
We know that the majority of our staff members – over 4,000 in total – live in and around the city. Over 21,000 of our graduates also live in Southampton – with a further 14,000 living within the Southampton postcode area. Their salaries are spent in the local economy and they contribute to the communities that they live in.
Our students also add significantly to the economics of the city. The report’s authors estimate their impact to be worth £137m to Southampton alone. Our tourism impact, through attracting visitors to the city, is valued at an additional £4m.
In addition to the education that we provide to our students, the leading-edge research we are doing across the University has a tangible impact on individuals, communities and the economy. Many of you are connecting with businesses to bring about innovations that address some of society’s greatest challenges.
Our collaboration with marine specialists Lloyd’s Register is the largest university-business partnership in the UK and recently brought 400 jobs to the city when Lloyd’s Register transferred its Global Technology Centre to our Boldrewood campus.
As one of UK’s top universities for working with small and medium-sized businesses, we help drive regional economic growth – notably through our marine and maritime research and photonics. Our successful Science Park offers access to some of the best business support in the UK; and we are a member of a partnership of universities called SETsquared, which is ranked number one in Europe and number two in the world for incubating new businesses.
The report we commissioned also looks at the social aspects of our activities. It shows that our health research has led to advances that benefit millions of people around the world, including 14,000 lymphoma sufferers in the UK, who benefit annually from advances in care driven by the University, leading to better survival and quality of outcomes. It highlights the three million babies, who have been screened for permanent childhood hearing impairment, thanks to research at the University, and the four million prescriptions that have been issued by nurses and pharmacists, who can now prescribe certain medicines – a revolution underpinned by Southampton research.
We annually train around 250 doctors and 520 nurses and midwives, together with other allied health professionals, health visitors and school nurses – many of whom work in this region. The work of our student volunteers and our schools’ outreach programmes benefit the wider community and open up the University to groups who might not otherwise have a connection with it.
We also contribute to the region culturally, through our teaching and research, the engagement of our staff and students, and through the activities of our campus arts venues. We are currently investing in the development of Southampton’s new Arts Centre in the new cultural quarter near the Guildhall.
I’m immensely proud of what the University contributes to Southampton and the surrounding region and this report has served as a valuable reminder of how much we have to shout about to those we share the city with.
Professor Don Nutbeam
Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton