Economic Impact Assessment

In 2020, the University of Sheffield commissioned an Economic Impact Assessment to explore the economic and wider benefits that the University brings to the UK and region.

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About the Economic Impact Assessment

The University of Sheffield was founded on civic principles over 100 years ago, and since then has been committed to bringing economic, health, educational, social and cultural benefits to Sheffield and beyond.

Throughout its history the University has placed its civic role at the heart of its strategy and planning. To develop the next stages of institutional commitment to the wider region and beyond, the University commissioned an Economic Impact Assessment to explore the economic and wider benefits the University brings to the city region and the nation.

The economic impacts set out in this report are based on data from the academic year 2018-19. Since then, the Covid-19 pandemic has altered the landscape for the higher education sector, and for communities at both a local and national level. The University of Sheffield has provided vital evidence to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on how Covid-19 has affected the region’s cultural sector. The University is currently working with partners across the region to enable the cultural sector to reopen and recover.

The findings of the Economic Impact Assessment demonstrate the integral part the University of Sheffield plays as an anchor institution in the region, and how the institution will prove to be a valuable driver of economic recovery in the years that follow.

In the academic year 2018-19 the University of Sheffield contributed:

  • £1.1 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) and 16,700 jobs in Sheffield City Region
  • £2.5 billion GVA and 30,200 jobs across the UK

The University of Sheffield supports the civic life of Sheffield City Region. Its civic role is woven through a coordinated strategy that delivers meaningful and sustainable impact. It has framed its strategic responsibilities and operations towards this civic goal creating a major contribution to the well-being of the City Region and its people.

Economic Impact Assessment report


Research and innovation

In 2018-19, the University of Sheffield generated £742 million GVA and 3,480 jobs across the UK.

Research and innovation activity undertaken by the University includes commercialisation of research outputs and knowledge exchange with businesses. Its approach is focused on working collaboratively with local and global partners to influence policy makers, translate research into practice and discover novel solutions that drive commercialisation.

Factory 2020

Education and training   

This section considered the economic impact of how by completing their studies at university, graduates acquire skills that make them more productive than they would otherwise have been. It also looked at how the University improves workforce productivity through Continuous Professional Development (CPD) which supports skills development for companies and individuals. 

In 2018-19 the University of Sheffield contributed £537 million GVA to the UK economy through education and training.

From nursing to engineering, the University is providing the higher vocational skills that Sheffield City Region needs and retains graduates locally where the demand for these skills exists. 

Over five years, the AMRC Training Centre has trained more than 1000 apprentices, for more than 300 employers, in the engineering skills they need to grow their businesses and secure a sustainable future.

The Nursing Associate Apprenticeships provided 138 apprentices with employer partners including Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to give support to frontline staff at regional hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ surgeries and hospices.

A nursing student with a clinical skills tutor

Supporting the community

The University's students also engage with the local community in a variety of ways, around 2,000 students volunteered approximately 20,000 hours in 2018/19.

The University plays a key role in supporting the community through the multitude of activities undertaken by staff and students as well as adding to the cultural vibrancy of the city through the visitors it helps to attract.

The University has co-produced activities such as the Sheffield Music City initiative, Tramlines (the annual music festival), the Festival of the Mind, the Festival of Arts and Humanities, the Festival of Science and Engineering and the Off the Shelf literary festival.

While most universities are anchor institutions because of their scale, few are truly civic institutions, like the University of Sheffield, with a focused and deliberate strategy of civic impact that runs through all of its activities.

Economic Impact Assessment report


Student volunteering

Read the full Economic Impact Assessment

This independent report by BiGGAR Economics was commissioned by the University in 2020 based on the most recently completed academic year 2018-19. Full methodology is covered in the report.

Download Economic Impact Assessment report (PDF, 25.8MB)

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