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A young female scientist in a lab coat looking through a stethoscope.

Research-intensive universities, including Durham, generated almost £900million for the North East of England through research, innovation and the creation of new businesses, according to a new report.

The 24 universities, represented by the Russell Group, contributed £37.6billion to the UK economy overall.

Within the North East region, Durham and Newcastle universities supported close to 10,000 jobs through their research and innovation activities.

The Russell Group is now urging the Government to maximise the economic potential of the UK’s research-intensive universities by ensuring at least 3% of GDP is invested into R&D by 2030.

Regional impact

This latest report follows an independent analysis we commissioned in 2022 which explored how we contribute to the economic, cultural and social vibrancy of our area. This showed that for every £1 of funding we received, we generated £4.80 in economic impact for the UK.

Behind these statistics are real life stories of flourishing businesses, jobs and social benefits the University brings to the region.

We champion business through NETPark and the Orbit University Enterprise Zone. We also support events and festivals such as Lumiere, Durham Book Festival and Durham City Run festival. Meanwhile, our sciences and collections outreach programmes are inspiring the next generation with annual events and workshops.

Job creation

The Russell Group analysis showed that activities such as the creation of spin-out companies, knowledge exchange and Intellectual Property licensing supported close to 10,000 jobs in the region.

This is in addition to the economic impact generated by wider productivity spill overs, teaching and education-related activities, and the fees and spending from international students.

Contribution to net- zero construction

One example of a spin-out business from Durham University is Low Carbon Materials (LCM) which produces environmentally friendly building materials to make net-zero construction a reality.

Set up by three young Durham University scientists, with support from Northern Accelerator, LCM is shaping the green construction sector with its science-based, lower carbon, building material called OSTO. This is a carbon-negative lightweight aggregate for concrete, produced out of waste and by-products. The product makes traditional carbon-intensive blocks carbon-zero, thereby reducing their environmental impact. 

The company was named as one of three international finalists in the Fix Our Climate category, in the world’s most prestigious environmental prize, The Earthshot Prize, 2022.

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