Inspiring Business by Sharing Success



The University of Nottingham has joined leading Russell Group universities in calling on the Government to harness the jobs, skills and investment universities bring to the community as they look to recover from Covid-19.  

The Vice Chancellor of Nottingham believes the track record of universities in attracting investment, creating new jobs and providing local employers with skilled workers means they have the experience and capability to drive a rapid recovery as the region looks to bounce back from Covid.  

 As a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, Nottingham is among the UK’s top universities and bring a range of benefits to the local area. Research-intensive universities in the region have been at the heart of innovation clusters based around emerging technologies, bringing high-skilled jobs and investment to the area.  

 Between 2014 and 2020, more than 3,300 new jobs were created by spinouts linked to the University of Nottingham. Those 928 active companies had a combined turnover of £350m and brought £240m of investment to the region. 

 The University of Nottingham boasts a total of 28 spin-out companies in its portfolio, which is valued at around £95m and managed by its wholly-owned subsidiary Nottingham Technology Ventures. One of the most recent of these is Cerca Magnetics – a wearable MRI scanner which is a quantum leap in brainscanning – building on the Sir Peter Mansfield legacy Nottingham is famed for.

The University has also recently launched an ambitious ‘Digital Nottingham’ programme, which combines data science, technology and innovation, as well as an ambition to tackle the digital skills gap identified by the D2N2 LEP. This exciting new collaboration draws on university expertise in harnessing the power of big data and linking the next generation of scale-up businesses to university expertise which can help them innovate and grow to support recovery, growth, investment and jobs across the region.

Nationally, the University is at the forefront of a number of key industrial challenges including decarbonisation, supporting companies including Rolls-Royce to develop future aerospace technologies, and through world-leading research into sustainable chemistry at its GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratories.

In addition to the high value jobs created by their business spin-out activities, the University currently employs around 7,900 staff, an increase of 6% over the last 5 years. 

As the Government looks ahead to its Comprehensive Spending Review in the Autumn, the Russell Group is calling on it to boost funding to nurture existing and scale-up developing regional innovation clusters that bring together research-intensive organisations, highly skilled researchers and academics, businesses of all sizes, and other key local players to exploit regional pockets of research and innovation excellence.  

 The group has also proposed a series of other measures, many of which are low cost, to supercharge university-business collaboration, boost local economies and create job, including tweaks to taxation facing businesses engaging in collaborative R&D, as well as the tax faced by universities when building new facilities which will be used for research collaborations with businesses.  

University of Nottingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said:

“Over the past year, UK universities have played a vital role in helping the country respond to the many challenges faced during the Covid-19 pandemic – training frontline workers, supporting local communities and contributing to cutting-edge research. While challenges remain, universities will also be at the heart of post-Covid regeneration, providing the knowledge and skills needed for the country to catalyse our economic and social recovery.  

“At Nottingham we have already invested in ambitious initiatives such as Digital Nottingham – to innovate and grow the next generation of scale-up businesses while also tackling the digital skills gap identified by the D2N2 LEP. 

“We are leading the field in delivering the government’s new Help to Grow training programme for SME leaders, providing a unified engagement with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to address the challenges facing our region. We are working to deliver Government priorities with a number of business support programmes specifically aimed at local SMEs, including a £1.6 million project to support the recovery of Nottingham’s cultural sector, and a productivity improvement programme to help businesses recover from the economic impact of Covid-19.

“We know the Government has a challenging economic task ahead when every pound of public money spent must be carefully balanced. However, by expanding schemes that have a proven track record of success and backing our universities, we believe the Government will see a huge return on investment and make a real difference to the lives of people in the Midlands.”

 Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said: 

“By supporting new innovation clusters around emerging technologies that have huge commercial potential and/or the ability to tackle some of the key issues facing UK and the world, the Government can help to unlock the potential of the UK’s regions.” 


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