St Andrews economic impact grows to £484 million

Tuesday 5 February 2013

The University of St Andrews contributes over £484 million per year to the Scottish economy and supports over 8,900 full time jobs, according to a new economic impact report.

Scotland’s oldest university, one of the country’s smallest, has increased its economic impact by £179 million a year since 2008-09, according to the independent report produced by Midlothian-based BiGGAR Economics. St Andrews has 7,777 full-time students and employs 2355 staff.

The report – Economic Impact of the University of St Andrews 2011-12 – found that for every £1 of public teaching and research grant invested in St Andrews, the University now returns £12.10 to the Scottish economy.

However, the number of full-time jobs supported by St Andrews has fallen from 9,197 in 2008-09 to 8,913 last year. The University says this is due to general changes in the economy and particularly a requirement to spend more on rising external utilities charges, even although its energy consumption has flat-lined for the last two years.

University leaders say the study demonstrates that Scotland’s universities are generators of significant wealth in local and national economies, rather than simply consumers of public funds.

St Andrews received approximately £40 million last year in public funding from the Scottish Funding Council – but returned £484 million to the Scottish economy.

The report authors looked at the impacts of core university spending, staff and student spending, business and spin-out activity, capital spend, tourism and community projects in financial year 2011-12.

By themselves, St Andrews students contributed £53.9 million and supported 1,791 full-time jobs in Scotland through direct spending, part-time work and international students coming to Scotland and staying on to work. In St Andrews itself, the student impact was £36.4 million a year, supporting 1,401 jobs.

Overall, the University generated £200.8 million for the St Andrews local economy, directly supporting 4,586 jobs in and around St Andrews and was responsible for 60% of all employment in the town.

St Andrews commercialisation and spin-out activities made £26.1 million for the Scottish economy and supported 324 full-time jobs.

The study also looked at the ‘graduate premium’ – the longer term effects of the University’s graduates on productivity in the economy.

The lifetime graduate premium of a single year’s cohort of graduates of the University was £15 million in the St Andrews economy and £95.9 million in the Scottish economy.

St Andrews Chief Operating Officer Derek Watson said:

“Like many other Scottish universities, St Andrews has grown to become an exporter of world-class teaching and research to the rest of the UK and overseas. Over a third of our student body now comes to study in Scotland from overseas.

“Our primary mission is and always will be the pursuit of excellence in education and research, but this analysis demonstrates that Scotland’s universities not only generate knowledge, but crucial wealth and employment.

“For every pound of Scottish Funding Council grant we receive, we generate and return £12 to economy. Or to turn it on its head, for every pound that St Andrews loses, Scotland will lose £12.

“In the three years since the last economic impact assessment, our annual gross contribution to the Scottish economy has grown by over £170 million a year to £484 million, partly due to an increasing spend by the University with local suppliers, our impact on tourism, spending by our staff, the premium of supplying well educated graduates to the economy and an improved ability to measure impact.

“If the UK economy is to require new stimuli to move out of recession, there is a strong argument that universities are one of the most reliable options for increased public investment, given their proven multiplier effect, the freedom to operate in international markets and the level of wealth and sustainable employment they are capable of generating for the country.”


Issued by the University of St Andrews Press Office

Contact: Niall Scott, Director of Communications

Tel: 01334 462530/2244

Mobile: 07711 223062

[email protected]

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