27 Sep 2022
A new report from GuildHE has highlighted the huge impact of smaller and specialist universities and includes a case study showcasing the RAU’s excellent knowledge exchange activities.
Building the Jigsaw, an in-depth study of the key role of smaller and specialist universities in their local, national, and international economies, demonstrates that these universities, which are frequently located in smaller towns, on the edge of cities, or in rural or coastal locations, are well-positioned to stimulate the growth of key priority economies, such as the creative industries, health, and agriculture, in a landscape which includes the Government’s levelling up agenda and the plan to increase investment in research and development to 2.4 per cent of the GDP by 2027.
Anthony McClaran, GuildHE Chair and Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University Twickenham, said: “Many small and specialist universities are innovative, agile industry experts that carry out high impact, practical research and knowledge exchange. This important report brings new evidence to the sector and a new approach to capturing the local, national and international economic impact of their work.”
The report, which uses a combined experimental heat mapping and case studies approach to highlight the local, national and international economic impact of smaller and specialist UK higher education institutions, brings new evidence to the sector by capturing knowledge exchange activities not always apparent in traditional statistics and often in unexpected locations throughout the UK.
The RAU was among 11 UK higher institutions to contribute to the report which highlights five case studies, including Feeding the Nation: The Agricultural Sector which features the work of the RAU.
The studies reveal a surprising number of initiatives and collaborations being undertaken by smaller and specialist institutions that are driving impact, prosperity, and actively addressing local, regional, national and even international, economic, social and cultural challenges.
RAU Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter McCaffery commented: “The RAU is a local, national, and global player, committed to making a difference in addressing challenges such as climate change, food security, sustainable land use, biodiversity loss, and heritage management that are universal.
“This report is a timely reminder of the distinctive and significant contribution that small and specialist universities like ourselves make to the economy, society, and international communities.”