The Sussex effect: University spend in UK economy to hit £1 billion by 2018, says report

University of Sussex activity is estimated to have led to £600 million in expenditure in the UK economy in 2012-13 – a figure that could hit £1 billion by 2018, says a new report published today (05 March 2014). 

The report, The Economic Impact of the University of Sussex [PDF 6.4MB], produced by economic analysts Oxford Economics, was commissioned by the University to gauge its social and economic impact on the local and regional economies as it prepares to expand over the next five years. 

Oxford Economics drew on data from the financial year 2012-13 for the report. It found that: 

  • The University supported a £274 million gross value added contribution to UK GDP;
  • The University contributed £197 million of the economic output created in Brighton and Hove and Lewes. This is projected to rise to £285 million by 2018;
  •  Economic activity linked to the University supported 3,700 jobs in the local area, increasing to 4,500 supported jobs across the South East region;
  • 10,500 of the 13,830 students at Sussex live in the local area, with a quarter remaining and taking up work in the area following graduation;
  • The University is a significant employer, with nearly three-quarters of its 2,200-strong workforce living in the local area of Brighton and Hove and Lewes;
  • The report showed that the University’s ‘value-added’ contribution direct to the local economy is projected to rise by 45 per cent to £285 million by 2018;
  • The local economy benefits further from expenditure by families, friends and others who visit students in the area, as well as by employee expenditure locally. 

The figures are projected to rise as the University plans to grow by fifty per cent over the next five years and increase student numbers from the current 13,000 to 18,000 by 2018. The University recently unveiled its new campus masterplan that will allow for new buildings on campus. More on-site accommodation will mean that up to 40 per cent of students – the largest proportion to date – can be housed on campus. 

University of Sussex Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Farthing says: “Exciting times lie ahead for the University, for the City of Brighton and Hove and the wider local economy. Sussex is expanding to ensure its place in the world of global education and research. At the same time, new technologies and innovation are opening up great opportunities in vibrant cities such as Brighton and Hove that can draw on the expertise that universities can provide. Students love Brighton and many of them stay to enrich the city in so many ways. We want to see that relationship continue to evolve and prosper as the University grows.”   

Other benefits to the local economy noted by the report include access to University facilities and expertise, including the Sussex Innovation Centre for new high-tech businesses, and the University Conference Centre, which attracts thousands of visitors to Brighton and Hove.  

Sussex research in areas including biomedical research, astrophysics, the social sciences and cultural partnerships also serve to raise the profile of Brighton and Hove and the wider region and attract more visitors, says the report. The University of Sussex is also joint partner with the University of Brighton in the highly successful Brighton and Sussex Medical School. 

Beyond economic contributions, the report notes the University’s contribution to education in the local area. During 2012-13, the University hosted 230 events for schools and colleges to encourage participation in higher education, while University of Sussex students provided more than 4,500 hours of tutoring and mentoring in local schools. More than 1,000 students also volunteered during 2012-13, to either enhance student life or to support local community organisations. 


Notes for Editors 

The Economic Impact of the University of Sussex, by Oxford Economics, is available online. 

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune and Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email: 

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Last updated: Monday, 12 May 2014