Universiteit Leiden

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Economic impact of universities greater than that of automotive and real estate sectors

The 21 universities of the League of European Research Universities have an enormous economic impact: more than 900,000 jobs and 71.2 billion euros in 2014. Each job at a member university results in 6 jobs elsewhere. Leiden University is a member of the League.

Deserves recognition

These statements can be found in the Economic Contribution of the LERU Universities, the report of a survey carried out by British research agency BiGGAR Economics at the request of the League of European Research Universities (LERU).

LERU president Professor Alain Beretz commented, ‘The economic impact of research universities and universities in general deserves recognition. As the report states, their contribution in gross added value in Europe is greater than that of the automotive industry, the pharmaceutical industry and the real estate sector.’

Five categories

The economic impact was assessed on the basis of two broadly accepted indicators: the number of jobs and the gross added value. The researchers distinguished five categories as sources of economic value and calculated what these generate.

  • Contribution from the main tasks of the universities: expenditure on goods and services, money spent by staff in local economies, and investment in capital 
    375,683 jobs 
    23.9 billion in gross value added

  • Student-related contribution: student expenditure, student employment (outside the LERU universities), student volunteering and student placements 
    220,184 jobs 
    9.7 billion gross value added

  • Contribution from knowledge transfer, enterprise and innovation activity: technology licensing, consultancy, contract and collaborative research, spin-outs and start-ups, research and science parks, workforce training and staff volunteering 
    298,489 jobs 
    21.9 billion in gross value added

  • Contribution from staff and student travel: visits to staff and students and attendance at conferences at the LERU universities 
    5,708 jobs 
    300 million in gross value added

  • Graduate premium: the life-time productivity gains from teaching and learning 
    15.4 billion in gross value added

 

And more

The LERU report mentions other forms of economic impact, such as the international students who come to Europe from outside the EU and contribute to European exports earnings, estimated at €1.7 billion per year for the European economy through the fees they pay and their spending in the wider economy. Extrapolating the impact of LERU universities, the research universities sector was estimated to contribute over €300 billion GVA and to support 3.8 million jobs across Europe, representing 2.2% of all GVA and 1.8% of all employment in the EU. Finally, for each €1 in GVA directly generated by the LERU universities, there was a total contribution of almost €6 to the European economy, and every job directly created by the LERU universities supported almost 6 jobs in the European economy.

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