Heriot-Watt has contributed to a major independent report on the economic impact of engineering in the UK.
Engineering contribution to the UK economy
The report, ‘Assessing the economic returns of engineering research and postgraduate training in the UK’, by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Royal Academy of Engineering, estimates that engineering-related sectors contributed circa £280 billion in gross value added (GVA) in 2011, equivalent to 20% of the UK’s total GVA. Engineering-related sectors exported goods and services valued at around £239 billion in 2011, some 48% of the total value of exports for that year.
The report also flags up the importance of engineering research to key sectors and highlights the fact that sectors with high concentrations of graduate engineers report high levels of innovation activity and productivity. The quality of engineering research carried out in the UK and our world class engineering facilities and businesses attract substantial high-value, high-tech inward investment from around the world.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
Heriot-Watt was among a number of higher education institutes to contribute by submitting case studies from the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), including, jointly with the University of Edinburgh, the UK’s top ranking and largest submission on General Engineering.
Professor Dame Ann Dowling DBE FREng FRS, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said, “UK businesses invest nearly £10 billion a year in engineering research, but the private sector alone cannot create all of the growth initiatives. Technological advances increasingly drive economic growth and increased public investment in engineering research is essential if we wish to keep pace with our global competitors. We must build and nurture strong relationships between industry and the university sector and its unique research capabilities. This kind of collaboration is crucial to developing innovative products and creating new technology-led services.”
Professor Philip Nelson FREng, EPSRC’s Chief Executive, said, “This joint report shows the benefits of investing in research, discovery and innovation. However, if we are to maintain the UK’s position as an innovation crucible we must be prepared to plan for the long term with sustained support for our research base and training for the engineers of tomorrow.”
The full report can be found here