According to the report entitled The Economic Contribution of LERU Universities, the 21 member universities of LERU contributed a total economic value of 71 billion euros in gross value added (GVA) and 900,065 jobs across Europe in 2014. The University of Helsinki’s contribution was 2.5 billion euros and 40,000 jobs.
“Universities are more than just an expense item in the Governmental budget; rather, they also generate economic prosperity and jobs outside the public sector. We can be satisfied with our results, which are in line with those of other research universities,” says Rector Jukka Kola of the University of Helsinki.
The report shows that in 2014, students of the University of Helsinki contributed 684 million euros and 17,000 jobs to the European economy. The calculations take into account the fact that, besides participating in university teaching, students spend money on various services outside the academic community.
On average, the University of Helsinki concludes research contracts with companies in the value of 25 million euros and generates seven active start-up companies annually. Moreover, in 2014 the University of Helsinki Group invested 64.6 million euros in construction projects in Finland.
Adequate funding for universities supports national competitiveness
“As the figures in the report demonstrate, investing in research, innovation and education really pays off!” states LERU Secretary-General, Professor Kurt Deketelaere. In 2014 LERU universities received 16.3 billion euros in income and generated a total economic impact of 71.2 billion euros. That implies that LERU universities generated 4.37 euros in GVA for every euro of income earned.
“As indicated in the report, the contribution of research universities is greater than that of the direct GVA and employment of the automotive industry, the pharmaceutical and real estate sectors in Europe,” says LERU Chair, Professor Alain Beretz.
The report provides sound evidence of how research universities make essential contributions to the European economy. As such, the impact of universities should be better understood and recognised, and European and national policymakers should better acknowledge their economic and societal contributions. “Providing universities with adequate funding will clearly benefit the European economy, contributing to Europe´s growth and competitiveness,” affirms Professor Deketelaere.
Although the report focuses on the economic impact, it also acknowledges the diverse ways in which universities contribute to society and how their activities bring about wider benefits.
Gross value added (GVA) is a measure of the economic value of goods and services produced in a given area; it is the total value of output less the value of intermediate inputs.