Research Impact: UK Higher Education’s influence across society and economy unveiled

The standout impact which The University of Manchester has upon the city-region is highlighted in a recent evaluation of the REF2021 impact case studies (ICS) commissioned by Research England and UKRI. The analysis examined the wide-reaching societal and economic impacts of all REF 2021 impact case studies at local, national and international levels.

Focusing on key government policy areas-COVID-19, Net Zero, and Place-the study dived deeply into around 267 Impact Case Studies.

Conducted by RAND Europe, Different Angles, and Electric Data Solutions, The University’s research impact was a focal point across the analysis and showcases our extensive influence across various stakeholders and geographic levels.

Professor Colette Fagan, Vice-President for Research, said: “I am delighted that this report highlights examples of how our research and innovation brings economic, health and cultural benefits for our city-region as well as nationally and internationally.”

Emphasising impacts within Greater Manchester, the report particularly highlighted the University’s role in Covid-19 and Net Zero, underscoring collaborations with Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the profound impact on Climate, Health, and Industry and Commerce. Co-production and collaboration emerged as pivotal drivers of impact, notably through close ties with GMCA.

Notable Impacts:

• Climate: The University of Manchester’s contributions in developing decentralised climate strategies influenced local climate action. Projects like Horizon 2020 RESIN and Tyndall Centre’s research methodologies significantly shaped climate strategies across Europe and the UK.

• Health: From pioneering healthcare research to advancements in diagnostic technologies, the University’s work through the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) Greater Manchester brought tangible improvements in primary healthcare services and diagnostic methodologies, impacting both locally and internationally.

• Industry and Commerce: Manchester’s collaborative ties between HEIs and the health industry, supported by local authorities, significantly drive positive health outcomes. Initiatives like Health Innovation Manchester and Manchester Biomedical Research Centre showcase effective collaborations aiding in commercialisation and innovation. University of Manchester Innovation Factory has driven the commercialisation of UoM’s innovations and intellectual property. The analysis also picks out the ‘meaningful contribution’ to commerce and industry in the area, supporting the creation and sustenance of multiple start-ups, for example, SpiNNaker.

This study underscores the multifaceted impacts of UK HEIs’ research contributions, showcasing their pivotal role in shaping policies and driving tangible societal and economic transformations.

/Public Release. View in full here.