Media Release: New University of the Highlands and Islands estimated to contribute £191m to Scottish economy

THE University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) is estimated to contribute £191m every year to the Scottish economy, supporting 3,300 full time jobs – according to a new, independent economic impact assessment.

And continues the study, Scotland’s newest university also helps to sustain a further contribution of £202m every year and 2,700 jobs through the further education provision of the 13 academic partners and research institutions in the partnership.

The report – ‘Economic impact of the University of the Highlands and Islands and its academic partners’ – showed that for every £1 invested in UHI, the university put back nearly £4 into the Scottish economy.

Welcoming the findings, UHI principal and vice-chancellor, James Fraser, said: “This research was commissioned to measure the impact the University of the Highlands and Islands is having on the economies of Scotland, our operating area in the Highlands and Islands and Perthshire and at a local partner level.

“It shows that investment in UHI from the public purse has a demonstrable benefit and, in these uncertain economic times, it is right to analyse that benefit and let people know the value UHI brings to their communities.

“It reaffirms our belief that there is a tangible economic difference to be made by UHI delivering higher education in partnership with our constituent colleges and research centres, many of whom who also deliver further education in their respective communities.”

However, Mr Fraser has warned that UHI will need a greater share of public funding if it is to achieve its objectives. In the run-up to the Holyrood election in May, UHI is lobbying the political parties to press its case.

He explained: “A new university awakens high levels of expectation in its community. UHI is no exception. We have to generate the academic and financial strength to grow our activities in order to satisfy the demand for education, training, learning and research.

“There are enormous expectations on UHI as a new university to recruit more young people in our region and to attract more students to our region from the rest of Scotland and the UK. We can only satisfy these expectations by attracting a greater share of public funding than we have historically received.

“We are in the ironic position of being able to accept more students from outside the UK, because we charge them full cost fees, but not able to grow the number of students from the UK and Europe, because of government funding constraints.

“Scotland has created a new university; Scotland must ensure that it progresses to maturity by allocating exceptional funding in the early years.”

The study, which looks at data supplied from 2009/10, examined:

  • Direct impacts of the university, including staff employed and their spending in their home area, associated services and resulting jobs
  • Student impact including their spend and jobs through part-time work during study
  • Additional economic activity through attracting and retaining graduates
  • Increased productivity from higher qualification levels
  • Research commercialisation and the liaison between education and business
  • Tourism
  • Capital projects eg new building works

It also details these impacts with regard to the UHI academic partners and research institutions in their particular areas.

The report has been compiled by BiGGAR Economics which recently completed similar research for Universities Scotland.


Media contact

Glenda Johnson

UHI media relations officer

01463 279222

Notes to editors:

Economic impact of the University of the Highlands and Islands and its academic partners – a report by BiGGAR Economics – is available on the UHI website

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) covers the region, including Moray and Perthshire, in a partnership of 13 partner colleges and research institutions, and a network of over fifty outreach learning centres.

UHI gained full university status in February 2011, evolving from the higher education institution UHI Millennium Institute.

There are currently 8156 students studying on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or undertaking postgraduate research with UHI.

UHI is the only university based in the Highlands and Islands with a mission to strengthen and develop the social, economic and cultural prospects of the region. It uses a blend of learning methods, including traditional classroom and video-conferencing tutorials.

UHI is a limited company registered in Scotland No. 148203. Scottish charity No. SC022228. Registered office: 12B, Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5SQ.

UHI is:

Argyll College UHI

Highland Theological College UHI, Dingwall

Inverness College UHI

Lews Castle College UHI, Lewis

Moray College UHI

NAFC Marine Centre UHI, Shetland

North Highland College UHI

Orkney College UHI

Perth College UHI

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, Skye

Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI, Dunstaffnage

Shetland College UHI

West Highland College UHI

MEDIA RELEASE posted by UHI. You too can post media releases (aka press releases) on For more information, email here.

Contact: Alison Hay
Phone: 01463 279206