Media Release: Report – Heriot-Watt on track to support 7,000 jobs

• Heriot-Watt graduates earn more than those from other universities
• The University currently supports over 6,200 jobs
• Five-year plan aims to generate £300 million for Scottish economy

A NEW report published today [04 December 2012] shows that Heriot-Watt University graduates will earn 14 per cent more over their life-times than graduates of other higher education institutions thanks to their skills being highly sought after [see note 1].

Recently ranked Scottish University of the Year 2012/13 [see note 2] and in the Top Ten UK universities for graduate employment [note 3], Heriot-Watt is also shown to generate £8 for the Scottish economy for every £1 of core funding [note 4].

The statistics are published in an independent report on the University’s economic impact, conducted by BiGGAR Economics, covering impacts across campuses at Edinburgh (including the Heriot-Watt Research Park), Orkney and Borders.

Other findings are that Heriot-Watt University:

• Generates £278.2 million Gross Value Added (GVA) annually for the Scottish economy and supports 6,254 jobs
• Has pioneered the generation of export earnings from Scottish higher education institutions
• Attracts £74 million income from overseas each year (including research funding and spend by international students and visitors) and £28 million from the rest of the UK, earnings that support 1,500 jobs in Scotland.

Professor Steve Chapman, principal of Heriot-Watt University, said: “This report is great news for Heriot-Watt and the Scottish economy. I’m very proud our contribution is so significant and that we can show lasting benefits in increased earnings for graduates, jobs for businesses and growing international exports.

“We have ambitious plans for the future and I look forward to continuing to strengthen our capacity in supporting business, industry and the wider economy.”

The economic impact study was published at the same time as the university’s Strategic Plan for 2013 to 2018 which outlines an ambitious raft of measures to build on its achievements over the next five years including to:

• Double the scale of international activity [see note 5]
• Generate at least a further £23 million impact annually; and
• Support almost 800 more jobs in the Scottish economy, bringing the total to approximately 7,000.

After the direct impact of the University’s day-to-day activity, the single largest source of impact is knowledge exchange and commercialisation activity, which contributes £56.5 million GVA to the Scottish economy each year and supports 605 jobs (estimated to grow to £93.1 million GVA and 926 jobs by 2014).

Heriot-Watt University enjoys strong and well-established relationships with a wide range of industrial partners and has a dedicated team which helps academics and students to transfer knowledge and skills into the work place or to bring new products and services to the market.


For further information contact: or phone 0131 556 0770 / 07584 474 232.

Notes to editors

1. This figure relates to the graduate premium (chapter nine of the report). It was calculated based on evidence in a study undertaken by Pricewaterhouse Coopers that found that over a working lifetime, a typical graduate earns around £160,000 more than an individual with two or more A-levels. Within this average result, the report found considerable variation between different types of courses. The impact for HWU was calculated based on the number of graduates from each type of programme and because there is a high concentration of courses at HWU that are associated with a high graduate premium – e.g. Engineering – this means that the average life-time earnings of graduates from HWU is higher than average.

2. The Sunday Times 2013 University Guide named Heriot-Watt University
• Scottish University of the Year 2012/13 (for the second year running)
• UK University of the Year 2012/13 for student experience
• Number Nine in the UK overall

3. National Student Survey 2012 (based on responses to all questions from FT degree students) named Heriot-Watt University
• No 1 in Scotland and No 4 in UK
• In the Top Ten for graduate employment in the UK (over 94 per cent of graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduation)
• Top in UK for Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering; Psychology; and Planning

4. This figure is calculated by dividing the total GVA impact (excluding graduate premium) by the total amount of funding received from the SFC in 2010/11. Although it would be possible to calculate an equivalent figure for other universities, this could be misleading because the institutions are so different.

5. See section 13.2 of the report, which looks at the additional impact that HWU might be able to generate if it achieves its objective of doubling international activity. These numbers are calculated by doubling the number of international students in Scottish campuses.

6. Heriot-Watt University specialises in subjects across science, technology, engineering, business and design, with a particular focus on developing solutions to critical global issues, such as climate change and energy. The university has five campuses in Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders, Orkney Dubai and Malaysia.

7. The study was published on 04 December 2012 and was prepared by BiGGAR Economics. It considered the impact of the university’s four campuses in Edinburgh, the Scottish Borders, Orkney and Dubai and the impact affiliates such as the Edinburgh Business School, the Edinburgh Conference Centre and the Heriot-Watt University Research Park.

8. Biggar Economics, Tel: 0131 440 9032,,

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