Oxford University’s Economic Impact

Last year the University commissioned London Economics to produce a report on the economic impact of its activity. It revealed that the University contributed around £15.7 billion to the UK economy in 2018/19, and more than 28,000 full time equivalent jobs were supported by knowledge exchange activities.

The work modelled the economic impact of a range of University activities as illustrated below.


Diagram Oxford's economic impact: the University’s research and knowledge exchange activities (£7.9 b), teaching and learning activities (£422m), educational exports (£732 m), spending of University/colleges (£6 b), contribution to tourism (£611m)

Compared to the University’s total operational costs of approximately £2.6 billion in 2018-19, the total economic contribution of the University of Oxford’s activities to the UK corresponds to a multiplier of 6.1. The report also found that every £1 invested in University of Oxford research and knowledge exchange activities generated £10.30 to the wider UK economy.

The University has an obvious impact on the city and the county but the economic benefits of the University’s impact are not only felt in the South East. The total economic impact in regions outside the South East was over £4 billion (38%), with impacts in excess of £100 million occurring in each region outside of the South East.

The report provides compelling evidence that our research-intensive universities are key contributors to the prosperity of the United Kingdom.  Every pound invested in our universities, which bring together world-class research and outstanding teaching, has the power to transform our economy and our society. The University will use the report to continue to make this point to government, funders and other interested parties.

Professor Patrick Grant, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research

Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), initiated the project which was managed by Dr Helen Carstairs, Innovation and Engagement Team, Research Services with a steering group representing the divisions, GLAM, Research Services and Oxford University Innovation.

It is always interesting to be reminded of the scale and breadth of the University’s activity and its impact, especially when I only focus on particular aspects of it in my day to day job.

Dr Helen Carstairs, Innovation and Engagement Team, Research Service

Over 40 colleagues from across the collegiate University were involved in pulling together the data that was required. In the project wrap up London Economics explicitly mentioned the timely delivery of all the data they had requested. This was on top of people’s normal workloads, and came at a time when we were all dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and working from home, so their efforts were even more appreciated.

This report highlights the impact that the University has on the wider UK economy. The colleges that are a vital part of the University contribute to this success through their support of teaching, research and learning together with the jobs their create in the local community through their domestic provision to students and staff. 

Charles Alexander, Finance Bursar, Merton College and Chair of the Estates Bursars' Committee, Conference of Colleges

As part of the action plan for the University’s Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2021-25 the report will be repeated every three years. This will provide a benchmark and help in part to “update our understanding of our rapidly growing societal and economic impact at local, regional, national and international level” (Priority 7).

If you would like to find out more about the results or the methodology you can view the report online.

A toolkit, which includes facts, graphics and slides can be downloaded here to support presentations or communications about the University.

Great message and brilliant graphics for easy dissemination - will be really useful! 

Professor Laura Herz, Department of Physics

ecoomic impact infographic