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Norfolk's newest £1bn business revealed

PUBLISHED: 15:04 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:04 06 June 2019

BBC Radio 4, Today programme broadcasting live from the University of East Anglia earlier in 2019. Picture: UEA

BBC Radio 4, Today programme broadcasting live from the University of East Anglia earlier in 2019. Picture: UEA

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See how the newest £1bn business in Norfolk is benefitting the region - and the country.

Aerial view of UEA - June 2018. Picture: Mike PageAerial view of UEA - June 2018. Picture: Mike Page

Just over £1bn.

This is the amount of economic benefit that the first and largest university in Norfolk and Suffolk now contributes to the local, regional and national economies.

Prof David Richardson, vice chancellor of the University of East Anglia, at the launch of the university's 2019 economic and civic impact assessment at the Norwich Castle keep. Picture: David KirkhamProf David Richardson, vice chancellor of the University of East Anglia, at the launch of the university's 2019 economic and civic impact assessment at the Norwich Castle keep. Picture: David Kirkham

The University of East Anglia (UEA) commissioned the study into its economic and civic impact, which was measured through staff and student expenditure, job creation, research and community activities.

The resulting report reveals the university is now worth £1.04bn to the UK economy - a 20pc rise from the £832.5m total recorded in UEA's last economic impact assessment in 2016.

Some 45pc of this is created in Norwich, 18pc in the rest of Norfolk and Suffolk and 34pc in the rest of the East of England.

The report showed 9,801 jobs are supported by the university across the UK - 46pc in Norwich and 51pc in Norfolk, Suffolk and the rest of the East of England.

UEA medical students throw their caps at the 2018 graduation ceremony at Norwich City Football Club's ground. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYUEA medical students throw their caps at the 2018 graduation ceremony at Norwich City Football Club's ground. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

It also revealed the university's 17,955 students - 41pc of whom are from the East of England - spend some £224m a year in the local economy on living and entertainment.

Prof Fiona Lettice, UEA pro vice chancellor of research and innovation, said the increased economic value was partly due to growth in student and staff numbers, with 23,000 people now studying or working at the UEA.

Action from the Norfolk Athletics Championships, UEA Sportspark. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodAction from the Norfolk Athletics Championships, UEA Sportspark. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

"Sometimes people say there is a tension between being strong in your region and being strong internationally but we think there are benefits of doing both," she said.

"We do not think regional and international are mutually exclusive. We help to bring our international contacts to the region which makes for a richer and more creative environment."

The University of East Anglia (UEA) has recently approved plans for a new £65m teaching building along with refurbishment to the Grade-II listed Lasdun Wall. Picture: UEAThe University of East Anglia (UEA) has recently approved plans for a new £65m teaching building along with refurbishment to the Grade-II listed Lasdun Wall. Picture: UEA

Launching the report during an event at the Norwich Castle keep on Thursday, UEA vice chancellor Prof David Richardson said the university's research was making an impact on global issues including climate change as well as helping to improve social mobility in the region, while facilities such as its volunteer-staffed law clinic and the UEA Sportspark helped it make a community impact as well as an academic one.

"We are still a relatively young university at 56 years old but I think we more than hold our own," he said.

"This is all about partnership. The UEA would not exist is it were not for our predecessors agitating government that Norwich should not only be a fine city but a university city, that the people of Norfolk and Suffolk needed a university for the betterment of their communities."

Community impact at UEA

Tests on the AutoNaut' robot at the UEA. Dr Martin Wadley, who designed and constructed the tests.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYTests on the AutoNaut' robot at the UEA. Dr Martin Wadley, who designed and constructed the tests. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The UEA Sportspark exemplifies the community benefits the university is striving to create.

Built with Lottery funding and run by the university, the sportspark has more than 1.3 million visits a year with 80pc of its users being from the community rather than UEA.

Building 57 (The Julian Study Centre), at the University of East Anglia. Picture: SubmittedBuilding 57 (The Julian Study Centre), at the University of East Anglia. Picture: Submitted

All profits - the sportspark has made an average surplus of more than £500,000 for the past five years - are reinvested in its facilities and community programmes.

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Sportspark director Phil Steele said the economic and civic impact report was a valuable opportunity for the park to measure the its impact.

"The way it operates gives precedence to the community," he said.

Mr Steele said the Sportspark is currently working to increase the number of children and young people using its facilities, working with organisations such as Active Norfolk and with schools through its Progress outreach programme.

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