Extraordinary Impact

The University of Edinburgh is an economic powerhouse for the UK economy, generating £7.5 billion annually.

Source: London Economics

Our research and knowledge exchange activities contributed £3.2 billion annually to the UK economy

Research and knowledge exchange

The University of Edinburgh's research and knowledge exchange activities account for approximately £3.2 billion annually, which is 42% of our total impact.

A sevenfold return on investment. Every pound spent by the University produced £6.90 in economic benefit across the UK.

Economic benefit

Every pound spent by the University produced £6.90 in economic benefit across the UK, corresponding to a 34% increase in impact from 2015-16.

Our entrepreneurs create an impact of £162 million and support 1,830 jobs through start-ups and spin-outs.

Supporting our entrepreneurs

We provide comprehensive support for student and staff businesses, with over £30 million of investment raised by student-founded businesses.

Total economic impact of the University

London Economics were commissioned to assess the economic impact of the University of Edinburgh, focusing on the 2021-22 academic year. 

The total economic impact on the UK associated with the University of Edinburgh’s activities was estimated at £7.52 billion: ​

  • The University of Edinburgh’s research and knowledge exchange activities account for approximately £3.2 billion* of this impact​.

  • The value of the University of Edinburgh’s teaching and learning activities stands at £857 million.​

  • The impact of the University of Edinburgh’s educational exports stands at £1.8 billion.

  • The impact of the tourism associated with the University of Edinburgh stands at £180 million.​

  • The impact generated by the operating and capital expenditure of the University of Edinburgh stands at £1.5 billion.

  • Compared to the University of Edinburgh’s total operational costs of £1,086 million in 2021-22, this corresponds to a benefit-to-cost ratio of approximately 6.9:1.

*This estimate includes the direct, indirect and induced impacts of spinout and start-up companies.

We wouldn’t be where we are without our people. We value the contributions of every individual regardless of whether they are students, staff, alumni or the many partners we work with.

As a world-leading centre of academic excellence, we aim to make a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK and the world. This study strongly indicates the hugely important economic role that the University of Edinburgh plays within Scotland and beyond.

We have more than 400 years of excellence behind us, but we’re not done yet. Working together, we can make the next 400 years even better.

Professor Sir Peter Mathieson Principal and Vice-Chancellor, the University of Edinburgh
Video: Economic and social impact video
An independent report has found that the University of Edinburgh generates £7.52 billion per year to the UK economy. In the academic year 2021-2022, every pound spent by the University produced £6.90 in economic benefit across the UK, a 34 per cent increase in impact since 2015-16. Find out more about our economic and social impact: Economic and Social Impact
Old College

London Economics Impact Report

Download the full report in Word or PDF format.

These documents can be made available in a range of accessible formats. Contact Communications and Marketing: communications.office@ed.ac.uk

Explore our impact

Tidal turbine from above in the sea

Tidal turbines produce green, cheap and plentiful energy from an abundant source. Fastblade can test in a few months how new designs will fare across decades in raging seas, which could provoke a sea change for the industry.

In a world awash with data, pioneering hands-on-lessons are showing school pupils how data literacy can boost everything from PE to art and give them a head start in the future economy.

Connected people

The pandemic brought a decade-old project out of hibernation, but now EAVE II’s success in using health data to fight Covid-19 could point to the future of combating other diseases.

Andy Lang, Potter of Leith, leader of the Leith Covid Memorial Tiles community project

Since launching a Community Grant scheme in 2017, the University has invested over £555,000 in more than 210 community projects in south-east Scotland.