London’s universities and businesses should work together better, says new report

London Higher’s Powering London: how universities drive growth through people, place and knowledge report shows the enormous contribution London’s universities and businesses make to London and the rest of the country. The report looks at the role universities play in four main areas: through teaching a diverse population of students and filling skills gaps; through providing world-class research and innovation, through contributing to their local communities, and through acting as a fundamental component of the city’s global appeal.  

The report, compiled in discussion with KPMG’s London Leaders’ Circle, makes several recommendations for how the business community and universities can work together that benefits London, its communities, and the wider UK. 

The report also hosts case studies from London Metropolitan University, University of East London, The Royal Veterinary College, Brunel University London and Imperial College London. 

In the report’s foreword, Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business said:  

As this report rightly showcases, working collaboratively, universities and businesses can amplify this impact even further. 

By collaborating, London’s universities and businesses are making an instrumental contribution to the Mayor’s vision to create a fairer, greener and more prosperous city.” 


London Higher’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Diana Beech said:  

“This report shows clearly how important universities are to their local communities, from providing key workers such as nurses, doctors and teachers among others, to the innovation created through their world-class research, to bolstering London’s reputation as a destination for investment and tourism. 

We hope this report will give universities and enterprise the push they need to develop more and stronger partnerships, kickstarting projects which will improve our local communities, and have global reach.” 


Muniya Barua, Deputy CEO of BusinessLDN, said:  

“Collaboration between London’s universities and business community plays a vital role in supporting our economy. It helps to foster innovative research and development, attract investment into London and the UK, and boost the availability of international talent. Both sectors should seize opportunities to work together even more closely to drive economic growth.” 


Anna Purchas, London Office Senior Partner & Regional Chair, KPMG UK said: 

“London’s higher education sector plays a hugely important role in driving innovation, talent and inclusive economic growth for London.  However, if our London businesses and our further education providers aren’t working closely together, we’ll miss out on the huge benefits for our capital and indeed the UK.  

The UK wide skills shortage is well recognised and, with access to over 100,000 skilled graduates in London every year, it makes sense that employers take a more active role in working with education providers to identify and drive the skills that their businesses need to grow fairly and sustainably.  

In order to become even more competitive on the global stage, London businesses need to harness and support the innovation, research and technology coming from our university-led incubators and accelerator spaces.  This report highlights how important our higher education institutions are to our business ecosystem and I look forward to a new phase of greater collaboration between our world class universities and businesses to drive growth across the whole of the UK.” 


Chris Kettle, Proposition & Engagement Manager, Commercial Banking, Natwest said: 

“Unlocking the power of partnerships is key to driving economic opportunity. Access to talent one of the key growth barriers we hear from businesses. This report demonstrates the role that partnerships between universities and businesses must play if we are to support people, families and businesses to thrive, and ensure London is to retain its place as a global powerhouse.”