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University spin-off companies employ 39,000 people

Graduates started up more than 3,500 new businesses in the UK last year, an official report shows.

The publication by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, shows levels of higher education and business interaction and the extent to which universities are embedded in the economy and communities.

The survey, completed by all publicly funded UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), shows that 126 spin-offs were started with some HEI ownership in 2012/13. The spin-off companies employed nearly 39,000 people, and over 3,500 graduate start-up companies were formed.

The HE Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey also provides information about the various types of interaction with businesses and communities and the income earned by HEIs from activities such as contract research, consultancy, hire of facilities and intellectual property.

Income from these sources increase from £3.39 million in 2011/12 to £3.57 million in 2012/13. Areas of growth included collaborative research involving public funding, contract research, consultancy contracts and continuing professional development courses. The biggest earner was contracted research which brought in £1.16 million in 2012/13.

The annual analysis of the HE-BCI data by HEFCE will be published at the end of May.