THE University of Southampton has made calls for the government to harness the potential of higher education to "supercharge" the city's recovery.

On Monday, the university joined with leader Russell Group universities to ask the Government to harness the jobs, skills and investment universities bring to the community as they look to recover from Covid-19.

The Vice Chancellor of Southampton says the track record of universities in attracting investment, creating new jobs and providing local employers with skilled workers means they have the experience and capability to drive a "rapid recovery".

As members of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, Southampton is among the UK’s top universities.

Between 2014 and 2020, more than 4,200 new jobs were created by spinouts linked to Southampton University with those 364 active companies having a combined turnover of £573m and bringing £162m of investment to the region.

As the Government looks ahead to its Comprehensive Spending Review in the Autumn, the Russell Group is calling on it to scale up funding to nurture existing and scale developing regional innovation clusters.

The group has also proposed a series of other measures, many of which are low cost, to supercharge university-business collaboration, boost local economies and create jobs.

Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, said: “We are proud of our record on creating jobs and drawing investment into the local area, which benefits the regional economy by £1.3 billion, including almost a billion in the City of Southampton itself.

“We know the Government has a challenging economic task ahead when every pound of public money spent must be carefully balanced. 

"Our experience in Southampton shows that supporting clusters of companies built around the University’s cutting-edge technology can help create and keep highly skilled jobs in the region."

Southampton University currently employs over six thousand staff and educates twenty-four thousand students, generating another fourteen thousand jobs in the City and nearly twenty thousand in the wider region.