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Business & Economy

University of Sunderland ranked best in North East for supporting start-ups

New data has revealed that University of Sunderland is in the top 10 per cent of universities nationally for contributing to local growth and regeneration.

According to the Research England’s Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), the university is estimated to be contributing a gross £43 million to the North East economy through projects like Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM).

Sunderland is also in the top 30 per cent nationally for research partnerships and graduate start-ups.

In fact, it was ranked number one in the North East for supporting start-ups, with 93 per cent of new businesses rating the support they received from Sunderland as high quality.

The data, available on the KEF’s website, informs a series of metrics that look at the performance of English Higher Education Providers (HEPs) from a variety of different perspectives.

Professor Jon Timmis, deputy vice-chancellor (commercial) at University of Sunderland, said: “We welcome the Knowledge Exchange Framework in helping highlight the work we do to support the North East region.

“The breadth of the framework reflects the excellent work within the University in supporting companies with innovation, promoting graduate enterprise and recruitment, undertaking cutting edge research and developing new products.”

The latest data brings together rich accounts of how universities, including Sunderland, engage in their local areas, contributing in varied and often innovative ways to their local communities and economies.

Laura Foster, ERDF internship and enterprise manager at the University, explains how the team have managed to claim the position as top North East University for graduate start-ups.

She said: “We’ve always had a strong pipeline of ideas coming through from our students and graduates and were unsure as to how COVID-19 would impact that, but the number of enquiries received during this difficult last year has remained high, with a range of ideas coming forward.

“We recognised the importance of continuing our support through our Enterprise Place and Digital Incubator offers; making sure it was accessible especially during this time.

“The engagement has been amazing and feedback in a recent survey demonstrated that 95 per cent of students and graduates stated that the support was effective in increasing their entrepreneurial skills.

“It’s great to see that the high quality support we deliver improves outcomes for our budding student and graduate entrepreneurs.”