The university contributes £330m to the regional economy and employs over 2,400 members of staff, but just as important is its research input into business innovation and creativity in the economy.
In 2008 the government brought out its Innovation Nation white paper which sought to address some of these issues. Brighton's researchers are at the cutting-edge of this research into innovation and are asking vital questions about the way forward and questioning how the government can best promote enterprise, a matter of rapidly increasing national importance in the current challenging economic climate.
Much user-led innovation is found in fast-developing creative industries, such as music and computer games. The creative industries and how to encourage them has been the focus of much interest at Brighton. The creative industries are becoming increasingly important for the UK economy. The government estimates the creative economy employs some 1.8 million people in the UK. It urgently requires hard evidence from academic researchers of ways to ensure these sectors flourish, which is the kind of research Brighton's academics are pushing forward.
Brighton's researchers are, for instance, looking at ways of making these creative industries more competitive. Working with higher education and business, researchers have looked at how creative professionals can be best motivated and encouraged to produce innovative products. Brighton's academics are also looking at ways of better calculating the socio-economic impact of growing industries such as the cultural heritage industry.
Much of the research by Brighton's academics has at its core the concept of academics working with business to transfer knowledge. For instance, ProfitNet is a successful scheme which was developed by the university and gives directors of around 500 firms in south-east England the chance to meet in small groups once a month to discuss commercial issues and business plans and offer each other advice and support.