Wollongong has long been classified as a steel city, but a new report released today shows that it is fast becoming a university city.
The study, UOW: Leading Locally, Competing Globally, reveals that the University of Wollongong is now the region’s third largest exporter behind mining and steel.
Annually, UOW-related activities generate $1.37 billion in regional economic output, with a $659 million contribution to Gross Regional Product.
Meanwhile $673 million goes directly into the regional economy from the expenditure of international and non-local students, government grants and contracts and other external sources.
The UOW study, which has been independently verified, is the first comprehensive study of the university’s economic and social contribution to the region, state and the nation. The results speak volumes.
It shows that nationally UOW-related activities generate more than $2 billion in economic activity annually - contributing $1.12 billion to Gross Domestic Product.
The university’s activities generate almost 8000 jobs and $607 million in household income nationwide.
UOW graduates add another $1.34 billion to the national economy through increased wages and additional taxes.
UOW Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings said the study showed that Wollongong was indeed emerging as a university city.
‘‘The steel industry underpinned the regional economy for most of the 20th century, but in the 21st century it is clear that the University of Wollongong also is a major driver of economic activity and employment opportunities in the region,’’ Professor Wellings said.
‘‘The contribution of the university is still growing.’’
The study was conducted in the second half of 2012 by the university’s Centre for Small Business and Regional Research.
Co-author Brad Braithwaite said the study presented the Illawarra community with compelling evidence of UOW’s value to the region.
‘‘The global economy is changing at a dramatic rate. Oil and coal are no longer the energy source driving the economic engines of growth,’’ he said.
‘‘Rather, it is human capital and the knowledge and innovation we create that will fuel our future economic growth.’