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Our social, economic and cultural impact

Exterior of the £44m Brain Research Imaging Centre
The £44m Brain Research Imaging Centre plays a pivotal role in better understanding the causes of neurological and psychiatric conditions to yield vital clues for the development of better treatments.

Cardiff University makes a significant contribution to the UK economy.

We attract high-quality investment from both the public and private sector which helps translate our world-leading research into the products, services and processes of the future.

Our excellence in teaching and learning provides highly skilled and well paid graduates who make a significant contribution to the public purse when they enter the world of work.

  • We contribute £3.23 billion to the UK economy
  • Almost 1 in 130 jobs in Wales depends on us
  • We generate £6.30 for every £1 we spend

We are a truly global university with students coming from across the world to study here, each contributing significantly to the UK economy during their time in the city. We are one of Wales’s largest employers, with a staff and student community made up of over 35,000 people. The University supports 12,600 jobs across the UK.

Cardiff University is deeply rooted in the local community and proactively engages with the general public to help improve health, wealth and wellbeing in Wales, across the UK and around the world.

Total economic impact

Teaching and learning

We provide a high-quality and inspiring educational journey which enriches students’ lives and prepares them for the world of work. From journalism students learning their trade and discipline in a state-of-the-art building on the doorstep of BBC Wales to computer scientists interacting with industry experts at the National Software Academy, we provide an innovative learning experience for our students.

£1.15 billion is added to the UK economy as a result of Cardiff University’s teaching and learning activities

Over 31,000 students are enrolled at Cardiff University - 53% of UK students come from Wales. 95.7% of graduates enter employment, further study or both shortly after graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2016/17).

Research and knowledge exchange

We strive to produce research that matters to make a real difference to people’s lives all over the world, tackling some of the biggest problems facing society, the economy and our environment. In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 90% of our research was found to be officially world-leading or internationally excellent.

Whether shaping debate in Welsh politics, fighting cybercrime or improving clinical care in Wales, our research builds bridges and creates economic and social growth.

£709 million is added to the UK economy as a result of Cardiff University research

For every £1 million invested in Cardiff University research £4.3 million is generated for UK companies. There are 357 patents held by Cardiff University and £29 million is generated through 145 active staff and student start-ups, which support 465 full-time jobs (Higher Education Business and Community Interaction survey 2015/16).


Cardiff University is a truly global university with a thriving international student community and active partnerships with more than 200 institutions worldwide. Partnerships with Xiamen University and Unicamp are increasing our research collaborations, offering students the chance to undertake joint PhDs, and creating opportunities for student and staff mobility.

Over 800 students work, study or volunteer abroad each year through our global opportunities programme.

  • 7,250 international students from 122 different countries
  • £195m is added to the economy as a result of our international students
  • 160,000 alumni across the globe from over 180 different countries

Improving lives

We are proud to be Welsh and take great responsibility in maintaining a socially and culturally diverse community throughout Wales.

Our engagement projects are helping to transform our neighbourhoods, from revitalising local journalism to developing our Community Gateway project in Cardiff’s Grangetown. Further afield, our Phoenix Project is helping to improve the quality of life for people across Namibia.

Over 200,000 people attended Cardiff University public events in 2015/16. We support major events in the region including the Cardiff Half Marathon, National Eisteddfod and Hay Festival.

1,300 students volunteer in the local community each year

With a wide-reaching supply chain, our day-to-day activities support many more jobs across Wales and the UK. £1.18 billion is added to the UK economy as a result of Cardiff University's expenditure and the spending of students.

  • First university in the UK to be named a ‘Living Wage Champion’
  • 5,875 full-time equivalent staff are employed at Cardiff University
  • 11,200 jobs in Wales are created as a result of Cardiff University’s activities

Full report

The analysis of Cardiff University’s economic impact accounts for the 2016/17 academic year and was undertaken by London Economics - one of Europe’s leading specialist economics and policy consultancies. Read the full report:

The economic and social impact of Cardiff University in 2016-17

Report produced in October 2018 by London Economics on our social and economic impact.