A NORTH-East university contributes around £1.1bn a year to the UK economy according to new research.

The study into Durham University’s economic contribution to the region, which includes partnerships with businesses in the area, also looked at its contribution to job creation, tourism and volunteering.

Vice-chancellor Professor Stuart Corbridge said: “All of these sorts of things show the university is doing more for the North-East than even we thought.

“We don’t want this to come across as arrogant, we want to do better and we want to work in partnership with businesses and cultural providers and what we want is to see how we can do better together.”

The study undertaken by BiGGAR Economics found that the university generated £633.6m in the North East in 2014-15 and supports 13,660 jobs, including 10,330 in the region.

It also generates nearly £8million through tourism, with 231,270 people visiting university-owned attractions including Palace Green Library, the Oriental Museum and Botanic Garden in 2014-15.

Meanwhile students spend 14,000 hours a year volunteering at schools and clubs.

The research was presented at an event at Durham University Business School today (Wednesday) with leaders from the region.

It comes as the university is presenting its 10 year strategy for expanding the university, increasing student numbers and investing in its facilities.

It wants to make every department world-class by 2027 and have around 4,000 more students.

Prof Corbridge added: “As the North East restructures and moves away from coal and steel and ship building, universities are becoming one of the major business centres in the region.

“We do need to take a look at how we manage growth but what we are saying is we do contribute very much to the economy of the city and county. We are trying to tell that story in economic terms and in social terms so people understand how large a presence the university is and have a sense of pride in the role the university plays in the North-East.”

He added: “A lot of jobs in the future in the North-East will come from the relationships between the university and other industries.”

James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “The university is an anchor for established business activity in the North-East, and a magnet for attracting new investment.

"In a region which has such a powerful exporting record and is so successful at building strong international ties it is extremely important to have a university such as Durham which has such a world class reputation.”