GREAT campaign drives growth across the four corners of the UK

From: Cabinet Office
Published: Fri Sep 30 2022

GREAT's Study UK' campaign is set to generate 407m of investment right across the UK, from international students registered in 2021/22.

  • The Great Britain & Northern Ireland Campaign (GREAT) is the UK's flagship international marketing programme.
  • GREAT's Study UK' campaign is set to generate 407m of investment right across the UK, from international students registered in 2021/22.
  • Students from 121 countries around the world have been attracted to UK universities by the campaign; driving impressive growth for local economies.

International students attracted to UK universities by the GREAT Study UK' campaign and enrolled in 2021/22 will generate 407m for the economy during the course of their degrees.

The campaign, delivered in partnership with the British Council, uses a combination of marketing channels and scholarship opportunities to promote the quality and opportunities of UK higher education to students worldwide; highlighting reasons why the UK is a first-choice study destination.

Across the four nations, the estimated economic benefit of international students attracted to the UK by the GREAT campaign is:

  • England 339.1m
  • Scotland 44.4m
  • Wales 18.4m
  • Northern Ireland 5.1m

The campaign supports the government's levelling up ambition, with many parts of the UK benefiting economically and culturally from international students.

Projected economic benefit across cities in the UK include:

  • Greater Manchester 13.3m
  • Liverpool 4.7m
  • Newcastle 6.0 m
  • Leeds 7.7m
  • Sheffield 7.1m
  • Birmingham 11.6m
  • Bristol 4.0m
  • Edinburgh 8.5m
  • Glasgow 9.1m
  • Cardiff 5.0m
  • Belfast 1.6m

The success of the GREAT Study UK' campaign is well evidenced, for example Teesside University experienced a 40% increase on 2020/21 international student enrolments from markets where GREAT scholarships were offered.

Cabinet Office Minister Jake Berry said:

The GREAT Study UK' campaign attracts and supports international students to study in the UK. International students drive growth in local economies across the country, they also enrich the university experience, bringing greater diversity and an international viewpoint for all students.

Higher education is a significant export for the UK. The 2018/2019 cohort of international students generated 28.8 billion for the UK economy according to a report by the Higher Education Policy Institute .

Maddalaine Ansell, Director Education, British Council said:

International students not only make our universities vibrant and cosmopolitan but also, through getting to know and understand us, can become life long ambassadors for not only UK Education but our values and way of life.

Many international graduates go on to play important roles in the political, economic, scientific and cultural life of their own countries and their knowledge of, and affection for, the UK means we have friends in many places.

Minister for Skills Andrea Jenkyns said:

Attracting the brightest students from around the world is good for our universities and delivers growth at home, as well as supporting the creation of more places for UK students.

We've already smashed the target set in our International Education Strategy to attract 600,000 international students per year to study here - hitting it for the first time almost ten years early - and we are now focusing on bringing in 35bn from our education exports by 2030.

Doug W Pearce, International Recruitment, University of Leeds

The wider UK HE sector sees great value in the British Council's efforts including the GREAT campaign to continue to build a strong brand profile of the UK as one of the top study destinations worldwide.

Shonagh Maak, International Recruitment Manager, University of Glasgow

Our international students enhance the learning environment of our campus, contribute to research output and add immense value to the cultural vibrancy of our campus and the wider community in Glasgow.

Notes for Editors

About the GREAT Britain and Northern Ireland campaign

  • The GREAT Britain and Northern Ireland campaign (GREAT) is the government's flagship international communications programme. The objective is to drive economic growth across the entire nation by encouraging an international audience to visit, study, trade, invest, live and work in the UK.
  • Established in 2011, GREAT promotes the best of the UK and has been used in 149 countries worldwide, and by 22 government departments and ALBs, providing HMG's international network with a high-quality, impactful and consistent communications brand.


  • The Study UK campaign was first launched in 2016, when the British Council and GREAT introduced a new overarching campaign to unify and focus the UK's international marketing efforts.
  • Study UK has generated a total of 407 million return on investment (ROI) for the UK from international student enrolments in the academic year 2021/22.
    • This represents 1.14% of the total net impact generated from international enrolments in this period, and is equivalent to a total of 4,316 individual enrolments as a result of Study UK.
    • Approximately 1,190 of each international student's spend in the UK can be attributed to Study UK.
  • The methodology combines published data with self-reported data from an annual survey. Published data allows us to produce:
    • An estimate for the number of new international students enrolled at UK HEIs in 2021/22
    • The average net economic impact for each of these students over the duration of their studies The annual survey of newly enrolled international students studying with UK HEIs generates data from which we derive:
    • The number of new international students whose decision to study in the UK was influenced to any degree by Study UK
    • The average extent to which students' ultimate decisions were influenced by Study UK, in the context of other sources used. The calculation assumes that self-reported estimates of the overall influence of Study UK in their decision are over-estimated by students and adjusts for that.
  • It also makes a number of adjustments based on the context of students' decision making journeys, namely:
    • when students first encountered Study UK in their decision-making journey (the earlier a student encounters it, the more effect it can have),
    • the number of information sources used and the relative influence of each,
    • the extent to which Study UK delivered information and reassurance on the factors of greatest importance in students' decisions of where to study.


Hathaichanok, Thailand, master's in Real Estate, Nottingham Trent University

I chose to study in the UK because it's so international. It is home to many global, top-ranking universities and a dynamic job market.

Prof Judith Lamie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University

We are a deeply proud Welsh University with staff, students, partnerships, and research links that stretch across the globe. By taking our passion for Swansea to the world, we also bring the world to Swansea, fostering a diverse and vibrant community for students and staff alike.

Maya, USA, master's in International Relations, Swansea University.

There's something special about Wales. There's a culture of openness and welcome here that I had never experienced before. There's this term in Welsh, cwtch', which is often painted on the walls. It doesn't have a direct translation to English, but people have explained it as a positive, safe feeling and sense of togetherness and community. Since living here, I have really felt it.

Stella, France, master's in Music Business Management, University of Westminster

As someone who wants to go into the music industry, I know that just being in the UK offers many opportunities. There are so many more music labels, music publishing companies and music management companies in the UK than anywhere else. Without doing my master's and having the exposure I've had to relevant professionals, I would have found it much harder to take my first steps within the industry.

Chrislyn, Malaysia, master's in Intellectual Property and the Digital Economy, University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is home to one of the leading research centres for intellectual property matters in the EU - the UK Copyright and Creative Economy Centre (CREATe). It is one of the best universities to study my specialism in intellectual property and the digital economy. I knew that if I was to pursue a postgraduate degree, I wanted to do it somewhere at the top of its game.

Hannah, USA, master's in Transitional Justice and Human Rights Law, Ulster University.

I decided to come and study in Northern Ireland because of the historical and political context. Living and studying here has already given me so much perspective into how to shape-shift old versions of peace processes into new cultural contexts. I received a John J Sweeney Scholarship to study in Northern Ireland and haven't looked back.

Company: Cabinet Office

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