Engineering plays a role in activity worth £280bn per year, according to research.
A report published by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Royal Academy of Engineering showed that engineering-related sectors accounted for 20% of the UK’s gross value added – a measure of economic output.
Assessing the economic returns of engineering research and postgraduate training in the UK calculated that £239bn of exports came from such sectors in 2011 – equivalent to 48% of total exports that year.
Engineering research was important to sectors including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, software and computing, the report said.
EPSRC chief executive Philip Nelson said: “Engineering touches many more areas of modern life than people might imagine. New discoveries and developments that cross disciplines mean engineering and engineers are absolutely essential to providing solutions to the challenges we face, nationally and globally.
“This joint report shows the benefits of investing in research, discovery and innovation. However, if we are to maintain the UK’s position as an innovation crucible we must be prepared to plan for the long term with sustained support for our research base and training for the engineers of tomorrow.”