From education to employment

Unlocking Value: Jisc Investment Yields £3 in Savings for Every £1 Spent

Report says UK’s funded digital body for education and research saves the sectors £300m each year and is worth more than £1.5bn to the economy

A new report about the value of Jisc concludes that the UK’s digital and data body for research and tertiary education helps save the sector up to £300m per year and contributes immensely to the UK economy. 

Written by Frontier Economics, the report covers some of Jisc’s key technologies, in particular its core role operating the super-fast and secure national research and education network (NREN), Janet. Jisc’s cyber security, trust and identify, cloud and content licensing services are also within scope of the Jisc-commissioned report. 

The research finds that, for every £1 they invest in Jisc, members receive a return of more than £3 just in terms of savings.  

The report also says that Jisc generates high value for money for the taxpayer, with the wider gross economic benefits associated with its services worth more than £1.5bn per year. 

Other key benefits of Jisc to the education and research sector include: 

  • Connectivity via the Janet Network:Jisc aggregates demand and delivers the Janet Network at a lower cost than would be possible through alternative providers 
  • Levelling up: FE colleges in remote areas, with difficult and more expensive access to broadband infrastructure, can get state-of-the-art connectivity via Janet for the same price as all other colleges in the country, which is unlikely to be possible under an alternative provider
  • Cyber security: Jisc’s work to prevent breaches saves HE and FE institutions £40m per year in distributed denial of service and ransomware attack incident costs    
  • Cheaper connectivity and cyber security: Annual savings to members are worth at least £140m versus alternative providers, and do not take account of the fact that Jisc services may offer a higher and more specialist level of protection 
  • Cloud and licensing deals: Jisc negotiates more than 300 agreements every year on behalf of universities and colleges and, by aggregating the sector’s demand, members can get valuable discounts, terms and access conditions to licensed digital content. Price increases for major publishers are typically kept to 3% or lower in a market where standard price increases are estimated to be 5-6%. Jisc’s members save at least £138m a year byprocuring cloud and content licences through Jisc rather than via other providers 
  • Trust and identity: Jisc members save £13m annually by purchasing the certificate service through Jisc rather than via alternative providers 

In terms of Jisc’s impact on the UK economy as a whole, the report says:  

  • Jisc generates economic value for the UK because, in an increasingly digital environment, it enables: 
  • High quality education, helping produce the digitally skilled workforce of tomorrow 
  • cutting-edge research and innovation, including national and international collaborations, which benefit all of society 
  • Given the significant external impact arising from education and research activities, a centrally coordinated connectivity model funded partly by the taxpayer is appropriate. A model in which individual institutions procure their own connectivity would be more expensive for each of them and would likely lead to sub-optimal investment and would be more expensive 

Jisc’s chief financial officer, Nicola Arnold, said:

“It’s a financially tough time for the economy as a whole and, as a publicly funded organisation, we wanted confirmation from an independent source that we are offering real value for money to our members.  

“Of course, it’s also gratifying to have a tangible understanding of the impact of Jisc’s contribution to the wider economy via our role supporting innovation and research, and in developing the next generation of the UK workforce. 

“As the digital revolution gathers pace, technology has become ubiquitous in our lives, and we are proud to play a part in empowering digital transformation in the tertiary education and research sectors. 

“The research does not cover the entirety of our work, however, so Jisc’s true value is even greater than the already impactful sums quoted in the report.” 

The report concentrates only on Jisc’s connectivity, cyber security, cloud, licensing, and trust and identity services. Calculations do not take into account Jisc’s full scope, which also includes a range of data analytics services; advice, guidance and consultancy; and, through Prospects, a range of student services. 

Related Articles