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12 Financial Statements 2011-12

Public Benefit The University’s Charitable Aims

The University’s Royal Charter sets out the objectives which form its charitable purpose “to advance education, scholarship, knowledge and understanding by teaching and research for the benefit of individuals and society at large”.

Members of Council are the trustees of the University and decision making pays due regard to the Charity Commission’s guidelines on charitable purpose and public benefit, in particular, The Advancement of Education for the Public Benefit (Charity Commission, December 2008) and Public Benefit and Fee Charging (Charity Commission, December 2008).

The undergraduates and postgraduates who study at Essex are the main public beneficiaries of our work. Others beneficiaries include companies, organisations and charities who employ our graduates, work with our academics on knowledge exchange projects or access our training programmes. The wider public also benefits from the insights provided by our world-leading research in the social sciences, science and engineering, and the humanities. The general public can also access our facilities, courses, talks and events.


The University provides public benefit through the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Our undergraduate and postgraduate students benefit from studying at a research-intensive university with a commitment to teaching excellence, where they can learn from academics who are at the forefront of their fields and are involved in active research projects.

We aim to provide an outstanding student experience by encouraging the personal development of our students through volunteering, sport, music, the arts and engagement with our Students’ Union.

Our approach develops Essex graduates who stand out from the crowd. We believe our graduates benefit society, and the companies and organisations they work for, through their critical thinking, creativity, excellent communication skills and leadership ability.

The total number of students we teach continues to grow with 8,891 undergraduate students and 3,349 postgraduate students at Essex in 2011-12.

The high quality of our teaching is shown by the feedback we have received. In the 2012 National Student Survey, 89 per cent of students expressed overall satisfaction with their undergraduate course, placing us in the top 20 for

mainstream English universities. In the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey for 2012, 89 per cent said their overall experience had met or exceeded their expectations. The most recent Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, which last took place in 2011, showed 82 per cent of research students felt their overall experience had met or exceeded their expectations.

Our staff are committed to excellence in teaching and 30 academic staff became Fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) this year with eight successfully completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice.

The high standard of postgraduate training and our position as a centre of international excellence has also led to Essex being selected as a Doctoral Training Centre by the Economic and Social Research Council.

We develop educational provision to meet recognised need. For example, Professional Development Studies has worked in partnership with Essex County Council, Thurrock Council and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to deliver postgraduate programmes. These courses meet the professional development needs of their social workers. This work has been recognised by national awards including the SWAP Innovation in Learning and Teaching Awards.

We also meet the different study needs of students by working with Kaplan Open Learning to deliver online undergraduate and postgraduate courses through University of Essex Online.


We are one of the leading research-intensive universities in the country and in the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008), we were ranked ninth nationally for the quality of our work.

We have continued to build on this reputation in 2011-12 by taking forward projects which have an impact at a local, national and global level.

Our research feeds directly into the learning experience for our undergraduates and postgraduates. We are committed to knowledge exchange and sharing our research expertise with government bodies, non-governmental organisations and business.

In 2011-12, we attracted research funding totalling £25.5m, the second highest figure ever achieved, which underlines our success in delivering outstanding research which meets the needs of society.

Our academics share their work through publication in a wide range of internationally-recognised journals and they

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