University research students
Data on the median number of full-time research students enrolled in universities in the UK, from 2015 to 2018.
Summary main findings
The median number of research students in the UK went up by 4% from 2015 to 2018.
Visualisation for by year
Ratio (relative to 2015) of the median number of full-time equivalent research students enrolled in universities (UK, 2015 to 2018)
Data for by year
|Year||Ratio (relative to 2015)|
Visualisation for by area
Number of research students, by region over time (UK, 2015 to 2018)
41 regions in the UK are ranked from the lowest to highest number of research students. They are then divided into 5 equally-sized groups (‘quintiles’), from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).
The regional estimates have a large margin of error – do not rank or compare specific regions.
See the composite indices for more precise estimates and to understand overall regional patterns.
Data for by area
|Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire||1,200||1,270||1,280||1,305|
|Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire||5,680||5,525||6,150||6,210|
|Cornwall and Isles of Scilly||25||20||15||20|
|Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire||3,155||3,230||3,200||3,215|
|Dorset and Somerset||360||375||420||390|
|East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire||490||520||640||690|
|Eastern Scotland||5,390||No data||No data||No data|
|Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bath/Bristol area||3,250||3,325||3,225||3,115|
|Hampshire and Isle of Wight||2,530||2,610||2,795||2,890|
|Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire||90||75||80||75|
|Highlands and Islands||120||105||70||50|
|Inner London - East||2,220||2,175||2,250||2,270|
|Inner London - West||12,980||12,820||12,860||12,965|
|Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire||2,325||2,230||2,370||2,560|
|North Eastern Scotland||975||1,005||1,015||1,030|
|Northumberland, and Tyne and Wear||2,370||2,390||2,390||2,335|
|Outer London - East and North East||300||295||330||350|
|Outer London - South||295||300||335||320|
|Outer London - West and North West||875||800||870||1,005|
|Shropshire and Staffordshire||455||465||510||510|
|Surrey, East and West Sussex||2,475||2,435||2,580||2,725|
|Tees Valley and Durham||1,365||1,360||1,335||1,355|
|West Central Scotland||4,335||No data||No data||No data|
|West Wales and The Valleys||1,785||1,705||1,705||1,625|
Download for by area
- Download the 2015 chart (PNG)
- Download the 2015 map (PNG)
- Download the 2016 chart (PNG)
- Download the 2016 map (PNG)
- Download the 2017 chart (PNG)
- Download the 2017 map (PNG)
- Download the 2018 chart (PNG)
- Download the 2018 map (PNG)
- Download the data (CSV 1KB)
For the full download file, see Download the data.
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Nesta Research and Development spatial data tool, 2021
2015 to 2018
What the data measures
The data shows the relative increase in the number of research students in the UK between 2015 and 2018. It also shows the number of students in each region of the UK.
Things you need to know
Nesta data includes regional scores but not a national average figure. To track changes over time, we use the area with the median number of university students each year.
The median is the middle point of a range of numbers which are arranged in order. In this case, the median area is the area ranked 21st out of the 41 regions in the UK.
Type of data
Read more in State of the Nation 2023 on GOV.UK.
This file contains the following variables:
- Indicator code
- Indicator name
- Area type
- Area name
- Time period