About Us

Launched in 2013, the Eastern Academic Research Consortium (Arc) has grown to be a significant regional catalyst for collaboration and cooperation.  

Initially comprising the universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, it was joined by Sussex in 2024. Together, the four universities make up the majority of the ‘plate glass’ universities established in the early 1960s, which were created to be a different kind of experimental, interdisciplinary university. 

This is clear in UEA’s motto (‘do different’), in the founding principles of Essex (‘freer, more daring, more experimental’), in Kent’s collegiate system that was intended to be ‘a community…where people of the various disciplines mix up’, and in Sussex’s promise to be ‘disruptive by design.’

They have grown significantly in the decades since, with a combined annual income of over £1.1bn, of which £100m is for research, and are home to over 73,000 students per year. In addition, they are significant anchor institutions within their region. Collectively the gross value added (GVA) generated by the four universities for their region was over £2.8bn.

The consortium acts to harness and amplify these strengths, identifying and building on areas of need and opportunity for the region, and common strength for its universities. It has become a meeting place for academics and stakeholders, with a programme of events that has brought together more than 1,000 participants, and has resulted in over £10m of funding in the past five years,including a recent £1.5m grant to support its technicians in engaging with industry, and a £3m to develop resilient coastal communities.