A Partnership of Equals

The Eastern Arc comprises four universities: the University of East Anglia, the University of Essex, the University of Kent and the University of Sussex.

We are known for the quality of our world-leading research, for the emphasis we put on rigorous and creative education, for our regional engagement, and for our global outlook.

Today, we have a combined annual income of over £800m, and are home to more than 50,000 students, over a quarter of whom are postgraduate.


The excellence of our research is internationally recognised. In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF), Kent and Essex were judged to be in the top 20 for research intensity, and UEA in the top 20 for the quality of its outputs. More than 40% of our research areas were assessed to be in the top 20% in their field.

In the four years up to 2018, we received £500m in research funding. We published over 22,400 outputs in that period, and almost 20% of our publications are in the top 10% of the most cited publications worldwide.

Between us, we have been home to six Nobel laureates, have won eight Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education, and have won 29 European Research Grants, the gold standard in European research funding.


Our research and our education are indivisible. We have always recognised the importance of using the methodologies and outcomes from our research to inform and lead our outstanding education.

All three of our universities have received the highest ‘gold’ award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and, when the outcomes of this are mapped against the assessment of our research, the three members are in the top 10% of UK universities that have achieved the highest scores in both.

Engagement and Impact

We are committed to making a positive impact on the economic and social wellbeing of the wider community.

In 2017/18, we collectively secured £35m in funding from businesses and other external organisations for consultancy, continuing professional development and other services. In the same year, our three universities hosted more than 2.3m visitors for public lectures, performances and exhibitions.

As an example of the benefit brought by our universities to the region, independent consultants calculated that the gross value added (GVA) generated by UEA, Essex and Kent was over £2.4bn.

A Global Outlook

Our location on the eastern edge of the UK has always encouraged us to be outward-looking, to be open to ideas and connections from mainland Europe and beyond.

It has resulted in a global outlook, where we value the different mindset and viewpoint that this brings. In return, we work for the benefit of the global community, and recognise the UN Sustainable Development Goals as an important part of working together for the collective good.

We welcome students from 150 countries around the world. Collectively we have 800 links with international institutions, and over half of our outputs were the result of international collaborations.

Our European Region

We also recongise the importance of our European region. The University of Kent is the UK’s European university, with specialist postgraduate study centres in Brussels, Paris, Rome and Athens. The University of East Anglia is a member of the Aurora Network, which brings together 10 universities with a shared outlook across Europe. The University of Essex is part of two trans-European networks that bring together young, research intensive universities: Young European Research Universities (YERUN), and the Young Universities for the Future of Europe Alliance (YUFE).