University plans get £12.5m cash boost

PLANS to create Suffolk's first university have taken a huge step forward after the project received a multi-million pound cash boost.A £12.5m East of England Development Agency (EEDA) grant was given Government approval yesterday, subject to support from the Department of Trade and Industry.

PLANS to create Suffolk's first university have taken a huge step forward after the project received a multi-million pound cash boost.

A £12.5m East of England Development Agency (EEDA) grant was given Government approval yesterday, subject to support from the Department of Trade and Industry.

It means University Campus Suffolk (UCS), a partnership between the University of East Anglia and the University of Essex, is on target to open its doors to students by September 2007.

The project will see a new education quarter developed on Ipswich Waterfront, which will house the hub of UCS and the further education college and there will also be a learning network established with all colleges across the county.


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Richard Ellis, chairman of EEDA, said: “We are very proud to have been a leading force in driving this project forward. We successfully helped to bring together a number of partners to turn what was once a dream into a reality.

“UCS will help towards achieving once of EEDA's key goals, of developing a region-wide skills base that can support a world-class economy through increasing participation in higher education.”

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Professor Bob Anderson, pro-vice-chancellor and chief executive of UCS, said he was delighted the Government had approved the multi-million pound contribution.

“This funding means that we can now push forward with the waterfront development in Ipswich, including the master plan for the whole of the town's education quarter,” he said.

“This is a major stepping stone in the creation of UCS and we are very grateful to EEDA for all the help and support they have given to the project so far.

“UCS is now at a stage where it can look forward to the first intake of students in 18 months time, followed by the opening of the innovative phase one building in 2008.”

The funding brings EEDA's total contribution towards establishing the new university to £18.17m - the organisation's largest investment in a single project.

Other groups to support the development include Lowestoft College, Otley College, Suffolk College and West Suffolk College as well as the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Suffolk County Council, district and borough councils and the Learning and Skills Council.

Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “I hope this will encourage other organisations to make a financial contribution to the project - we need the backing of as many people as possible to make sure the benefits of the university are felt by the whole of Suffolk.

“I am looking forward to the next stage of the developments, particularly the learning network and the campuses in Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds. These will really ensure that higher education is within the reach of everyone in our county.”

James Hehir, chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council, said “Everything is moving very fast now and we are looking forward to more investment - and more developments - in the near future.”

There will be an investment of around £150m in UCS over the next ten years, including a phase one investment of £89m by 2009 and the Suffolk economy is expected to benefit from an extra £50m each year when the university is up and running.

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