The European Investment Bank and Barclays PLC have agreed to provide GBP 55m to fund investment in academic and campus development at the University of Leicester and support the restructure of the University’s existing bank debt. Support from the European Union’s long-term lending institution will contribute towards investment in a new energy-efficient medical building, renovation of the landmark Engineering building, Library improvements and refurbishment of sports facilities, as well as enhance energy efficiency across the campus.
Agreements to fund the significant investment programme over a 25 year period were signed on the campus by University of Leicester Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Robert Burgess, and European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for the UK, Jonathan Taylor and Barclays Relationship Director with responsibility for Higher Education in the Midlands, David Glover. A delegation from the European Investment Bank and Barclays met with students who will benefit from new facilities, visited buildings across the campus set to benefit from the new funding and discussed future investment plans with senior members of University staff.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Robert Burgess, said: “This record investment over 25 years aims to create a campus that matches Leicester’s ambition and reputation as part of the academic elite. Key to our plan is developing a campus that augments our strengths, provides scope for new ventures and developments and creates a ‘sense of place’ – a campus that provides a real sense of identity and that staff, students and visitors find memorable. Recent developments including the David Wilson Library and the Percy Gee Students’ Union have been award-winning which contributes to the reputation for excellence that this University has. Leicester is committed to further investment in order to maintain its strong position and increase its success, as well as continuing to contribute to regional and national prosperity. EIB clearly recognises this as it supports projects that make a significant contribution to growth, employment, regional cohesion and environmental sustainability in Europe and beyond. The University of Leicester is therefore delighted to receive their backing for our ambitious plans for the future.”
“Development of the University of Leicester campus will ensure that future generations of students continue to benefit from world class research and excellent education facilities. The European Investment Bank is pleased to provide significant support for improvements to upgrade the campus of one of the UK’s leading academic institutions. This flagship project is part of our strong commitment to long-term investment in UK universities and helping to develop education infrastructure in the UK and across Europe.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.
The European Investment Bank support will help the University of Leicester to construct a new Medical Sciences Building, refurbish and make improvements to the listed 1963 Engineering Building and create several new research centres of excellence. Investment to improve energy efficiency will benefit buildings across the campus, many of which originate from the 1970s. The main works are expected to be completed by the end of 2016. New buildings will be rated as excellent and refurbished facilities will be either excellent or very good according to the BREEAM/ Passivhaus classification. The capital investment initiative is expected to expand, update and improve the quality of teaching and research at the university.
Commenting on the funding, Barclays Relationship Director with responsibility for Higher Education in the Midlands, David Glover said: “I am pleased we have been able to work with the University to help them achieve the increase in debt level and structure they require to meet their aims and objectives in redeveloping the campus. Being Leicestershire born and bred I have watched the expansion over the years with delight and am pleased to be playing my small part in the University’s ongoing growth and look forward to seeing the University continue to move forward.”
The European Investment Bank recognises the long-term investment needs for universities and higher education institutions across the UK and over the coming years expects to be able to provide £200 million a year in new funding for the sector. Over the last five years the European Investment Bank has provided £1.49 billion for education investment in the UK. Between 2008 and 2013 the European Investment Bank provided loans worth more than £17 billion to 201 education projects across Europe.
Other projects in the Midlands recently funded by the European Investment Bank include the M6 Toll, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Jaguar Land Rover.