The European Investment Bank, the European Union's long-term financing institution, is lending GBP 23.2 million (EUR 33.58 million) for investment to up-grade research and development at Imperial College London. The finance is being made available under a GBP 100 million (EUR 144.76 million) agency loan arranged with the UK Government's Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The EIB's loan will support works to refurbish and expand facilities for research and development belonging to Imperial College London, in particular for the medical and biochemistry faculties.

EIB's agency arrangement with HEFCE has been established in close co-operation with the UK Government and Department of Education and Employment to provide targeted support for selected English Universities. The finance is designed to meet university capital investment needs in science-based R&D, and science based education infrastructure.

EIB Vice President Peter Sedgwick said: This investment is in support of the UK Government's policy to promote enterprise, skills and innovation, and meets the aims of the EIB's own Innovation 2010 Initiative (i2i) programme to encourage the development a European knowledge based economy.

In co-operation with HEFCE, we will invest in the modernisation of high performing university research facilities and science-based education infrastructure. In the longer-term, this will contribute through commercial development spin offs to introducing innovation amongst local small and medium sized enterprises.

Sir Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial, said: Imperial is pleased to be in the vanguard of this new initiative. Loan funding provided by the European Investment Bank will facilitate renewal of several important research facilities at the College.

The European Investment Bank finances capital investment furthering EU integration, in particular: regional development, trans-European networks in transport, telecoms and energy, industrial competitiveness and integration, small and medium sized enterprises, environmental protection, energy security, and health and education projects. It also operates outside the EU within the framework of the EU's co-operation external policy.

In 2002 the EIB lent some EUR 40 billion, of which EUR 3.3 billion in the UK. Owned by the EU Member States, the EIB raises its funds on capital markets (AAA issuer). ) In response to the guidelines mapped out by the Heads of State or Government in Lisbon in March 2000, EIB Group (EIB and European Investment Fund, EIF) launched a EUR 12 to 15 billion programme with a view to building a European knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy. «i2i» concerns five sectors: R&D, SME development, technology networks, human capital, the dissemination of innovation. Rather than increasing the volume of lending, the "Innovation Initiative" marks a qualitative shift of emphasis in the activities of the EIB Group towards cutting-edge, high-tech value added sectors.

About Imperial College London

Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (10,000) and staff (5,000) of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions, which enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.