The European Investment Bank (EIB) will grant EUR 325 million to K.U.Leuven and UZ Leuven for the construction and completion of the “Health Sciences Campus Gasthuisberg”, a first-class medical and university center providing acute care, education and research in a single location, “Gasthuisberg” in Leuven. The EIB decided to support the project, considering it as a major initiative in line with the European policies for health, education and innovation.

MM. Philippe Maystadt, EIB President, Prof. Dr. Mark Waer, Rector K.U. Leuven, Prof. Ir. Koenraad Debackere, General manager K.U. Leuven, Prof. Dr. Guy Mannaerts, Chairman of the Board of UZ Leuven and Prof. Dr. Johan Kips, CEO UZ Leuven signed the loan agreement with a first finance contract of EUR 40 million during an overall presentation of the project on 8 March 2010 in Leuven.

The project will be a comprehensive center of excellence, combining acute and specialist hospital services on a single campus together with teaching activities and biomedical research of K.U. Leuven. As such it will also provide a central specialist hospital “hub” within K.U.Leuven hospital network, to offer the highest level of healthcare services to the patients. Through co-location resulting in full integration of healthcare, research and teaching activities, it will ease synergies and allow the achievement of UZ Leuven and K.U. Leuven’s academic and biomedical objectives.

At the signing and presentation, both Rector Waer and Prof. Dr. Guy Mannaerts, stressed that “UZ Leuven and K.U.Leuven have developed a common vision for the future, to provide the highest level of medical services and achieve a prime position to remain competitive on a European level.” They also thanked “the EIB, as the financing arm of the EU, for joining the project, giving them access to long term funding at the best conditions”.

Philippe Maystadt, EIB President, said how pleased he is that “the EIB contributes to improving the health sector – a first for the EIB in Belgium”. He explained that “With its financing capacity, the EIB can support such strategic projects, allowing patients to benefit, in modern infrastructures, of the best services that medicine combined with research can offer”.

President Maystadt also added: “The EIB also praises the joined efforts of the University and Hospital in R&D on the campus, which will act as a magnet site for third parties and satellite projects in innovative sectors. We know how crucial R&D and innovation are to stimulate long-term investments which will contribute to the economic recovery and which will also benefit to this generation as well as to future generations”.
The Campus of Gasthuisberg is situated at the western outskirts of the city of Leuven with easy access. The first building to be completed will be allocated to intensive care. The Campus will be developed in several phases – see the attached note on the project for further information.

Note to editors:

About the EIB, its support for the health sector and R&D and innovation
All the projects supported by loans from the EIB, the bank of the European Union, affect the everyday lives of European citizens and contribute to improving their quality of life. The EIB finances health sector projects in general that aim to create the best facilities for the patients also geared to sustainable development, as well as projects that contribute to research and innovation, one of the objectives of the “Europe 2020” Strategy.

Created by the Treaty of Rome in 1958, the EIB is the European Union’s financial arm. Its main objective is to provide long-term loans for viable private or public investment projects, aimed at furthering the EU’s integration and development objectives, broken down into six priority policies:  economic and social cohesion; environmental protection and promotion of sustainable communities; research development and innovation; support to SMEs; trans-European networks, and fostering secure, competitive and sustainable energy. It raises funds on the capital markets, which it uses to finance on the keenest terms projects that are in line with European strategies.  In 2009, it provided more than EUR 70 billion of funding for projects in the European Union of which EUR 18 billion (an increase of 36 % to 2008) for investments in line with the Lisbon Strategy (now taken further by the” Europe 2020” Strategy).