Newcastle University is to benefit from a £100m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) that will be used to fund a number of ambitious building projects both on campus and in the city.
Representing the largest ever loan for a university outside London and the south east, the 30-year loan will provide 50% of the funding for a number of major projects over the next four years.
These include the re-development of Richardson Road student accommodation, the £58m Urban Sciences Building on Science Central, refurbishment of the Armstrong building on the main university campus, and the £40m National Ageing Science and Innovation Centre.
Richard Dale, Executive Director of Finance at Newcastle University, said: “Newcastle University continues to be a very popular destination for students and our world class research is part of that appeal. By enhancing and expanding our facilities for students alongside the development of cutting edge research buildings we will secure our future as one of the UK’s leading universities. The EIB loan will help us to deliver these ambitious growth plans.”
Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President, said: “Investment to improve teaching facilities and expand student facilities is crucial to enable UK universities to strengthen their local and global role. This new £100 million loan to Newcastle University demonstrates both the ambition and quality of their campus development plan and the European Investment Bank’s firm commitment to support investment in leading universities across Europe. World class innovation, such as the smart grid research between the Institute for Sustainability and Northern Powergrid, will strengthen regional skills in the years to come. The European Investment Bank looks forward to backing similar impressive schemes elsewhere in the north-east in the future.”
Plans for the £75.5m re-development of Richardson Road accommodation blocks were as approved in December and today’s investment is crucial to the proposal, which will see the current facilities being replaced with six new blocks providing almost 1,300 ensuite bedrooms for future students.
The agreement comes at the same time as EIB announced a £250m loan to upgrade and expand the Northern Powergrid infrastructure to enable smarter electricity distribution to 3.9million homes across the North East and Yorkshire.
Both announcements were made during a visit to Science Central by a delegation from the European Investment Bank.
Science Central, a partnership between Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council, is a £250 million flagship project bringing together academia, the public sector, communities, business and industry to create a global centre for urban innovation and sustainability in the heart of the city.
The development includes a low carbon energy centre, a £2 million grid connected energy storage test bed and a smart grid network. This will allow the development of new technologies for maximising efficiency, availability and sustainability of energy across the UK power grid.
The real world setting will allow Newcastle University and its partners in industry, including Northern Powergrid, to thoroughly test power networks for their reliability and sustainability.