>@Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB

On Monday 13 March 2017, European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle and University of Lorraine President Pierre Mutzenhardt announced to the press that they had signed a EUR 44m finance contract to extend and modernise the University of Lorraine (UL). It is a major project that will completely transform student life by redeveloping buildings and capacity, and by improving teaching, research and service provision conditions.

The EIB financing is important for the university, as it covers half the total investment cost of the project. It was granted on attractive financial conditions, with a long tenor and at a competitive interest rate thanks to the Bank's triple-A rating.

This financing will provide concrete support for the university in its ambitious programme to expand, refurbish and consolidate its property as part of the Lorraine Campus Plan. The aim is to strengthen its premier research centres at Metz-Technopôle (science, technology and management centre) and Technopôle Henri Poincaré (biology and health centre) in Nancy. Labs and training units will therefore be brought together onto consolidated sites – for science in Nancy and engineering in Metz – with the tangible impact of increasing student capacity and providing optimal study, teaching and research conditions via new dedicated spaces. The project financed will also make it possible to substantially reduce the university's operating costs through an overall reduction in floor space and improvements in the energy efficiency of the buildings, many of which date from the 1960s and 1970s.

Training for young people and climate action: priorities for the EIB

A key player in reviving the economy through investment in France, where it provided EUR 8bn in new loans in 2016, the EIB – the EU bank – has set the priorities of supporting training for young people to increase their chances of success, and climate action, by financing the renovation and energy-efficiency projects of French educational institutions. A particular emphasis has therefore been placed on optimising the energy efficiency of the infrastructure built or refurbished for the new University of Lorraine, with the dual objective of cutting both its operating costs and carbon emissions. 20% of the project's investment cost is therefore dedicated to the energy efficiency of the buildings in keeping with new national and EU energy performance standards.

This EIB loan reflects the Bank's strong commitment to higher education and research in accordance with the European Council's priorities for youth employment. It is part of a substantial financial envelope: EUR 1.3bn has been mobilised since 2013 to support investment on 13 Operation Campus university sites including that in Lorraine, with the aim being to facilitate the emergence of premier universities on a European and international level. The EIB has already approved ten of the 13 university loans for a total of more than EUR 1bn.