£20m Europe Day boost as construction of Science and Innovation campus gets underway

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A £32m investment to create an Engineering Manufacturing Centre (EMC) at Swansea University’s planned Science and Innovation Campus is to go ahead thanks to an EU boost First Minister, Carwyn Jones, announced today .

Over £20m from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government will be invested to build the centre which has also received backing from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The First Minister made the announcement whilst on site to mark the start of construction of the new campus which took place on Europe Day.

Information about Swansea University's Campus Development Programme

First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said: “I welcome the opportunity to be here on this significant day not only to mark the start of construction but also, crucially, to acknowledge the benefits to Wales of our relationship with Europe, including EU funding. This EU investment will help drive forward the development of the new Science and innovation Campus, creating a cornerstone for world-leading research and employment opportunities in the construction industry as work gets underway.”

The EMC will include state-of-the-art facilities to enable Swansea University to carry out research and development, particularly through collaborative projects with industry.  It will support a range of collaborations with businesses in sectors such as advanced engineering, the digital economy and low carbon technologies.  

Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “I am delighted we have been able to invest EU funds to pioneer innovation and deliver state-of-the-art education facilities, benefiting Swansea and beyond.

“We have a key commitment through our Programme for Government to enhance research and innovation to help increase Wales’ global competitiveness, and create jobs and growth. The European Structural Funds programmes in Wales are helping us to achieve this goal, having already generated a total project investment of around £400 million in R&D and innovation alone.”

EMC will accommodate the University’s Civil and Computational Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Materials and Mechanical Engineering as well as Printing and Coating activities.

The Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, Professor Richard B. Davies, said:  “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government for the Engineering Manufacturing Centre. The EMC will provide world-class research facilities and a resource for industry to access world-leading expertise to help improve manufacturing products and processes and develop new ones, thus contributing to the economic regeneration of the region.

“The Centre will be part of our new Science and Innovation Campus, which promises to be a transformative project for the University and for Wales, helping to develop the high-tech clusters of companies which are at the heart of a modern knowledge economy. The campus will also be of immense benefit to our students; the close collaboration with industry will provide unique opportunities for students to acquire high level skills and experience valued by employers.”

Construction work will now begin on the campus by contractor St Modwen. It is expected that the construction phase alone will create up to 4,000 direct and 6,000 indirect jobs.

It follows a major investment announced last year that £90m would be invested, backed by EIB , Welsh Government and EU funds,  to make the £250m phase 1 of the campus a reality.  

Located on the campus will be the SMaRT building – a purpose-built materials testing and research facility that is part-sponsored by Rolls Royce –an innovation hub, a resource centre, lecture halls and the College of Business and Economics. There will also be student accommodation on site. Phase 1 is due to be open September 2015.