Plans by Bangor University to upgrade teaching and research facilities are among the many developments which have received backing from the European Investment Bank. Europe's long-term lending institution has agreed to provide GBP 45 million for the Welsh university's expansion and modernisation plans.
Bangor University's Vice-Chancellor Professor John G. Hughes said: "This is a significant investment which will allow us to further enhance the first class experience we provide for our students. We have an exciting and ambitious strategy for our estate which is already underway and includes the new Pontio building which is due to open in September, the new Marine Centre Wales in Menai Bridge, upgraded halls of residence, improved sports facilities, and renovating the historic main University building. In addition we have major plans to invest further in our science facilities along Deiniol Road and Dean Street as well as improvements to the Normal Site and this funding will allow us to move ahead with these major projects.
"Upgrading teaching, research and accommodation facilities at Bangor University will ensure that future generations of students benefit from excellent academic facilities and a world class student experience."
The Welsh Government's Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis commented:
"This significant investment is great news for Bangor University and for North Wales. It is a real vote of confidence in the University and will go a long way to ensuring students benefit from the very best academic facilities for many years to come. It is also an example of the tangible positive impact that European funding continues to have in Wales, following on from similar support from the EIB in Swansea University.
"We want to see vibrant, state of the art Higher Education institutions here in Wales and this investment will certainly help us achieve this aim".
Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President said: "The ambitious investment programme will protect historic buildings, create new social learning spaces and provide the latest teaching facilities for key faculties at the university. Our significant engagement, representing nearly half the project's investment cost, is the maximum level of EIB support and reflects the ambition and diverse benefits expected to be unlocked once the development programme is complete. The scheme will not only create and safeguard construction jobs during implementation, but generate new business and research opportunities across Wales that build on the University's world class expertise in Ocean Sciences. The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting investment in education and innovation across Europe and continue over 40 years of engagement in Wales by supporting Bangor University's transformational plans."
Bangor University's investment programme will be backed by the European Investment Bank, the University's own resources and funding from WEFO, the Welsh Government and other sources.
The project will support economic development in North Wales and strengthen interaction between the University and business. The scheme will also help ensure that academic programmes more closely reflect labour market requirements to enhance employability and ensure that employers can benefit from graduates that possess relevant skills.
Energy efficiency will be a key aspect of the projects and new construction will achieve very high European energy performance standards. The project will also help rehabilitate historic and listed buildings used by the University.
The European Investment Bank recognises the long-term investment needs of universities and higher-education institutions across the UK and in the coming years expects to be able to provide GBP 200 million a year in new funding for the sector. Europe's long-term lending institution has provided more than GBP 10 billion for investment in education across the European Union since 2009.