Welsh Government Finance Minister Jane Hutt has today (Thursday February 20) visited the site of Swansea University’s £450 million Bay Campus to see first hand how EU funds are helping to boost investment and create jobs in the region.
The UK’s leading regeneration specialist, St. Modwen, is developing the campus with its construction partner, VINCI Construction UK, and Swansea University’s framework contractor, Leadbitter, a Bouygues UK company.
The development, which will welcome its first students on site in September 2015, has benefitted from £50m of Welsh Government, including £35m from the European Regional Development Fund, and £60m from the European Investment Bank. EU funds will support an Energy Manufacturing Centre and Innovation Hub, which will provide world-class research facilities and enable the university to significantly increase its ability to access research council grants and other sources of EU funds including the Horizon 2020 fund for research and innovation. It will also provide an ‘open innovation’ environment for industry to collaborate with academic expertise to help develop manufacturing products and processes and introduce new ones, contributing to the economic growth of the region.
As well as driving forward research and innovation, the Bay Campus is currently providing significant local employment opportunities. More than 1,100 workers have already been inducted to work on the site. There are over 200 sub-contracting opportunities, of which over 100 have already been let to companies from the Swansea Bay region and across Wales.
During her visit, the Finance Minister performed a topping out ceremony at one of the student residential buildings*, which will be home to 900 students.
Jane Hutt said: “This is an excellent example of the benefits of EU funds in Wales, not only through helping to establish a leading research and innovation facility to drive forward our knowledge economy, but also the local employment and skills opportunities it is creating in the construction of the campus. I am also pleased to see how the Government and Welsh organisations are working with private investors, like the European Investment Bank, to develop funding solutions for infrastructure investments in Wales. ”
Professor Richard B. Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, said: “Our new Bay Campus has been recognised as one of Europe’s leading knowledge economy projects. This major development has been made possible by substantial funding from government, the European Structural Funds, and the European Investment Bank, as well as from industry.
“This partnership working means that the University can continue to expand, provide new opportunities for our students, and meet the needs of industry in providing cutting edge world-class research, helping to drive economic growth in the Swansea Bay region and beyond. I’m delighted to welcome the Finance Minister here today to show the massive size of the Bay Campus and the quality of the buildings and facilities which will be enjoyed by students, staff, and our industrial partners.”
Rupert Joseland, Regional Director for St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist and largest private owner of Brownfield land in South Wales, said:
“We’re delighted to mark the topping out of the first student residential building on site with a visit from the Finance Minister. When the first phase of this development completes in 2015, the Campus will have the distinction of being one of the few global universities with direct access onto a beach and its own seafront promenade. The new £450m Bay Campus is part of St. Modwen’s £2.2bn linked development, alongside the £500m employment site at Baglan Bay and £1bn sustainable community at Coed Darcy in Neath. Our investment in
this flagship project cements our long term commitment to driving social and economic regeneration across South Wales.”