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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

£1,000 million Worth of Projects Set to Transform Scotland's Universities Over the Next Decade

Glasgow University, Edinburgh University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Strathclyde University, Queen Margaret University, Napier University and St Andrews will deliver a level of investment that dwarfs that of the 2014 Commonwealth Games

This excludes the growing investment in student accommodation and in other college and school campuses.

Said Kenneth Gibson:

The knowledge economy is absolutely vital to Scotland’s economy and prosperity and it is astonishing that a country of Scotland’s size and population has so many outstanding universities who are at the forefront of so many areas of human ingenuity and endeavour.

Our world renowned universities continue to innovate and invest with some truly ambitious plans, not only on the drawing board but being delivered on the ground right now. That they invest such resources shows their confidence in their own and Scotland’s future.”

Glasgow University is beginning the £700 million redevelopment of its campus in Glasgow’s West End. Work on the former Western Infirmary site will include six academic buildings, creating 2,500 jobs. A new learning and teaching hub will link to the Boyd Orr building on University Avenue. The first phase includes an Institute of Health & Well-being, the Adam Smith Business School, College of Arts base and landscaping public areas.

As well as academic and teaching space, a research building, and offices, planning has been submitted for retail and leisure space, a hotel and residential property, delivering a new urban quarter for Glasgow with a central square linking to Byres Road.

The second phase starting in 2023 will include new engineering teaching space, an Innovation Quarter on Church Street for new companies, a chronic diseases research building and a Social Justice Research Hub. University Principal Anton Muscatelli called it “the biggest development undertaken by this university since it moved to Gilmorehill 150 years ago” and said it would be funded from the university’s own income and a funding drive.

Glasgow Caledonian University has completed two thirds of a two-year £30 million project to create a new main entrance and renovate the George Moore and Hamish Wood buildings.

Strathclyde University will open a new £33 million sports and health building on Cathedral Street next year. It will include a six-lane 25 metre swimming pool, gym, sauna, physio consultation rooms and teaching and research space. With a £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre opened in 2015, it will take the university’s investment to more than £600 million this decade.

In Musselburgh, Queen Margaret University (QMU), is developing plans for an Innovation Park and expects the park to eventually create up to 13,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Phase one will create an Enterprise Hub for small- and medium-sized enterprises with a National Tech Enterprise Centre and a National Food Enterprise Centre, reflecting QMU’s reputation for research in new food product development and healthy foods.

We provide education, research and knowledge exchange work in health and rehabilitation, business, and the creative industries,” says QMU Principal Professor Petra Wend. “Work in food and drink has also been a very important part of our DNA.”

A commercial hub will provide retail and leisure facilities for students, staff and local communities. Professor Wend called it a “once-in-a lifetime opportunity that takes advantage of a prime location, providing businesses with access to national and international networks and expertise.” Edinburgh University is investing £12 million in refurbishing part of the School of Biological Sciences, building an extension to the CH Waddington Building, a new electrical plant building and demolishing the Darwin library block and out-buildings.

Easter Bush Veterinary Campus, which incorporates The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and The Roslin Institute, has Europe’s largest concentration of animal science-related expertise. A revolutionary £9 million energy project there will capture waste heat from electricity generation to heat buildings in winter, cooling them in summer.

The university’s £25 million Data Technology Institute is will be completed in December and be a hub developing research and analytics in education across Scotland and internationally.

Napier University will open a £3 million timber research hub to support the construction of sustainable housing in the UK.

St Andrews University is planning a £24 million redevelopment of its Eden Campus, creating 500 jobs and relocating more than 350 university staff from St Andrews. This will also unlock £75 million of private-sector inward investment over five years, housing an Advance Materials Centre including a bio-refinery, zero-carbon integrated energy community and enterprise centre for innovators and start-ups.

In the centre of St Andrews, the university plans a new £8 million music building in Queens Terrace, hosting practice and teaching studios, a recording suite and a library.



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