The European Investment Bank (EIB) will fund the development of six buildings on UCD campus, including the Sutherland School of Law, the Science Centre and student accommodation, as a part of its aim to support Ireland’s knowledge economy.
This announcement of the €90 million investment comes following news that the government would no longer be supporting the developments due to a scaling back in exchequer funding.
According to a university spokesperson, the aim of the UCD Campus Development Plan 2010-2015 is to “make the campus more compact, concentrating related activities and separating academic and leisure functions. The overall redevelopment aims to consolidate and enhance this position of pre-eminence by providing future generations with a sustainable, healthy, and living campus.”
UCD President, Hugh Brady, insists that the agreement with EIB will strengthen UCD’s position in the European university rankings, “the cutting edge teaching, research and student support facilities which this partnership with the EIB will enable will ensure that UCD consolidates and enhances its position at the top table of European universities.”
A university spokesperson echoed these sentiments, saying that the “development of the campus follows European efforts to increase investment in research and higher education, and will strengthen UCD’s role in an increasingly competitive academic environment. The ability to locate both industry and academia on the same campus will help increase links between the University and key Irish companies. The new campus development combines refurbishment of existing award-winning buildings and provision of new facilities.”
A variety of environmental initiatives to enhance working conditions at UCD and reduce the impact that 2,000 staff and 24,500 students on campus have on the environment will be implemented as part of the development. Among these are an energy efficient design of the Science Centre and a “co-ordinated and sustainable commuting, parking and transport regime.”
EIB Vice-President for Ireland, Plutarchos Sakellaris, stated that the reason behind the EIB providing the funding was that “The European Investment Bank is committed to ensuring that world class education and research facilities can help future generations contribute to the European knowledge economy. Redevelopment of University College Dublin will benefit students studying on a modern, vibrant and sustainable campus and foster a greater contribution to Ireland and Europe as a whole.”
UCD Vice-President for Finance, Gerry O’Brien, and Plutarchos Sakellaris recently signed the agreement in UCD.