The European Investment Bank has agreed to fund redevelopments at University College Dublin as part of its engagement to support the knowledge economy in Ireland.
The European Union’s long-term lending institution will provide €90m for the ongoing transformation of campus facilities.
Agreement to fund the campus redevelopment project was signed at UCD, Dublin, by European Investment Bank vice-president Plutarchos Sakellaris and UCD vice-president for finance, Gerry O’Brien.
Funding from the European Investment Bank will be used to develop six buildings, including the second phase of UCD’s Science Centre, construction of a new School of Law and refurbishment and construction of student accommodation.
The UCD Campus Development Plan 2010-2015 is set 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.
“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,” said Sakellaris.
”UCD is committed to playing the same leadership role for Ireland in a 21st-century global context that it played for the new independent Ireland in the 20th century,” said UCD president Dr Hugh Brady.
“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.”
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, said the EIB yesterday.
The project includes a range of environmental initiatives to improve working conditions and reduce the environmental impact of the 24,500 students and 2,000 staff on the campus. This includes energy-efficient design of the Science East project that has been awarded a BREEAM rating of “Excellent” and is one of the first scientific buildings in Ireland to achieve this rating.
The redeveloped campus will also provide a co-ordinated and sustainable commuting, parking and transportation regime. The project started in January 2011 and is expected to be completed in December 2015.
The European Investment Bank loans for education projects support the establishment of the knowledge economy in the European Union, which is one of the bank’s key lending priorities. The majority of EIB financing in human capital goes towards tangible investment in buildings and equipment, but a growing proportion goes to other investment, such as academic research.