By Daniel Hunter
The University of Strathclyde has secured major European funding for the construction of its flagship Technology and Innovation Centre.
The contract offer of £6.7 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will contribute to funding the construction of the Centre, which is bringing academics together with international industrial partners to pursue solutions to today’s most urgent global challenges- and to enhance businesses’ competitive standing.
The 25,000 square metre centre, which will open its doors in 2014, will be pivotal to Scotland’s new International Technology and Renewable Energy Zone (ITREZ) and will be sited alongside Scottish Enterprise’s new Industry Engagement Building.
The ERDF funding application was submitted to the European Commission, under the low carbon/sustainability programme, to complete the funding of the £89 million development. The Scottish Funding Council is contributing £15 million to the programme, Scottish Enterprise is contributing up to £11 million as part of the ITREZ project and the University is providing £57 million.
The announcement of the funding coincided with a visit to the site by Alex Neil MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, during which he learned about the progress of the building project.
It also followed the confirmation that construction firm Lend Lease Ltd has been appointed as contractor for the £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre building project. The company, which was awarded the contract following a single stage competitive tender submission, is due to begin work on the site later this month.
Under the terms of the contract, 10 per cent of the workforce on the project will be recruited from apprenticeship programmes.
University of Strathclyde Principal Professor Jim McDonald said: “The Technology and Innovation Centre will be the fullest realisation to date of our work as a leading international technological university. With our partners in business and industry, we are seeking breakthroughs to deal with energy demands, climate change, global health challenges, a testing economic climate and the need for more energy efficient, more advanced technology.
“The funding we have received from ERDF is an endorsement of the quality of our collaborative research — including several of our HE partners - as well as its capacity for making a significant, tangible impact around the world.
“The competitive advantage the Centre will deliver, the inward investment it will attract and the valuable training the building project will offer apprentices will complement the economic benefits of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in 2014. The building will also occupy one of the key development sites in Glasgow and is a powerful symbol of the regeneration of the city.”
The Technology and Innovation Centre building is designed to achieve an Excellent rating under the BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) system and an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of ‘A’.
It will include state-of-the-art specialist and flexible research space, a world-class conferencing and event facility and exhibition space. A central atrium will allow natural light to flood every level of the building.
Mr Neil said: “It is a substantial boost for our renewables industry that we have secured the final £6.7 million that will enable this world class project to go ahead.
“I am sure this project can prove a real boost for our economy, securing massive research investment and hundreds of new jobs.
“I am absolutely determined that we focus our investment from areas like European funds on these kind of high value projects that create jobs and ensure we fully exploit our massive potential in areas like renewable energy.
“For the world class expertise we have in areas like renewables to flourish, we need to put in place the right infrastructure and superb facilities.
“That is exactly what the Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC) at Strathclyde University will provide and it is tremendous news that we now have all the funding needed in place.”
The Technology and Innovation Centre is the University of Strathclyde’s single biggest investment in research capacity and has attracted financial backing from Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council. Its founding industry partners are SSE, ScottishPower and the Weir Group.
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