West Midlands Combined Universities has put regional university investment on the map at MIPIM – the annual international property convention held in Cannes.
Representatives from Birmingham City University, Coventry University and the University of Wolverhampton were part of a delegation of Midlands Engine private and public sector partners – one of the largest of its kind to represent the UK this year – to attend the four day event which started on 14th March.
Coventry University showcased its commitment to investing £430 million on a range of new buildings, improvements and other property initiatives over the next five years having already invested £150 million during recent years.
The unprecedented investment will include the development of the current Coventry City Council Civic Centre site, a second Engineering and Computing building, remodelling of the Arts & Humanities and Business & Law faculties, the completion of the new Science and Health Building for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences as well as student accommodation.
Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said: “We believe that constantly improving our campus brings benefits both to our students and to the environment of the city centre which in turn help attract further investment. Our ambitions around our estate are not just about improving our student experience but also driving forward our local economy.”
The University of Wolverhampton showcased its £100 million Springfield regeneration project. The site of the former Springfield brewery in Wolverhampton has been transformed into Europe’s largest specialist construction and built environment campus, bringing together businesses and the education sector to maximise impact on the economy.
Since its purchase in 2014, the former derelict site is the home of the West Midlands Construction University Technical College with plans in place to build a School of Architecture and Built Environment and an Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, providing a skills pathway for construction education and training from the age of 14 through to senior professionals.
Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “The £100 million development, part of ‘Our Vision – Your Opportunity’ strategy to invest £250 million in the region over five years, is acting as the catalyst for economic and social regeneration – tailored to creating jobs and delivering the technical and professional experts required by industry.
“MIPIM is one of the most important real estate shows in the annual property calendar and offers the University an ideal platform to talk directly to investors, developers and financial institutions about the potential benefits of investing in our ambitious regeneration project in Wolverhampton.”
Birmingham City University were represented at a breakfast briefing which reflected on how the Midlands has become the UK’s engine for digital growth. Professor of Enterprise Systems at the University, Ardavan Amini, took part in the panel discussion with delegates.
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Notes to editors
West Midlands Combined Universities (WMCU) website – www.wmcu.ac.uk
FACTS & FIGURES
- The West Midlands Combined Universities (WMCU) collectively span a region which encompasses three Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and seven metropolitan councils – bodies which themselves make up the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
- The devolved body WMCA covers:
- Birmingham City Council
- City of Wolverhampton Council
- Coventry City Council
- Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
- Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
- Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
- Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council
- Black Country LEP
- Coventry and Warwickshire LEP
- Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP
- The area covered is home to over 4 million people and has an economy worth £80 billion a year (GVA) through its 130,000 businesses and the 7 million jobs it supports.
- The WMCU comprises three universities representing the three core cities of the West Midlands. Between these universities there is:
- a total combined revenue of over £600 million;
- to be around £1 billion of combined investment in the region by 2021;
- circa 70,000 students and 8,500 staff in total.