Funding pledged for £400m Swansea uni science campus

Swansea science campus An artist's impression of the Swansea University science and innovation centre

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The Welsh Assembly Government has pledged funding for a £400m university science campus in Swansea.

It comes after oil giant BP, which is backing the scheme, warned it was at serious risk because of delays in confirming the capital funding.

The assembly government said the finer details of the project were being discussed.

Swansea University said it was "delighted" and BP said it was a "significant development".

Supporters of the Bay Science and Innovation Campus, which will be built on a 69-acre site off Fabian Way, say it could create thousands of jobs and put more than £3bn into the regional economy over 10 years.

It is intended to allow academic researchers to work with firms so they can commercialise ideas that will benefit the economy, allowing the university to collaborate with companies such as Rolls-Royce.

Start Quote

We welcome this significant development and look forward to working with the Welsh Assembly Government and Swansea University as this exciting project enters the next phase”

End Quote BP

Deputy first minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "We announced earlier this month that we are working closely with representatives involved with this project to explore ways of supporting this ambitious scheme.

"I am therefore pleased to state that we are supporting plans for the second campus and are in the process of finalising arrangements with our partners to take forward the first phase of the project.

"Our capital funding for the building of this project will of course be subject to the university demonstrating its ability to fund the ongoing operation of the project.

"The finer details of this very ambitious project are being discussed with all partners and we are currently confirming the details of the business case and the contractual details with partners."

A spokeswoman said she was unable to confirm how much the assembly government would provide.

SCIENCE CAMPUS OUTLINE PLANS

  • Research and development facilities to encourage industry to work side by side with researchers and students
  • Testing facility and innovation building in partnership with Rolls-Royce
  • Residential accommodation for up to 4,000 students
  • Auditorium/theatre building
  • Teaching, research facilities for schools of engineering, business, maths, economics and computer science
  • Source: Swansea University

It is understood that the project had come up against a funding gap of £15m which the assembly government had agreed to fill so the campus could go ahead.

'Economic renewal'

The announcement comes after a day of manoeuvring, during which oil giant BP, which has offered land and funding, said the campus was at "serious risk" because of delays in confirming assembly government funding.

Following the deputy first minister's statement, A BP spokesman said: "We welcome this significant development and look forward to working with the Welsh Assembly Government and Swansea University as this exciting project enters the next phase."

Pro-vice chancellor of Swansea University Professor Iwan Davies, the project's director, said: "We are delighted that the deputy first minister has been able to make a public announcement at this time.

"The deputy first minister has been supportive throughout this process and we have had on-going engagement and detailed discussions with his officials as well as our partners.

"With this announcement we can now ramp up the project to deliver one of the first major knowledge economy projects for the economic renewal programme."

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