A new university designed to "create a pipeline of future employees" could be open for degree courses in two years.
Detailed plans for the University of Peterborough have been put out to public consultation for the first time.
The campus will specialise in technical and apprenticeship degrees and become a "major driver for economic growth", a Combined Authority spokesman said.
A planning application will be submitted by spring, with proposals for building to begin later this year.
The Conservative mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, first raised the idea of a university when he was elected in May 2017.
The combined authority, which the mayor heads, has allocated more than £24.8m to the project after a series of delays and doubts.
Peterborough City Council has also backed the plans with £1.6m in land investment.
Mr Palmer, alongside the city council which will also consider the planning application, opened a public consultation into the plans at Peterborough Cathedral.
Nearly £670,000 has been spent so far on the proposal for a campus on the city's North Embankment.
The first 2,000 students could be enrolled by September 2022 - growing to 12,500 by 2030, Mr Palmer said.
He described the university as "a cause close to my heart" in a city where "affluence has declined".
"The university will deliver courses that are targeted specifically towards industries across Peterborough where demand currently outstrips availability of skilled workers, creating a pipeline of future employees," he said.
John Holdich, Conservative leader of City Council, said the university would make Peterborough "an even more attractive place to live, work and set up business".
"A dedicated university will result in significant economic benefit for the whole city," he said.
The first three faculties would offer business and digital services as well as agric-tech and environmental courses, with plans for health and social care, engineering and manufacturing disciplines to follow.