University College London (UCL) has agreed a £280m loan with the European Investment Bank to develop its Bloomsbury and UCL East campuses, the largest sum ever lent by the bank to a university.
The 30-year loan will provide funding for UCL’s Bloomsbury campus in central London, which is undergoing an ambitious programme to upgrade and expand its historic buildings as well as finance for the building of UCL East, the university’s new site at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.
UCL, founded in 1826, is investing £1.25bn over 10 years to implement its Transforming UCL programme, which includes developing two campuses as well as other projects across London, to support growth in its world-leading teaching and research and create a more vibrant, student-focused environment.
It’s the largest capital investment programme UCL has undertaken since the building of its original campus, and is one of the biggest being carried out in the higher education sector in the UK.
Projects in Bloomsbury include the refurbishment and expansion of the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture which will house nearly 1,000 staff and students and the building of a new student centre, on which construction started this year. Investment in the Bloomsbury campus is expected to be around £740m.
In 2014, the university announced that it would build UCL East, a new campus at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to form part of the wider Olympicopolis education and cultural quarter.
UCL East is envisaged as a radical new model of how a university campus can be embedded in the local community and with businesses.
View of UCL East site: boundary highlighted in red (image courtesy London Legacy Development Corporation)
The new campus will bring together cross-disciplinary UCL expertise in such areas as creativity and material culture, future global cities, experimental engineering, and education and research through public service, including the UCL Centre for Access to Justice. The first phase of UCL East is due to open during the 2019/2020 academic year.
The loan agreement was formally signed during a visit to UCL by Jonathan Taylor, Vice President of the European Investment Bank. The loan follows the investment of £25 million in January in the new UCL Technology Fund by the European Investment Fund, which is part of the EIB group and provides risk finance to small and medium sized enterprises across Europe.
Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, added: “UCL is proud of its world-class teaching and research and this support from the European Investment Bank will help us deliver our ambitious growth plans, enhancing facilities for students and allowing our academics to continue to tackle key global research challenges. Our investment in our Bloomsbury and UCL East campuses is substantial and will support our activities for decades to come, allowing us to deliver on the UCL 2034 programme which sets out our 20 year strategy.”
Since 2010 the European Investment Bank has provided more than £2.1bn for transformational investment at 30 universities across the UK. This has included new campuses in Swansea and Belfast, cutting edge research facilities in Oxford and Edinburgh, the world-class Technology and Innovation Hub at Strathclyde and new research and teaching facilities in Newcastle, Birmingham, Hull and Lincoln.