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University celebrates £7 million government funding

The University of Gloucestershire is celebrating the announcement that it will benefit from £7 million of new investment from the Government to support centres of excellence for cyber security and renewable energy, as part of joint projects with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS).

£3 million will be invested in a Cyber Security project to be based at the University’s Park Campus in Cheltenham and at the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park which is being developed at Berkeley Green. £4 million will also be invested in an Advanced Renewable Energy Research Centre (ARERC) at Berkeley Green.

The facilities are two of six projects in the county that will receive additional investment worth £15 million. This brings the total investment by the Government in the Gloucestershire Growth Deal to £77.5 million. This latest funding was confirmed this morning (Thursday, 29 January) by the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, during a visit to the county.

Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “This is further fantastic news for Gloucestershire and the University. The Berkeley site has huge potential to become a centre of excellence as the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park, driving growth in key sectors for our economy. We are delighted to be working with SGS College, the LEP and other partners in developing this crucial site.

“Today’s announcement allows us to push forward in two key areas. Computing and cyber-security is already an area of strength for the University, in which we are investing heavily at our Park campus in Cheltenham as well as at Berkeley. IT applications and cyber-security are key business issues, and there is a cluster of expertise in the locality to work with. This growth deal funding will enable us to keep investing in new capability, with cutting edge equipment and facilities, expanding the opportunities for training, skills development, enterprise and applied research.

“The second component is the Advanced Renewable Energy Resource Centre. Here too we are building on a recognised strength of the University, because we are one of the leading universities in the county for our work on sustainability. It is also an area of great potential strength for the Gloucestershire economy, which is home to some leading companies in the sector. The ARERC project will develop new ideas and innovation, and build a coalition of expertise with the renewable energy sector, in order to meet one of the great economic challenges of the twenty-first century in Gloucestershire and beyond – how do we keep generating sufficient energy to meet our needs in a sustainable way? This growth deal funding will enable us to invest in new facilities and equipment, substantially strengthening our teaching, enterprise and research programmes for the benefit of students and businesses.

“The University of Gloucestershire is proud of the part we play in driving high-skill, knowledge intensive growth and innovation for the benefit of the county. Today’s announcement will enable us to up the pace in working with SGS College, the LEP and other partners in developing the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park at Berkeley as a centre of real expertise and excellence in cyber-security and renewable energy.”

Kevin Hamblin, Principal and CEO of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, said: “I am excited about the support from the GFirst LEP that continues our investment in the former Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories and our planned development to create the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park. In addition to the creation of a skills centre opening in 2016 at the Berkeley site, focussed on engineering, we are also developing the site further to support the growing need for training within digital technologies and cyber security which has been recognised as one of the fastest growing areas of the economy within Gloucestershire.”

Commenting on the investment in the planned Cyber Security Training and Conference Centre, Patrick McLoughlin said: “I am often reluctant to use the word ‘unique’, but we are in a unique position with the facilities and opportunities here. With the recent cyber attacks in the US and Europe, for example, we can certainly see the potential to get it right.

“I look forward to coming back and seeing what’s been achieved.”