By Stephen McVey

Queen’s University has announced an ambitious investment programme that will see a major boost to the South Belfast area. Speaking at the beginning of the summer graduation ceremonies on Monday, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Peter Gregson said that a total of £200 million would be invested in the university over the next four years.

“Today’s announcement is good news for Queen’s University, the local economy and the education of our young people. The funding settlement for higher education agreed last year by the Northern Ireland Executive creates more places for local students, allows for an increase in international students and, in turn, will provide a much needed boost to the local economy.

Queen’s Professor Tony Gallagher has detailed how some of the funds will be used.

“The money will help us attract more students to Belfast and improve the quality of the student experience. We plan to revamp the old library tower with the possibility of it becoming our new law centre.

“A new centre for vision and vascular science will be built at the Lisburn Road site with the old medical library possibly becoming the location for the school of biological science.

“South Belfast will feel the benefits of this investment, as it will improve the university area, and also attract more investment in the coming years.”

The Vice-Chancellor said the capital development would focus on new student accommodation and the redevelopment of library buildings.

“Over the past decade our investment in new buildings and facilities has supported over 10,000 jobs in the construction industry. The investment plan we are announcing today will lead to more construction jobs, support local businesses and inject much needed money into the Northern Ireland economy.”

Minister for Employment and Learning, Stephen Farry has highlighted the importance of QUB to the economy.

“This demonstrates that higher education is about much more than just teaching and research.  The higher education sector is an important economic driver that we must continue to support and I am pleased to see Queen’s University leading the way.”

Professor Gallagher said the university is addressing the accommodation problems that they are experiencing, as more and more international students are attracted to the university. We have estimated we need to increase our purpose built bed spaces by 900, and will be doing this over the next three to four years.”

 

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