£8.8 million boost for Combined Universities in Cornwall

The Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project takes a major step forward today with the approval of an £8.8 million funding package, more than half of which has come from the Objective One funding programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The investment marks a crucial stage in the development of the CUC, which aims to attract an extra 4,000 new students to Cornwall by 2010, creating a projected 1,000 new jobs and generating £31 million a year in the local economy.

The ‘hub’ of the CUC will be at the Falmouth College of Arts campus near Penryn, where a £43 million phase one investment programme, involving the construction of four major teaching blocks, is on course to start early in the New Year for completion by September 2004.

A further £16 million will be invested at the CUC’s so-called ‘rim’ sites – namely all the further education providers in Cornwall - which have joined forces with Falmouth College of Arts, the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter, the College of St Mark and St John in Plymouth and the Open University to make the CUC a reality.

CUC co-ordinator Gordon Kelly said: "This latest tranche of funding will enable us to continue our essential start-up work. Firstly it will allow us to undertake the preparatory work ready for the big build at Tremough and at a number of the rim campus sites right up to tender stage.

"In parallel with the bricks and mortar side of the CUC we are developing the academic programme, including the content and materials for the 32 courses we will be delivering at the hub. Two thirds of these are undergraduate courses, and a third postgraduate.

"Then we have to promote and market those courses to potential students nationally and internationally, while building up our research capacity to firmly establish the credibility and attractiveness of the courses on offer.

"Meanwhile, staff appointments to enable us to do this cannot be self-funding until all the courses are fully enrolled in year three at the earliest, so this latest funding package helps bridge that gap and meet our start-up costs.

Objective One programme director Bill Bawden said: "The importance of the CUC to Cornwall’s future prosperity cannot be over-stated. Its direct economic impact in terms of job creation and student expenditure – substantial in itself – will be eclipsed by the many long-term benefits of giving the people of Cornwall wider access to education, which in turn increases participation and raises aspiration.

"The CUC will also help Cornwall retain it young people by building strong links with local business and industry, and many of its courses will reflect Cornwall’s strengths, such as earth sciences, renewable technology, leisure, art and design.

"Ninety per cent of young people in Cornwall who take up higher education leave Cornwall, and many never return. The CUC will help reverse that trend.

The CUC’s £8.8 million funding package includes £4.98 million from the European Regional Development Fund under Objective One; £2 million from the Higher Education Funding Council; £1.45 million from the South West Regional Development Agency; £315,000 from Cornwall’s FE colleges; £109,000 from Falmouth College of Arts and £5,000 from Cornwall County Council.


Editors notes:

Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel:01872 241379
Fax:01872 241388