£44.68 million funding approval for Combined Universities in Cornwall

The Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) has secured a massive £44.68 million funding package for the construction of its striking new campus near Falmouth.The funding is made up of £24.7 million from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Objective One programme; £12.78 million from the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), £5.7 million from the Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE) and £1.5 million from charities and CUC partners.

Combined with £2.2 million of SWRDA and Objective One funding already in place to cover pre-construction design costs, the CUC now has all the necessary funding to build its £44.8 million campus at Tremough, on the outskirts of Penryn near Falmouth, in preparation for its first students in September of next year.

Preparatory work for the 20,000 sq metre building, which will have a landscaped roof as part of its groundbreaking design, is already underway.

Professor Alan Livingston, chairman of the Combined Universities in Cornwall Executive and Principal of Falmouth College of Arts, said: “This really is a momentous day in the development of the CUC. The contributions from Objective One, SWRDA, HEFCE and other partners mean we can proceed with what is currently one of the largest developments in Higher Education in the UK.”

Stephen Bohane, head of operations for SWRDA in Cornwall said: “This is SWRDA’s biggest investment in Cornwall to date and is a measure of how important we regard the CUC as a catalyst for economic regeneration across the county.”

The CUC is a unique partnership between the universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Falmouth College of Arts, the Open University, the College of St Mark and St John in Plymouth, and the Further Education providers in Cornwall, namely Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College.

As well as the main campus, a further £15.9 million will be invested in new higher education facilities at Further Education college sites across Cornwall, offering students a wide range of quality courses at a variety of locations.

By 2010, the CUC will have created an additional 4,000 Higher Education student places in Cornwall, producing 1,300 graduates a year. The degrees awarded by CUC partner institutions will be from the universities of Exeter and Plymouth, both of which have established reputations for excellence, and the structure is being seen as a model for the future development of Higher Education in Britain.

Rama Thirunamachandran, Acting Director for Institutions for the Higher Education Funding Council, which will provide around £16 million for the CUC in total and will be providing recurrent funding for the new students, said: “The CUC is a unique partnership breaking new ground in the provision of Higher Education in this country, and is a model that can be commended to other parts of the UK.”

Sir Geoffrey Holland, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: “Today’s funding announcement is a breakthrough in the development of the CUC. We are already adding to our Cornwall operations with a range of new degree programmes, and we look forward to relocating them to what will be a superb living and learning environment at Tremough in 2004.”

Professor Les Ebdon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth and a member of the CUC Executive, said, “The CUC project is not only a quantum jump forward for higher education provision in Cornwall, it is also pioneering a new approach to providing HE and the eyes of Europe are on Cornwall. This collaboration is providing a real ladder of opportunity for Cornish students and we are proud to have played a key role in this development.”

Bill Bawden, Objective One programme director said: “Students studying at the CUC, whether at the main campus or one of the satellite campuses in Cornwall, will be able to combine a superb academic programme and excellent facilities with an unrivalled quality of life and stunning natural environment.”

John Lobb, leader of Cornwall County Council, said: “Cornwall County Council has supported and promoted CUC since the earliest days, and is pleased to see it growing into an innovative model for the future development of higher education in Britain. This latest funding package will bring world class facilities to the Tremough campus, and we look forward to welcoming CUC's first students to Cornwall in September 2003.”

The CUC is Cornwall’s largest Objective One-funded project and is being built in two phases. The first phase will be completed by the end of 2004, with phase two expected to be finished by the end of 2007.


Editors notes:


An architectural drawing showing how the CUC’s main campus building will look is available on request from Deborah Clark & Associates on 01872 276276.

Economic impact

An economic impact study has estimated that the CUC will generate £32 million a year for Cornwall’s GDP. It is expected to create an additional 1,000 jobs and lead to the construction of 35,600 sq metres of new buildings.

Structure and costs

The structure of the CUC is unique in the UK, comprising a central ‘Hub’ campus supporting and supported by Cornwall’s Further Education colleges at the ‘Rim’. Developments at the Hub and Rim will be in two phases between now and 2007, costing a total of £96 million.

The Hub is a new purpose-built campus at Penryn near Falmouth, which complements Falmouth College of Arts’ existing campus, offering world-class facilities for up to 5,000 students. It will include the world-renowned Camborne School on Mines, part of Exeter University, which will relocate from its existing location at Camborne into state-of-the-art premises.

The Hub will cost £69.4 million in total and will be built in two phases. Phase one will cost £44.8 million and that funding package is now in place. The first new facilities will be completed in September 2003, with the remainder finished by the end of 2004. Phase Two will cost an estimated £24.6 million and will completed by the end of 2007.

The total investment in facilities at the Rim amounts to £26.9 million and is also phased. Phase one, which is well underway, will see £15.9 million invested in new facilities to help Cornwall’s Further Education colleges expand their existing programmes. Of this, £15.2 million is already approved and under construction. This work will be completed by the end of 2004. Phase two will see around £11 million invested in the Rim, completed by the end of 2007.

Main campus funding (Phase one)

Funding for the £44.8 million investment at the main campus has come from the following:
Objective One European Regional Development Fund: £24.7 million
South West Regional Development Agency: £12.78 million (of which £10.6 million will go towards Hub construction costs with the remainder earmarked for future CUC development)
Higher Education Funding Council England: £5.77 million
Charities and CUC partners: £1.5 million
A further £2.2 million, made up of £1.2 million of Objective One funding and £1 million from SWRDA, is already in place to cover pre-construction design costs.
TOTAL £44.8 million

Rim funding (Phase one)

£15.2 million of funding for the CUC’s satellite sites around the ‘Rim’ has come from the following:
Objective One European Regional Development Fund: £7.4 million
Higher Education Funding Council England: £6.7 million
Charities and CUC partners: £1.1 million

Objective One

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is making £314 million of grant aid available to support the local economy between 2000 and 2006, of which £186 million is from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), defined by the European Commission as:

Helping reduce the gap between development levels and living standards among the regions and the extent to which least-favoured regions are lagging behind.

Helping redress the main regional imbalances in the Community by participating in the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind, and the social conversion of regions.


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