02 Feb 2017
A vision to create a new engineering, science and technology centre for Kent and Medway, boosting regional business and economic growth, has been given the seal of approval by the Government today, with an injection of £6.12m from the Local Growth Fund.
The Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, welcomed news today that the University has been successful in its bid for Government funding. He said: “We are delighted that our funding proposal for a new Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub, has been successful.
“This new facility will be worth up to an estimated £11m a year to the Kent and Medway economy and will add an additional 1,250 graduates with higher level engineering and technology skills into the labour market by 2024.”
The multi-million pound facility based in Canterbury, with satellite facilities at Discovery Park, Medway and other parts of Kent, will support high-value employment, growth and investment in engineering and technology businesses.
The Government announcement enables Christ Church to move forward with its plans to work with local businesses to develop a new curriculum that will attract a broader range of applicants to engineering and technology, which will help to address the recruitment and innovation challenges that are holding back regional economic growth and investment.
The ‘Local Growth Fund’ investment was secured through the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership (a federated board of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership), which brings together key leaders from business, local government, further and higher education to explore opportunities for business.
Geoff Miles, KMEP Chairman and SELEP Vice-Chairman, said: “This investment enables us to drive forward our shared growth agenda delivering economic growth, new jobs, facilitating housing, improving connectivity and boosting skills.
“The additional funding that will be leveraged into Kent and Medway as a result of today’s infrastructure investments is testament to the continued success of our area.”
SELEP Chairman Christian Brodie said: “This Growth Deal settlement is a huge boost for the economy in Kent and Medway.
“We have secured funding to channel significant investment into the projects, which are of highest priority to our businesses and local areas.”
The University’s plan to expand teaching and research in the sciences is part of its wider ambition to transform its main campus in Canterbury, following the purchase of the former Canterbury Prison site in 2014.
The funding will contribute to the construction and equipment costs of the new facility. It will be located in a new building, recently granted planning permission by Canterbury City Council, on the former prison site.
KM Edge will offer the region: