PM’s visit marks £27m grant for Cumbria University

A funding package to help develop the new University of Cumbria, worth £26m over the next eight years, was announced today by the North West Development Agency.

The Cumbrian economy is the weakest of the five sub-regions of the North West and the NWDA is keen to drive the local economy by encouraging graduate retention and higher value employment.

The funding follows £9.3m announced by the NWDA in July 2007 ahead of the University of Cumbria's official launch on 1 August 2007.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, visiting Cumbria today, said of the announcement: "I very much welcome this further investment for the development of the University of Cumbria; it's a vital project that will help the region attract new jobs in the future so Cumbria can emerge from the global downturn stronger than ever before. It directly creates 530 new jobs over eight years and will support the creation of 340 new businesses and help the University to increase the number of students by 28,000 by 2017, vital for further unlocking the talent of this region."

The University of Cumbria was formed by the merger of the St Martins College, Cumbria Institute of the Arts in Carlisle, and two of the Cumbrian campuses of the University of Central Lancashire, with strong links to the local FE colleges.

A £100m development programme includes the sale of a prime site in Ambleside and creation of new campuses in Lancaster, Barrow in Furness, Newton Rigg, Ambleside and Carlisle.

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