Stirling City Deal cash will fund university expansion

Two international research centres will be developed at a leading Scottish university as part of the latest City Deal to be signed off by UK and Holyrood ministers.

Stirling University buildings and campus in the shadow of the Wallace Monument - pic Donald MacLeod 8.10.02
Stirling University buildings and campus in the shadow of the Wallace Monument - pic Donald MacLeod 8.10.02

The new facilities, focusing on the environment and aquaculture, will be opened at the University of Stirling thanks to £22 million in government funding. The investment forms part of a wider £90.2 million UK City Region Deal for Stirling and Clackmannanshire, the details of which were confirmed today.

Working in partnership with local authorities, the Scottish and UK governments are each investing £45.1 million with regional partners and the private sector.

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All of Scotland’s seven cities either now have in place or are in negotiations for a City Deal. Talks are also underway to secure growth deals for the Borders and Ayrshire.

Council bosses in Stirling and Clammannanshire will use the cash to pay for transport improvements across the two council areas as well as boosting economic growth.

The Scottish Government has also announced a further £5 million of investment, will fund a new business park at Kildean, and support the next stage of development of the proposed new infrastructure at Callander.

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The university will receive £17 million for a new Institute of Aquaculture and Global Aquatic Food Security facility, as well as £5 million for an International Environment Centre.

University principal Professor Gerry McCormac said: “Investment in world-class research through the City Deal will enable our researchers to further tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. By working in partnership, we can unleash our economic potential, delivering a unique source of jobs, growth, and skills development, both for Stirling, and the wider Scottish and UK economies.”

Speaking ahead of a visit to the university’s existing Institute of Aquaculture, Scottish secretary David Mundell said: “The ambitious and innovative deal will drive economic growth across the region, creating jobs and boosting prosperity for generations to come. It is now for Stirling and Clackmannanshire to get on with the hard work needed to turn these proposals into a reality.

He added: “Today’s announcement brings the UK Government’s investment in UK City Region Deals in Scotland to more than £1 billion. We are working hard to boost economic growth right across the UK.”

The Scottish Government’s secretary for the economy, Keith Brown, said: “Scotland’s cities and regional communities are the engines of our economy. Today’s Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal demonstrates our clear and strong commitment to supporting and growing the regional economy.

“This deal has the power to build on the area’s socio-economic strengths and expertise, developing them to transfer the economy, bringing sustained economic growth and positive social impact to all of its communities.”

The new development at the Institute of Aquaculture will form part of a new innovation hub which will operate four aquatic research facilities. Unique in the UK, the hub will provide the full range of marine environmental conditions, and create research and development opportunities to grow the export of Scottish aquaculture skills and products.

The International Environment Centre, involving a number of partners including Forth Valley College, will draw together academic expertise from across Scotland, the UK and the world. It aims to connect environmental research with business opportunities and will take full advantage of the natural environment and heritage of the region.