College benefits from City Deal funding

City Deal benefits college

College benefits from City Deal funding

Forth Valley College are set to be heavily involved in projects being developed through the City Deal Funding plans which were revealed on Thursday 31 May.

Two new international research centres – focussing on aquaculture and the environment – will be developed at the University of Stirling thanks to £39 million in government funding.

The significant investment forms part of a £90.2 million UK City Region Deal for Stirling and Clackmannanshire, announced at the Engine Shed  conservation centre in Stirling by the UK and Scottish Governments.

The University will receive £17 million for a new Institute of Aquaculture and Global Aquatic Food Security facility, as well as £22 million for an International Environment Centre developed in partnership with Forth Valley College and Clackmannanshire Council.

The International Environment Centre will draw together academic and technical expertise from across Scotland, the UK and the world. It will connect environmental research with business opportunities, skills  and training and will take full advantage of the natural environment and heritage of the region.

It is understood the plans will deliver economic growth that is more socially inclusive. It will provide new opportunities and aspirations for young adults, the development of skills, and the creation of a sustainable and distinctive source of employment for Scotland. It is hoped the Scottish Environment Centre will provide the best possible conditions and infrastructure for businesses to flourish and will ensure a cleaner, greener and healthier environment for future generations.

The Centres will be located on two adjacent and complementary sites that are just 15 minutes apart. One takes advantage of the University of Stirling’s stunning 330-acre campus and proximity to a world-leading research environment; the other maximises the opportunity afforded by the regeneration of a derelict industrial site on the banks of the River Forth in Alloa, while drawing on the training and technological expertise offered by Forth Valley College.

FVC Principal Dr Ken Thomson, said: “The opportunities are huge for the whole of Forth Valley. The strides we have taken as a college over the last few years have allowed us to position ourselves at the forefront of the planning and development of new facilities such this which will transform skills and communities throughout Stirling and Alloa.

“The relationship we have built with the University of Stirling is unique in the Scottish and UK education sector and we are delighted to be strengthening this further as we work jointly with them and our other dynamic partners to fulfil the vision this funding will provide.”

The announcement was also welcomed by University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac, who said: “I welcome today’s signing of a City Deal for Stirling and Clackmannanshire, which will bring significant economic benefits. 

“Investment in world-class research through the City Deal will enable University of Stirling 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.”

Details of the UK City Region Deal – funded by the UK and Scottish Governments – were revealed at the Engine Shed conservation centre in Stirling, where heads of terms were signed.

Speaking ahead of a visit to the University’s world-leading Institute of Aquaculture, the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, said: “The UK Government is investing £45 million in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal. 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.

“This is just one part of a programme of UK City Region Deals across Scotland. Today’s announcement brings the UK Government’s investment in UK City Region Deals in Scotland to more than £1 billion.  All of Scotland’s seven cities either have, or are in negotiation for, a deal. And talks are also underway on the Borderlands and Ayrshire growth deals.

“The UK Government is working hard to boost economic growth right across the UK.  We want to work with the Scottish Government where we can to ensure the sustainability and prosperity of Scotland’s economy.”

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet 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.

“That is why the Scottish Government has agreed to invest £45.1 million as part of a £90.2 million City Region Deal that will deliver significant long-term benefits for Stirling and Clackmannanshire and Scotland as a whole.

“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 for the Institute of Aquaculture will form part of a new Aquaculture 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 City Deal will also include new and improved Active Travel routes across the region, and the development of a programme of investments in digital skills, training and business development, alongside the creation of digital hubs in Callander and Alloa.

It will also see the development of the Scottish Tartan Centre in Stirling to celebrate the history of the iconic fabric; the release of MOD land to the council to align with their housing and business plans; and support from the Department of Work and Pensions to help people from disadvantaged groups in Clackmannanshire to access work.

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