Dublin City University (DCU) has just announced an ambitious €230m capital development plan which will physically transform the multi-campus university and provide a platform to realise its ambitions in research, teaching and learning, student experience and enterprise engagement.
The university has been successful in securing long-term loan and bridging finance to drive its programme of infrastructural improvements over the next 5 years. Finance from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and the European Investment Bank will significantly enhance capacity in research and innovation, the construction of a new Student Centre, provision of new sports facilities, additional on-campus accommodation and 21st Century digital teaching spaces. The remainder is being provided by philanthropic donations, government grants, student contributions and funding from the university itself.
The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, managed by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), has initially committed long-term funding of €54m to help the university deliver on its strategic vision while maximising sustainability and economic impact. The funds will be used to specifically target student accommodation projects and are structured to facilitate the provision of EIB funding in parallel. The Fund has advised of its appetite in principle to fund up to an additional €66m, subject to the proposed project investments meeting its dual mandate of commercial return and economic impact.
The investment will allow for the upgrade of facilities on the All Hallows Campus and the construction of student accommodation, following the signing of final contracts for the purchase of the campus by DCU earlier this month. It will also facilitate the construction of two new floors on the F Building on the St Patrick’s College campus which will provide additional capacity to support the incorporation of St Patrick’s College, Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Church of Ireland College of Education into DCU.
On the Glasnevin campus, the finance will facilitate a buy-back of existing campus residences and construction of a further 560 on-campus student accommodation. This will bring the total capacity to over 2,200 student bed units across the university’s campuses, helping address the pressing issue of student accommodation across the greater Dublin region.
Eugene O’Callaghan, Director of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund commented, “Education is a key enabler of national competitiveness and being able to provide commercial funding for such a critical part of DCU’s facilities aligns strongly with our dual investment mandate. We have also utilised one of the Fund’s key differentiating features – our long-term investment horizon – to facilitate significant parallel funding by the EIB.
Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided more than €10bn for long-term investment in higher education across Europe including nearly €800m for education investment across Ireland. This has backed investment in new schools and third-level institutions in Limerick, Maynooth, Trinity College, UCD and the National Maritime College. The 23-year loan to DCU for €76m from Europe’s long-term lending institution will support investment to improve university facilities including the construction of new research and innovation buildings, student accommodation and 21st Century digital teaching spaces.
“The European Investment Bank recognises the high quality and ambition of the development plans that will strengthen research, teaching and student life at Dublin City University to benefit future generations of students and ensure their skills match the needs of 21st Century employers. This new €76m loan demonstrates the European Investment Bank’s firm commitment to support long-term investment that improves economic opportunities and social infrastructure across Ireland and follows an increased focus on ensuring continued investment in education in the country. The European Investment Bank looks forward to backing similar impressive schemes elsewhere in Ireland in the months and years ahead.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.
An IT transformation and teaching equipment renewal programme will provide a state-of-the-art digital campus experience for student and staff alike. The construction of extensions to the Stokes and Lonsdale Buildings on the Glasnevin Campus will provide lecture theatres and classrooms for the delivery of programmes across a range of disciplines, while a refurbishment of Albert College will also provide a new suite of teaching and learning spaces.
A new Student Centre will commence construction in Summer 2016 to create a purpose-built space for students’ social, cultural, global engagement and entrepreneurial activities.
Research and innovation capacity at DCU will be significantly enhanced with the completion of the new 3,000 sq.m. Nano-Bioanalytical Research Facility on the Glasnevin Campus. DCU Alpha, the university’s Innovation Campus, will also benefit from this endorsement by the European Investment Bank and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, as it seeks development partners for the next phase of refurbishment and expansion of its growing tech cluster which already accommodates 35 companies employing more than 350 staff.
The agreements were announced at a special agreement-signing ceremony today at DCU.
Professor Brian MacCraith, DCU President, commented, “Today’s announcement heralds the commencement of a massive transformation project for Dublin City University which will see us extend our geographical footprint in North Dublin to become a four campus institution with first-class facilities for students and researchers alike. As Ireland’s fastest growing university, DCU is committed to developing an environment which will shape the critical thinkers and problem-solvers of the future. Investment in research and teaching facilities is essential to innovation and the unlocking of new ideas, both fundamental to a sustainable Irish economy.”
Professor MacCraith continued,
“We are delighted that the European Investment Bank and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund share and support our vision for what will be largest infrastructural development plan in this university’s lifetime. We can now fully embark on this ambitious programme of development which will not only advance our mission of excellence in education, research and innovation but also enhance the DCU student experience of a growing student body which will number 16,000 on completion of incorporation of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Mater Dei Institute of Education and the Church of Ireland College of Education in September this year.”
This capital investment will complement and facilitate the roll-out of key DCU projects which were announced at the recent launch of DCU/Shaping the Future, an ambitious €100m fundraising drive by the university which will prioritise life-impacting research in the areas of connected health, media, education, conflict-resolution and water quality amongst many others.