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New partnership between University of Cumbria and Lancaster University to benefit Borderlands region

The University of Cumbria has set out its ambition to develop a new higher education campus in Carlisle which will benefit the Borderlands region and address productivity and skills needs in the area.

The Heads of Terms for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal identified the University of Cumbria as a potential partner in the Carlisle Station Gateway and Citadels project. The University is committed to working with Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in the further development of proposals for a £80m campus at the Citadels.

The proposal for the new campus aims to act as a catalyst for the Borderlands region by creating a new economic hub in the heart of Carlisle to encourage new business and employment opportunities and enable regeneration of the city centre, using the historic Citadel buildings as a focal point for higher education, business and cultural interaction.

In a collaborative partnership agreement with the University of Cumbria, Lancaster University Management School will have a presence at the campus and will be focused on extending its highly successful business engagement programmes into North Cumbria and the surrounding areas.

The collaboration between the two universities will concentrate on upskilling in the workplace, increasing higher education in the area and working with employers to meet new skills demands in areas such as digital, professional services and health and wellbeing. The two universities are also exploring other ways to work together and collaborate, for example on leveraging opportunities around widening participation with schools and colleges and on the apprenticeship agenda.

University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell said: “University of Cumbria has delivered significant impact in Cumbria especially around health, education and environment and the arts.

Our strategic plan sets out our commitment to widen and deepen this impact further, to address a greater proportion of Cumbria’s and our wider region’s higher-level skills demands and to meet the challenges of low productivity and an ageing population and workforce.

We are doing this by focusing on up-skilling and re-skilling in the workplace, increasing new HE entrants on and off our university campuses, and working with employers to meet new skills demands. This focus includes the establishment of our new Institute for Health and Institute for Business, Industry and Leadership.

We believe firmly in partnership working to deliver our and our region’s success and we look to collaborate with nationally and internationally-leading partners wherever possible to improve our offer and relevance to learners, employers and our region.

This new partnership with Lancaster will enable both universities to make a considerable impact on economic growth across Cumbria and the Borderlands region, in areas of health as well as business and we are extremely pleased to make this announcement.”

Lancaster University Interim Vice Chancellor Professor Steve Bradley said: “The universities of Lancaster and Cumbria already work successfully on a number of projects in Cumbria in relation to SME engagement and Lancaster has a proven track record of delivering value to SMEs with a focus on innovation and sustainability.

“In particular the two universities have recently collaborated in the development of the £15m Northwest Eco-Innovation project to support SME growth focused on innovation in low carbon technologies and services and in a joint submission for £25m of funding from the national Strength In Places fund. Our joint work has also supported the Cumbria LEP’s development of the area’s local industrial strategy.

“Having a presence in Cumbria, where our experts can be near and actively support local SMEs, is geographically important to our success in stimulating economic growth – a key regional goal for Lancaster University. Skills needed in the region have been identified as digital innovation and logistics where Lancaster has particular strengths.”

Leader of Cumbria County Council Councillor Stewart Young, said: “The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal recognises the importance of universities in raising the economic performance of places and I’m pleased to be working with the University of Cumbria on this exciting project which will strengthen their status as a higher education institution in Cumbria as well as contribute to the revitalisation of this historic part of Carlisle.”

Leader of Carlisle City Council, Councillor John Mallinson said: “The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal will provide transformational change for the city. The Carlisle Station Gateway and Citadels project is one of the first schemes to progress and will potentially result in the historic Citadel buildings being a focal point for higher education, business and cultural interaction.

“We encourage new business and employment opportunities and the regeneration of Carlisle city centre and look forward to working with partners to progress these proposals. This is an exciting time for the city.”