Swansea University’s 65-acre new Science and Innovation Bay Campus, being built at a cost of 450 million pounds, will be ready for its first intake of students, staff and business in September 2015.With a College of Engineering and School of Management, the university has also joined hands with fuel giant BP and Tata Steel Europe to create an Energy Safety Research Institute in the planned Science and Innovation campus as part of a £38million partnership. It is expected that around 150 jobs will be linked to the new institute. Tata Steel is also currently working with the University on SPECIFIC - the sustainable product engineering centre for innovative functional industrial coating.
Cardiff University has also partially opened its new innovation and entrepreneurship-focused campus. There are plans for another four buildings at a cost of £300 million. In an interview, the first minister of Wales Carwyn Jones tells HT Education that Welsh universities see themselves as innovators and job creators and are keen to invite students from overseas, particularly from India.
There are two new campuses being set up in Wales – Cardiff University’s new innovation and entrepreneurship-focused campus and Swansea University’s new Bay Campus that seeks to provide an open innovation environment for industry. Please tell us more.
Cardiff University is building an innovation campus with plans for four new buildings at a cost of around £300 million. The buildings will include the world’s first Social Research Park as well as an Innovation Centre, a translational research facility and a research institute for compound semiconductor technology. The campus already features a £30 million flagship research facility which was opened in 2013, while work has recently started on a new £44 million centre that will be home to some of the latest brain imaging technology. Swansea University is building a new engineering campus at the cost of £450 million. These are major investments of the future. Our universities know they have to invest in new facilities in order to draw the best academics and the best students. We all know that in order to draw the best students you got to create the best departments. Cardiff already has two Nobel Prize winners on its staff.
How many students do you hope to take in these two campuses? When will these campuses start inviting students?
Cardiff’s new campus is partially open and there are several new buildings that will open over the next few years. The new Swansea Campus is due to open in September next year. They would look to increase their numbers by over a thousand in those campuses. We are particularly keen to encourage students from overseas, particularly from India. Just to emphasise, there is no cap on the number of students from India and Indian students can stay in Wales if they get a graduate job. We have a vibrant Indian community in Wales so they are also assured of a good welcome.
Which industries will you focus on?
We have focussed our ­attention on particular ­sectors of our economy. We have eight universities and they have strong links with Indian institutions. They will want to develop those links as these things become more possible over the next few years.They will focus on areas that our economy considers to be strong such as automotive, aerospace, defence, life sciences etc because we know where businesses come to Wales and succeed in Wales.
Engineering is also an area of focus. We know for many years UK has had a shortage of engineers and that has to be rectified. Tata work very closely with our universities, they employ thousands in steel making and the government has very close relations with them.