UCD secures €350m from European Investment Bank for major capital investment in Belfield campus

Posted 29 October, 2021

European Investment Bank President Dr Werner Hoyer meeting with Professor Mark Rogers, UCD Registrar and Deputy President, and students at University College Dublin. Picture Jason Clarke

University College Dublin will double its faculty numbers and increase its student population by 25% over the decade through a series of capital investment projects facilitated by a €350 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Representing the EIB's largest ever financing of third level education in Ireland, the funds will be invested in the Belfield campus as part of the University’s 'Strategy 2020-2024', a five year plan aimed at increasing faculty and student numbers, building world-class academic facilities and student amenities, and advance services to support this growth.

Among the projects earmarked for development are:

  • The new Centre for Creativity: a landmark at the main entrance to UCD, this 12,600sqm Centre will foster the collision of ideas across disciplines and engagement between the University and the community.

    It will relocate Architecture and consolidate Engineering into the heart of the campus, offering state-of-the-art teaching facilities including studios and creative teaching suites.
  • The new Centre for Future Learning: a high-tech 11,600 sqm building that places active learning at its core, incorporating formal, informal, group and individual spaces that students need to acquire and practice a wide range of skills  It will be used by all UCD Colleges. 

  • A new extension to the O’Brien Centre for Science: This is phase 3 of the upgrading of science at UCD and includes the refurbishment of the Physics and Mathematics, Earth Sciences and Biology wings.

    Under the theme of Science in Data - Data in Science, this is a capstone project that will be the engine of teaching and research spanning health, ICT, environment and human wellbeing. This will be a world-class infrastructure, completing a facility of over 66,000 square metres for science.

  • The complete refurbishment of the Newman building, which houses Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the James Joyce Library. These are some of the oldest teaching buildings at Belfield.

  • New and improved sporting facilities to support student health and well-being through sport participation as well as elite sport, building on the strong tradition of UCD students in the international arena.

The UCD campus development plan exceeds €1billion, and funding will to be sourced from the EIB as well as philanthropy, increased student numbers, loans and Government grants.

‌‌‌Concept Design for the Centre for Creativity

“We have more students and employees at UCD than ever before,” said Professor Mark Rogers, UCD Registrar and Deputy President.

“We have planned our campus development to deliver a student experience that represents international best practice. We are guided by our strategic themes to build an accessible, sustainable, healthy and digitally-enabled campus for our university and the wider community.

“An exciting part of our plan is the Future Campus Masterplan, which in Phase 1 will deliver an iconic Centre for Creativity and a Centre for Future Learning.

“The UCD Centre for Creativity will be one of the most exciting pieces of modern architecture in Ireland and indeed in the world, making it a fitting frontispiece for the fabulous campus that is Belfield. In this way, we will make UCD a campus worthy of the people of Ireland and the world.”

Concept Design for the new bus interchange at UCD's future campus

Visiting UCD to formally announce the loan facility, EIB President Dr Werner Hoyer said it represented “transformational investment”.

“The campus development will build on UCD’s world-class scientific, engineering and social science strengths and provide even better student health and sporting facilities,” he added.

Educational projects that support the development of the knowledge economy in the European Union are one of the EIB’s key lending priorities.

The development of the UCD campus matches the EU’s focus on increasing investment in research and higher education, and aims to strengthen the University's position in an increasingly competitive academic environment.

Concept design for the news sports and student amenities

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, welcomed the investment.

“[This project] captures what a modern university can and should be – inclusive, innovative and ambitious,” he said.

“This will build on UCD’s world class campus and will importantly deliver for its students and the community it serves.”

The loan facility has been approved by the University Governing Authority, and each of the projects is brought before the GA before construction.

Planning permission for the Centre for Creativity and the Centre for Future Learning has now passed through all phases and preparatory work has commenced.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations