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U4D welcomes Derry-Londonderry Regeneration Plan       printable version
16 Sep 2010: posted by the editor - Northern Ireland

Expanded university would bring enormous dividends
U4D has welcomed the publication of the Ilex regeneration plan for Derry.  The plan puts the substantial expansion of higher education at the heart of the regeneration of the city and region.

Padraig Canavan, chair of U4D, said: "U4D has been engaged wholeheartedly with the University of Ulster and Ilex in putting together the detail of a realistic plan for the substantial expansion of Magee.  We are excited by these proposals, which have been agreed by all the parties directly engaged in this comprehensive consultation and were formulated through the involvement of various experts and members of the Ilex regeneration planning process. 

"We applaud the commitment to these plans expressed by Professor Richard Barnett, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ulster, and Sir Roy McNulty the Chair of Ilex.

"The plans for the expansion of the university would see student numbers increase from their current 3,800 full and part time to 9,400 full time equivalents, courses for a 21st Century economy and the creation of 20 additional professorial chairs.  This would truly make Derry a 'University City'.  In itself, this would transform Derry in terms of its skill base, its culture and its society.  Taken together with the other elements of the regeneration plan it would literally create a 'new Derry-Londonderry'.

"Expansion of Magee would bring benefits to the many, not just the few.  Jobs would be created in construction, retail, tourism, culture, facilities management and the hospitality sector as a direct result of university expansion.  But the impacts would be felt much wider - more graduates in the population will lead to much higher levels of inward investment and the creation of new local businesses.  These in turn will create a wide spectrum of opportunity for the whole population, with extra jobs for graduates and non-graduates alike.  The expansion plans underpin may of the other regeneration projects, making Derry~Londonderry both attractive and capable of providing the skills necessary for the city to flourish.

"It is essential to see the expansion of Magee as part of a much needed greater focus on skills in the North West.  As well as needing more graduates, we need other technical skills and to ensure that people here both have the skills they need to obtain work and also the opportunity to learn for pleasure.  An expanded Magee is essential

in ensuring the maximum access possible to higher education locally, which is especially important in these difficult economic times.  The regeneration plan brings all these elements together.

"We would like to express our thanks and appreciation to all those who have worked together on the proposals for university expansion.  We recognize the significant personal contributions of Rosa McLaughlin and the team charged with putting the university expansion plan together - in particular by Professor John McCloskey, Professor David Chiddick, Professor Fabian Monds, Gerard Finnegan and Professor Deirdre Heenan."

* U4D - University for Derry - has been established by leaders of the community and business sectors in the North West of Ireland. Its aim is to substantially expand the provision of undergraduate and post-graduate education in Derry-Londonderry, based on the existing Magee campus. U4D believes that this is essential to address the serious economic weakness of the region and the related poverty. Increased university provision would raise skill levels, increase employment, attract higher levels of inward investment and improve the prospects of locally owned businesses.

* The aspirations of U4D were backed by a resolution of Derry City Council in December and have also been formally supported by the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

* U4D and the University of Ulster are strongly engaged in the city's regeneration planning process, which is being run by the Ilex urban regeneration company.

* U4D has published a detailed plan for the substantial expansion of higher education provision in Derry-Londonderry, which is published on its website,  A review of evidence on deprivation and the positive impact a university would make has also been published by U4D and can be downloaded from the U4D website.

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