Students Staff
University of Essex

July 12, 2019

Investing in our future

We are a University investing in our future. Here our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster, tells us about the exciting developments that form our Capital Investment Plan.

We are a University with an ambitious strategic plan and to support this we have embarked upon an unprecedented staff recruitment cycle and we are expecting to welcome a record number of new students this year.

To ensure that we deliver our commitment to excellence in education and research and support the growth of the University to 20,00 students and 1,000 researchers by 2025, we are announcing £225m of capital investment. This will create exciting new facilities as well as further develop and enhance existing infrastructure across our three campuses. Funded through both annual cash surpluses and additional borrowing of £80 million, these investments will allow us to continue putting our students at the heart of everything we do.

Our new north teaching centre 2 will provide bespoke teaching and learning space.

To provide a transformational environment for both education and research we will be investing in:

  • A new academic building at Colchester Campus
  • A new teaching centre at Colchester Campus
  • New student accommodation at Colchester Campus – 1,250 bed spaces delivered in two phases
  • A new studio building at Loughton Campus

While new buildings form part of our plans, we will also make more efficient and effective use of our existing space; including reconfiguring offices, enhancing teaching spaces and libraries and refurbishing laboratories. By upgrading our physical and digital environment we hope to foster a culture of collaboration and team work. We will reconfigure and refurbish existing work and study spaces, knocking down real and perceived barriers, promoting partnerships and strong relationships across teams, departments and sections.

Infrastructure enhancement

To meet our ambitious research aspirations we are investing in:

  • Our research facilities through a programme of improvement works for our existing laboratories and equipment. Refurbishments to lab spaces and equipment for Health and Social Care and Computer Science and Electronic Engineering have recently been completed and a refurbishment of lab spaces and equipment for Sport Rehabilitation and Exercise Science is planned for this summer along with development of the glasshouse facility for Biological Sciences.
  • A new double height studio at Loughton Campus is set to be completed by Sept 2020.

    We will work to enhance our existing 1960s estate, making the very best of the space that we have. We will improve learning spaces by enhancing teaching equipment, furniture and spaces, and provide flexible environments for varied teaching styles.

  • The refurbishment of our six iconic Towers at Colchester Campus will continue, with works expected to be completed by 2023/24.
  • We will deliver on our commitment to excellence in education by redesigning our online learning modules and creating digitised training materials, improving student assessment systems and developing timetabling and room booking systems.
  • We will also deliver a new curriculum management system, build a new Learning Gateway, upgrade our in-house student information system and develop our admissions system.
  • Our ambitious website project Phase 3 will also continue, aiming to give our students a seamless and personalised experience online.
  • We will investigate solutions for better research data storage and evolve our digital services as part of the software anywhere project.
  • We will procure a new finance planning, scenario and budgeting tool to ensure we have accurate scenario analysis and we will upgrade our email infrastructure and improve our commercial email security.

New facilities – enabling growth and transformation

A new academic building at Colchester Campus will accommodate our new academic staff as well as enhancing the learning experience for our students. The building will incorporate multi-functional learning spaces, collaborative spaces, study spaces, event space, a common room, department receptions and a café. The build is planned for the North of campus and will incorporate the refurbishment of Rayleigh Square which will provide outdoor space for social and study purposes.

New studio space will allow East 15 Loughton Campus to expand their course offering, enhancing their student experience and allowing for growth.

Carbon reduction

Our Innovation Centre is now open on the Knowledge Gateway.

We have ambitious carbon reduction and energy saving targets and our work in this area will continue. We will continue to install photovoltaic panels on our buildings and will move towards more modern, energy-efficient systems. We will also ensure our new builds are highly energy-efficient.

Knowledge Gateway

Both the Innovation Centre and Parkside Office Village phase 2 have recently completed and we will now look for funding to support the further development of both sites.

This is another exciting phase in our journey and we will keep you updated as to the progress of these works.

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