New university base set to give city £3m-plus boost in first year

A hard hat tour of the new UCMK building
A hard hat tour of the new UCMK building

A new business-focused university campus in Milton Keynes is set to give the city’s economy a boost of some £3.195 million in its first year.

That’s according to a local assessment of academic evidence presented at a briefing into University Campus Milton Keynes (UCMK), in Saxon Court.

UCMK is a joint enterprise of Milton Keynes Council and the University of Bedfordshire, designed to fill a perceived gap for business-focused Higher Education provision in the city.

Bill Rammell, vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, said UCMK’s global outlook will be key in achieving the shared goal of becoming a truly international city.

Mr Rammell said: “I know of nowhere else where a local authority is matching a university’s investment in delivering a new campus.”

That joint investment already committed stands at £25 million. Students will give a £1.5million boost and this could be multiplied across the local economy.

Mr Rammell believes the opening of UCMK will be a giant leap forward in the development from New Town to Smart City, which are fully equipped to meet the demands of the digital world. He said that one of the most vital of those demands is educating young people to meet the needs of business.

He says it is a triumph of the cooperation between businesses, council, educationalists and other local stakeholders that UCMK has finally been achieved. Student numbers in September 2013 are anticipated to be between 100 and 120, studying engineering and technology, management, journalism and psychology.

UCMK will have three multi-purpose and flexible seating spaces for between 20 and 50 students, two specialist labs (electronics and telecommunications), a general purpose (20 seat) computing lab, a learning resources centre, student social space and group study areas and a Continuing Professional Development centre.