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Government funds new Engineering and Digital Technology Park at the University of Chichester

Prof Clive Behagg with government ministers

As part of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal with Government, the University of Chichester has been awarded £8million to launch a new Engineering and Digital Technology Park at the Bognor Regis Campus, providing cutting edge skills to 500 students per year.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Clive Behagg commented: “This investment will enable the University to radically extend its academic portfolio to meet national and local government agendas for economic growth by increasing opportunities to grow new businesses and jobs at a local and regional level. Our bid for funding was put together by an amazing team at the University with great support from many engineering and creative technology businesses in the area.”

The new Engineering and Digital Technology Park will include an Institute for Sustainable Enterprise and a Centre for Digital Technology, located in a signature new building with a new prominent gateway entrance. It enables the creation of a Research Centre for Sustainable Operations and Departments of Data Science and Advanced Engineering & Design. These developments will work with and build on the teaching, enterprise and research of our existing Business School and our existing Media and Music departments.

Professor Behagg went on to say: “The University has so many local organisations to thank for their encouragement, including Arun District Council, the Bognor Regis Regeneration Board, Coastal West Sussex, West Sussex County Council and our visionary Local Enterprise Partnership, Coast to Capital.

“But I would particularly like to thank the people of Bognor Regis, including the Town Council, who have been unfailing in their faith in their local University.  We will work hard to justify their belief in us by making this project a vital element in economic regeneration to benefit local people.”

The Growth Deal is part of a £12billion long-term programme to revitalise local economies. The deals are the latest and greatest example of the British economy being rebuilt from the bottom up, and sharing the benefits of the recovery around the country.

Ron Crank, Chief Executive of Coast to Capital LEP, said: "These significant investments in projects such as the new Engineering and Digital Technology Park at the University of Chichester, will help to improve the daily lives and prospects of local people, and will enable us to unlock the region’s potential for long-term growth, job creation and international trade.  

“This investment by the University of Chichester is an important building block in the creation of a new business and employment future for Bognor Regis. The proposed enterprise area, of which the Enterprise and Digital Technology Park is a part, will bring new jobs and opportunities for local people and businesses”.

This announcement will see an extra £35.8million invested in the Coast to Capital area between 2016 and 2021. This is in addition to the £202.4million of funding committed by the Government on 7 July 2014.

West Sussex County Council Leader, Louise Goldsmith declared: “This is extremely good news for West Sussex and brings substantial investment to key projects in the county.

“West Sussex County Council has identified the economy as one of our priority areas, and our aims are to see a growth in jobs, enterprise, skills and better infrastructure.

“These additional projects being funded under the Growth Deal tie in exactly with our key aims.”

Through the development of the Engineering and Digital Technology Park the University of Chichester will deliver 500 new science, technology, engineering undergraduate and postgraduate student places per annum in Bognor Regis by 2020.

Cllr Gillian Brown, Leader of Arun District Council remarked: “This exciting investment in Bognor Regis builds upon the funding for the A29 re-alignment and the arrival of Rolls Royce to the town. It will help us to deliver our vision of making Bognor Regis a town where businesses, large and small, can thrive, create jobs for the town and where local people can access the very best education and training opportunities.”

All of these students will graduate with strong sector focussed employability skills and industry experience and will generate an additional £5million per annum into the local economy.

Photo caption from left to right: Henry Smith MP, Guy Stephenson (Gatwick Airport), Penny Mordaunt MP, Steve Allen and Ron Crank (Coast to Capital), Adam Love (Network Rail), Prof Clive Behagg, and Garry Wall (Coast to Capital).