Expansion at Magee is worth £1bn a year to city

Pictured at the U4D launch in the City Hotel are from left, Brian Doherty, Eamon Gee, Sinead McLaughlin, LOndonderry Chamber of Commerce CEO. Padraig Cavanan, Chairman, Professor Robert Gavin, Professor, John McCloskey, Rosa McLaughlin, DEcland O'Kelly and Philip O'Doherty. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 14.4.11

Pictured at the U4D launch in the City Hotel are from left, Brian Doherty, Eamon Gee, Sinead McLaughlin, LOndonderry Chamber of Commerce CEO. Padraig Cavanan, Chairman, Professor Robert Gavin, Professor, John McCloskey, Rosa McLaughlin, DEcland O'Kelly and Philip O'Doherty. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 14.4.11

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Establishing Derry as a university city will yield £1bn a year for the local economy by 2040, a lobby group has said.

University For Derry (U4D) highlighted the potential for economic success at the launch of its vision for the vast expansion of the University of Ulster’s Magee Campus. A 12 page booklet explaining the plans in detail is being distributed inside today’s ‘Derry Journal’.

The group - supported by Derry City Council, the University of Ulster and the local Chamber of Commerce - plans to transform Derry into “an attractive, economically vibrant and culturally and socially inclusive university city of renown” by 2020.

It sets a 2020 target to increase student numbers 3,500 to 9,400, create 2,800 new jobs (rising to 7,700 by 2030), to establish a world centre of excellence for renewable technologies and set up new centres for cutting edge research and innovation.

The vision anticipates a £495m annual boost for the local economy by 2030, rising to a staggering £1bn by 2040.

U4D chairman, Padraig Canavan, said the project was highly significant for Derry’s future prosperity and appealed for the support of politicians from all parties and at all levels of Government to support it. “The benefits are so acute we believe it’s the most important public project currently envisaged for the North in the next ten years. It is not only the North West that benefits from university expansion here, it is Northern Ireland as a whole. University expansion is the means to provide the North West with economic self-sufficiency, which would benefit all Northern Ireland and UK taxpayers,” he said.

“Our vision document presents the city’s agreed regeneration plan relating to the university’s expansion; explains how it would positively affect the city and its citizens; and what we want those who read it to do.

“We want readers of the plan to appreciate its importance and if they are so minded then to support the politicians, the academics and their fellow citizens who are working to make it happen,” he added.