Derry lobby group U4D is calling for the expansion of the University of Ulster’s Magee campus.
Its call coincides with the publication of its new report which underscores the pressing need to expand university provision across the North.
The U4D report details the damage to productivity, economic output and employment opportunities because Northern Ireland has the smallest university sector of any part of the UK.
Padraig Canavan, chair of U4D, says: “This report reveals that Northern Ireland requires an additional 15,400 places at its universities just to match the levels of university provision in England. That provision in England is increasing by 30,000 places this year, precisely because the UK Government realises the connection between the skills generated by university education and the long-term health of an economy.
“We urge MLAs of all parties to read this report and to recognise that Northern Ireland needs to copy England, Scotland and Wales in providing the raw materials for the modern economy - skills.”
“Only the substantial expansion of university provision will turn our economy round.”