A lobby group set up to progress expansion plans for the Magee campus has called on the North’s new executive to make Derry “a true university city”.
In particular, the University for Derry (U4D) group wants to meet with newly appointed Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry and OFMDFM Junior Minister Martina Anderson to discuss the plans as soon as possible as they are in the key positions to determine the future of the Magee campus of the University of Ulster.
Congratulating the new ministers on their appointments, Padraig Canavan, chair of U4D, said their positions “are so important for the potential development of Magee”.
He added: “The new Employment and Learning minister Stephen Farry is representing the Alliance Party, which stressed in forthright terms in the elections here its commitment to the expansion of Magee.
“And Martina Anderson is a minister at OFMDFM and will, we hope, be responsible for ensuring that the city’s regeneration plan is delivered. One of the most important elements of that plan - arguably the most important element - is the threefold expansion of Magee, to make Derry a true ‘University City’.
“U4D will be requesting early meetings with both these ministers and we maintain our determination to see the substantial expansion of Magee. We remain convinced that this is the single most important ingredient in the economic advancement of the North West,” added Mr Canavan, who is also President of the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
U4D has stated that establishing Derry as a university city will yield a staggering £1bn a year for the local economy by 2040.
It has set 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.