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£1.2bn City Deal welcomed

15 March 2016

City Region landcape

The signing of a £1.2bn City Deal agreement for Cardiff Capital Region has been welcomed by Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan as a “fantastic opportunity”

The deal has been agreed by UK Government, Welsh Government and the 10 local authorities of south-east Wales.

It aims to improve productivity, drive innovation and support job growth throughout south-east Wales.

Cardiff University has been closely involved in every stage of the process from the initial creation of a city region through to key projects that form the City Deal.

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the signing of a City Deal for Cardiff Capital Region.

“The City Deal features significant funding with the potential to deliver long-term economic and social benefits.

“It is a fantastic opportunity that we must grasp with both hands.

“I wish to pay tribute to the leaders of our local authorities, Welsh Government and UK Government for working together to deliver this once-in-a-generation opportunity.

“We must now create an environment that will encourage the innovation and economic development required for the region to flourish.

“Cardiff University will use its expertise and resources to play a major role in helping create a vibrant and successful city, region and country.”

The south Wales Metro transport scheme is expected to form a major part of the City Deal but other projects will also be announced in due course, with Cardiff University well placed to contribute.

Chancellor George Osborne has already said that he will provide £50m for a new research centre to help develop the compound semiconductor technology of the future as part of the UK Government’s City Deal investment.

The UK national ‘catapult’ is spearheaded by the University and Cardiff-based compound semiconductor specialist IQE.

The City Deal is also looking to invest in other areas in which the University is able to offer expertise such as:

  • Software development and cyber security: the national software academy in Newport, launched by Cardiff University and Welsh Government in 2015, aims to help address the shortage of software graduates required by employers
  • Public service innovation: the world’s first Social Science Research Park, or SPARK, is to be built by the University on its Innovation Campus to translate world-leading research into solutions to pressing societal problems; Y Lab, a partnership between the University and innovation charity Nesta, is tackling major public service challenges
  • Energy and resources: the University’s Energy Systems Research Institute has been set up to tackle the global challenges that lie ahead in how we continue to generate, distribute and utilise energy; the University’s Water Research Institute aims to provide research-led solutions to the problem of misuse and mismanagement of the world’s water supplies; the University is also able and willing to contribute to the proposed Cardiff tidal lagoon
  • Development of Cardiff Capital Region: the University’s City Region Exchange engagement project has sought to study and participate in Cardiff Capital Region’s development; the University is also home to a support unit for the city region

Cardiff University has played a major role in the development of a Cardiff city region since the recommendation was first made by Dr Elizabeth Haywood in 2012.

Professor Kevin Morgan, of the School of Geography and Planning, sat on the task and finish group led by Dr Haywood and has been part of the subsequent Cardiff Capital Region Board and its successor. Professor Riordan was one of the vice-chairs of Cardiff Capital Region Board.

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