Detailed plans for new University of Peterborough revealed for the first time

Detailed plans for the new University of Peterborough have been revealed.

A progress report issued to politicians has provided the most in-depth insight into the technical university which will welcome its first 2,000 students from October 2022.

PCC council leader John Holdich with maps of proposed sites for the Peterborough University Campus sites in and around the city EMN-170530-145956009

PCC council leader John Holdich with maps of proposed sites for the Peterborough University Campus sites in and around the city EMN-170530-145956009

According to the papers:

l Plans for a new “signature” building at the campus on the Embankment will be revealed to the public in January with spades expected to be in the ground by October 2020

l There will be seven education departments with subjects being taught including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, environmental science and architecture.

l Around nine in 10 of the students will be based off-campus, with many studying for degree apprenticeships.

The university project is being delivered by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority – the county’s mayoral body.

Despite a few setbacks, including a scathing report which revealed in-fighting among stakeholders and the decision to replace University Centre Peterborough as the education provider, the university currently remains on track to open on time.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, said: “I’m pleased to see plans for the new University of Peterborough moving into delivery phase. I am looking forward to the next stage when the public can feed back on building plans as they are unveiled early next year.”

The progress report was issues to members of the combined authority’s skills committee and has revealed the following:

l Funding

So far the combined authority has committed £12.6 million to keep the project progressing. However, to raise £20 million for a new “signature building” at the Embankment it is proposing to set up a joint venture company.

The combined authority and Peterborough City Council would have shares in the company, as well as private investors, with all parties able to make a profit by leasing the university premises to the education provider.

l Higher education partner

University Centre Peterborough was initially chosen as the higher education partner for the university.

UCP had even prepared an application to secure degree-awarding powers for the university – which it will need to open in 2022 – and had created a board to drive the project forward, but in March the combined authority announced it was opening the role to rival bids.

The tendering process began in August and is expected to finish in February, with a contract awarded in March.

The combined authority has revealed that there have been 10 applications so far, including five from universities.

l Courses

The following departments have been outlined:

l Business, innovation, entrepreneurship and professional services

l Creative and digital arts and sciences

lAgriculture, environment and sustainability

l Health and social care

l Engineering

l Manufacturing and advanced materials

l Logistics and distribution.

It is planned that the university will start with up to three of these before expanding.

A large number of courses have been outlined. These include: artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, environmental science, microbiology, data analytics, renewables and environmental technology, architecture, adult nursing and commercial, family and public law.

At the moment three faculties have been proposed with working titles of: Faculty of Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Faculty of Creative and Digital Arts and Sciences and Faculty of Agriculture, Environment and Sustainability.

l Students and staff

The target intake is 18 to 24-year-olds, people who are underemployed or unemployed and first generation students.

Those who are enrolled will have vastly different experiences, with some learning on campus, others earning degree apprenticeships while working with large companies, and many involved in outreach programmes and learning off-campus.

The progress report states: “It is accordingly clear that the vast majority of students served by UoP will be non-traditional, employed and in need of a specifically tailored offer and outreach work.”

As a result: “approximately 92 per cent of students will be served by UoP off-campus”.

It is not expected that students from outside the region will attend for the first decade as the university builds up.

It is planned to have 171 members of staff in the first year, eventually working up to 1,046 once the university reaches its full capacity.