In 2012, the University consolidated the Campus Masterplan. A £1 billion investment in the upgrading and constructing campus buildings that would take place over the next ten years.
Based on their 2016 staff update which listed the projected and current expenditure of construction, most of the funding pool has been allocated to the University’s STEM facilities. Approximately £707 million of the total £1.1 billion is allotted to projects such as the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) (£330 million), the Sir Henry Royce Institution (£100 million), and the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (£60 million). The final two of these projects are being externally funded.
The rest of the pool has been spread amongst more diverse projects such as building the Alliance Manchester Business School (£71 million), refurbishing Coupland 3 to be the “new home of the School of Law, the School of Dentistry, Faculty of Humanities administration, the Directorate for the Student Experience and the postgraduate hub” (£40 million), and upgrading the student residences in Fallowfield (£170 million).
With little doubt, the University of Manchester seems to be placing its chips in its science and health faculties. In 2021, the University’s Engineering Schools are scheduled to move to the the MECD, located adjacent to the main Oxford Road campus. The MECD alone is solely funded by the University. It will be one of the largest construction projects undertaken by any British Higher Education Institution.
The University plans to transform the current Engineering buildings in North Campus, near the city centre, to be mixed-use. Aside from new residential space, North Campus will target research and STEM-related businesses that link to the University’s industrial science departments.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell hopes that the development will “cement the reputation of the city as the place to be for technology, digital, research and development businesses”. Adding that “the development offers the opportunity to transform this quarter of the city centre, generate thousands of new jobs and advance the reputation of the University”.
Sharing the ambition for the University to become more integrated into the local economy, the Manchester City Council also approved a one-off investment of up to £21 million in July. The investment will go towards a precision medicine campus in the Corridor Manchester Enterprise Zone, which generates 20% of the city’s economic output. The investment was identified as being part of the Northern Powerhouse industrial strategy.
Theformer Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, Sir Howard Bernstein, seems enthusiastic about Manchester’s future as the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and about the role of universities in this. Sir Howard has expressed the plan to devolve growth in “higher order sectors” such as advanced materials, energy, life science, and informatics (all sectors that the University specialises in).
The rebranding of North Campus to be a business hub has been projected to create thousands of jobs. As well as the construction of the Masterplan creating hundreds of construction jobs for local workers. However, several have raised concerns that Manchester residents who have not been able to access education opportunities would be excluded the shifting labour landscape of the city.