Cyprus Mail

UCY secures €80m more for expansion

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades (l), EIB's Werner Hoyer, Rector Costas Christophides and Manthos Mavrommatis (r)

By Jean Christou

AM €80m loan signed yesterday with the European Investment Bank (EIB) was the first step towards building a university for 10,000 students, 600 academics, 2,000 young researchers and 400 administrative personnel by 2020, University of Cyprus Rector Constantinos Christofides said.

“Why not dream of creating a university that will be a bridge for peace and co-operation in a reunited Cyprus? Why not dream of establishing a centre of cooperation between all the communities of Cyprus, all the students of Cyprus? A place to meet, create, exchange ideas and help rebuild the island we share; a place where scholars and scientists meet and break new ground, across disciplines,” he said at the signing ceremony.

Christofides said education was the key to understanding and that after independence in 1960, Cyprus did not create an educational system that encouraged constructive dialogue and cultural exchanges between the communities in a way that would have fostered shared values and a common future.

Now, the opportunity existed to create an education institution with a strong reputation for academic excellence and pioneering research that would bring together all the island’s creative forces.

Christofides said the EIB loan would be channelled to expand and develop the university campus with more labs to encourage research and attract young scholars, and an infrastructure to create a ‘green’ university that will include energy-efficient buildings with renewable energy resources.

It would also substantially increase the number of students visiting the University of Cyprus through the EU’s Erasmus and other student exchange programmes, and to help UCY attract more foreign students.

“Education, culture and research can bring people together; through structuring the ‘City of Knowledge’ we are confident we can create a platform for constructive dialogue with all Cypriots and the rest of the world,” said Christofides.

Finance minister Harris Georgiades also underlined the importance of the agreement for the university and for society in general. “The implementation of this project will have as an immediate result… new job openings and a significant increase on the economic activity,” he said. It was also an investment in the island’s human capital and its young people, he added, and this is the “greatest investment a country can make”.

EIB President Werner Hoyer said hundreds of jobs would be created through the UCY expansion and it would also enable more young Cypriots to remain on the island to pursue their higher education. “It will also expand the research facilities and the capacity of the university to attract and retain high quality teaching staff,” he added.

The projects to be funded include the construction of new infrastructure on the Athalassa campus including the Faculty of Engineering, the Department of Biological Sciences, the Medical School, the second phase of the students’ halls, the Apollo photovoltaic park, the Centre of Energy, as well as the buildings for Humanitarian Studies and Philosophy, and the Department of Architecture. The work will also include the renovation and upgrading of existing, off-campus, facilities such as Shacolio educational health centre.

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