Peterborough has successfully secured a bid for £20 million funding for its university’s ‘living lab’, following the recent announcement of the budget.

The funding for ARU Peterborough campus has been granted as part of the government’s Levelling Up Fund, as announced by Rishi Sunak.

The lab will combine additional teaching facilities for the university with the development of a new university quarter cultural hub within a second building.

The Living Lab will be managed by the university, hoping to combine learning with an interactive public science facility, making it an attractive destination for residents, businesses and visitors. It will focus on science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

MP Paul Bristow said “It’s excellent news for Peterborough that it is getting these funds as part of the Levelling Up fund. This is something that businesses will look at and see ARU Peterborough as somewhere that really stands out.”

The funding pledged for the hub will see an additional £4 million funding from Anglia Riskin University, £2 million from the Combined Authority Business Board and £2 million from Peterborough City Council, totalling £28 million overall.

Construction is underway of phase one of the university, which plans to open in September 2022. Phase two, consisting of a £16.7 million research and development centre, specialising in new manufacturing and materials technologies, was approved by the council this week.

Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said when the bid was submitted “We know Peterborough is a cold spot for skills at higher levels, which only increases the transformative impact this university will have on the city, the wider region and its people. This phase three building will significantly increase the capacity and scope of what ARU Peterborough can deliver for the region as well add a new, exciting dimension to the city’s cultural offer. This element is particularly relevant as I’m exploring the potential for Peterborough, Ely and Cambridge to be joint bidders for City of Culture 2025.

Equipping people with the skills they need to secure rewarding careers matched to the needs of the local economy will reduce inequality and allow more people to share in opportunity and prosperity. These benefits are, to me, what levelling up is all about, and why I think we have made a strong case to government.”

Image source- ARU Peterborough

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