Ambitious plans to develop Centre for Health and Social Equity

Northumbria University is taking forward ambitious plans to develop its Centre for Health and Social Equity after being awarded £5.8 million by the Office for Students.

The Centre, known as CHASE, will bring together academics working on health, social care, education, wellbeing and equity issues across the University’s City and Coach Lane Campuses into one central base in the heart of Newcastle.

Its aim is to develop and harness the University’s research, education and knowledge exchange expertise to help meet the health and social needs of multiple stakeholders and communities in the city, region and beyond.

When it opens, degree programmes delivered at Northumbria’s Coach Lane Campus in the areas of nursing, healthcare, education and social work will relocate to this vibrant state-of-the-art hub with world-class clinical skills facilities.

The Centre will provide laboratories, teaching space and a community engagement zone, and is intended to house some of the University’s leading partnerships with national and international organisations.

The Centre will be located on an existing area of Northumbria’s City Campus close to the Central Motorway. The location will also be home to a new Energy Centre that will provide sustainable energy for a number of Northumbria’s existing buildings. The Centre will support the University’s decarbonisation and net zero plans and is intended to contribute to the City’s energy needs over time.

The University bid for the funding from the Office for Students’ capital funding scheme which supports investment in new buildings, facilities and equipment for universities and colleges across England. The award of £5.8 million to Northumbria was announced today (Thursday 8 December) and is the maximum amount that could be granted under the scheme.

The flagship development is expected to open by 2027 and will mark a further step-change for Northumbria’s reputation as one of the UK’s leading universities for research and teaching, following its success in the recent Research Excellence Framework and being named Times Higher Education’s University of the Year 2022.

Professor Andy Long, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University said: “Northumbria has had a long-standing ambition to bring teaching and research activities from our Coach Lane Campus to our City Campus. Bringing our students and staff together into one central base in Newcastle means we can work far more effectively and as a true Northumbria community.

“Our plans were slowed by the pandemic, but we are now in a position where we can progress and this substantial award from the Office for Students marks the first step of this transformation of our estate.

“As a society we are facing significant health, social and economic inequalities and this new centre will provide a focal point for Northumbria’s excellence in research and education to meet the health and social care needs of stakeholders and communities in the city, the region and beyond.

“This is a truly exciting point for the University which will bring significant benefits for our staff, students, partners and the wider city.”

Susan Lapworth, Chief Executive of the Office for Students, said: “Investing in modern buildings and innovative equipment will help universities and colleges in England prepare students for their future careers. Modern laboratories and state-of-the-art technology mean students learn with the best facilities.

“Competition for funding was strong, with high quality applications from across the sector. The OfS-funded capital projects will ensure current and future students have a positive experience while studying expensive-to-deliver subjects that are strategically important to society. Taxpayers will feel these benefits too, as our investment will boost local and regional economies and support environmental sustainability.”

Professor George Marston, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Projects at Northumbria University and Executive lead for the development added: “This Centre will be a major addition to the city’s health and social care infrastructure and will transform the way Northumbria delivers research, teaching and knowledge exchange in these disciplines.

“While it is early days in this project, plans are now being discussed at pace with colleagues, architects, partners and the City Council. This includes conversations with stakeholders around the future use of our land at Coach Lane.

“We will, of course, share details as they are agreed, and aim to secure planning permission next spring with a view to our new building opening by 2027.”

Northumbria has invested almost £300 million in its estate since 2005, including the development of outstanding new facilities such as Sport Central and Student Central, and new buildings for students on architecture and computing programmes. In 2021, the Office for Students awarded £2 million to Northumbria to expand and refurbish engineering and physics laboratories.

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