Ulster University leaders look forward to a new era in the heart of Belfast

6 July 2021

Ulster University leaders look forward to a new era in the heart of Belfast Executive Deans, Professor Frank Lyons, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Brian Meenan, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment and Professor Mark Durkin, Ulster University Business School outside the new Belfast Campus.

‘Transformative’ and ‘iconic’ are just two of the words being used to describe Ulster University’s new enhanced campus on Belfast’s York Street.  With a potential regeneration impact of £1.4billion benefiting the local economy, the building represents a significant investment in the future of Northern Ireland’s society, the city and beyond.

Ulster University is now on the countdown to moving into the £363.9million campus, identified as one of the biggest academic capital builds across the UK and Europe. Within months, 15,000 staff and students will begin to relocate from Jordanstown to the 75,000 sq metre campus in a planned phased move.  By September 2021, post-graduate students of business will be benefiting from the state-of-the-art facilities whilst under-graduates from across the University will have full on-site teaching and research from the beginning of the second semester in January 2022.

For the first time, the Faculties of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment; Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Ulster University Business School will bring entrepreneurs, lawyers, artists, engineers and more, together. The new campus will incubate and develop the cream of the University’s creative talent, scientific expertise and enquiry, engineering innovation and entrepreneurial drive all under one roof.

The Belfast campus offers a quality and vibrant place to work and learn, connected to the social, artistic, residential and business community on our doorstep. For industry and society, the campus offers the opportunity to engage, learn and enrich lives in a welcoming and innovative environment where students, academics, business and local communities are connected through ever-expanding possibilities.

This new campus with its inclusive and modern setting will stimulate a culture of open innovation and new strategic partnerships thus positively transforming both higher education and the city. Here, the three Executive Deans anticipate the benefits to their faculties, the move to the City Centre will bring:

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences will deliver around 35 under-graduate and 30 post-graduate courses from the new campus covering everything from Criminology through Law to Games Design and Screen Production.

Interim Executive Dean, Professor Frank Lyons explains,

“Some areas of our Faculty that were previously split across two campuses will now be co-located, facilitating new levels of engagement and cross-disciplinary working. We’re really looking forward to the transformative potential of the building with its enhanced technological infrastructure which will put us at the forefront of interactive learning and collaboration with local communities and industry. Our world-leading research will be further enhanced by the bespoke facilities on campus such as the Virtual Production Studio whilst initiatives like the Legal Innovation Centre within the Law School, will continue to push the boundaries of traditional educational approaches. The new building is a symbol of a vibrant and innovative future for Ulster University and we are very excited for the big move.”

In 2019-20 the Ulster University Business School contributed £27.8m in GVA to Northern Ireland as it impacted everything from job creation to supporting business innovation and competitiveness to building graduate talent pipelines.

Executive Dean, Professor Mark Durkin adds,

"With the new building located in the heart of Belfast’s business centre and innovation district we see our economic and societal contribution growing exponentially as we bring together a vibrant community of business leaders, policy makers, professional associations, academics and students. The focus of that coming together will be action towards addressing workforce development needs and future-proofing business thinking and practice through cutting-edge research and entrepreneurial education."

As we come more fully into the City Centre we are also expanding our staff base in the area of Financial Technology teaching and research and I’m delighted to announce a new senior role in that area – our new Professor of Financial Technology will provide thought leadership and support for business in this growing area. Even more significant is our ability to deliver bespoke sector-specific qualifications to businesses such as financial and professional services which accurately match skills imbalances and needs."

Within the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment and the Schools of Computing and Engineering will offer a suite of 40 under-graduate and 30 post-graduate programmes alongside CPD activities relevant to industry.

Interim Executive Dean, Professor Brian Meenan, adds,

"The new infrastructure, and co-location of all subject areas with our Faculty, sitting alongside the other Faculties, significantly enhances the opportunity for inter-disciplinary research and the ability to address global challenges that are of regional importance. We are particularly looking forward to delivering the ambitious societal objectives of the City Deal Innovation Projects to be undertaken in partnership with a range of other institutions and agencies.

"As a faculty with extensive industrial links, the accessibility of the new campus will facilitate our work with local employers, industry, professional bodies and government departments. Bringing these links closer to the classroom will enable us to deliver a central tenet of the student experience by underpinning learning with real work examples."


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