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Gloucestershire Business News

REVEALED: Plans for new £5.8 million digital and cyber hub in Cheltenham

Plans for University of Gloucestershire's exciting new £5.8 million digital and cyber hub are now available to view, with the consultation underway.

Funding from the Office for Students (OfS) will enable the University to create a state-of-the-art teaching and learning space at its Park Campus in Cheltenham.

Providing the latest digital and cyber technologies for students, the hub will be a centre of excellence for students, ensuring they graduate with the skills required locally and nationally.

The new facilities will provide students with a learning space that resembles as closely as possible the environments they will experience in real-life scenarios while working in industry.

Austin-Smith:Lord architects have been appointed to bring the University's vision to life. 

Representatives from Austin-Smith:Lord, the University and Kier Group - who have been appointed as the main contractor for the project - will also be available to show the plans and answer any questions at a drop-in session on Wednesday, 9 August, in the Owen Building at Park Campus, Cheltenham, between 4.30pm and 7pm.

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk said: "I welcome the University's ambitious project to create a new centre of excellence for computing and cyber.

"Cyber is key to our economic future in Cheltenham, with a wealth of cyber expertise already here, exciting plans for Golden Valley, and strongly backed by the Government as part of the national cyber strategy.

"It is great to see our local university stepping up, with nearly £6 million of Government investment via the Office for Students, to expand the supply of top level skills and research to drive the business growth we all want to see."

The outdated Reynolds building is set to be demolished in Autumn 2023 to make way for the new digital and cyber hub, subject to demolition permission being granted in August. Building work on the new centre is set to start in December 2023, subject to planning permission being granted in October.

The aim is for students studying traditional degrees (BSc/MSc/MEng), higher apprenticeships, professional short courses, Digital Skills Bootcamps, and new Higher Technical Qualifications to move into the new centre in Spring 2025.

The labs in the new centre will provide innovation testbeds for the application of advanced and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, blockchain, and cyber physical systems. These testbeds will be used as learning spaces for the development, and the delivery, of multi-disciplinary subjects such as HealthTech, EduTech, LegalTech and Bio-Informatics.

Stephen Marston, University of Gloucestershire Vice-Chancellor, said: "The redevelopment of the Reynolds Building will provide a new centre of excellence for digital technologies in the heart of Cheltenham, helping to address the UK-wide cyber skills gap by educating the computing and engineering leaders of the future.

"It will also build on the university's existing links within the burgeoning cyber sector in Cheltenham and the South West, working with these partners to increase the appeal of STEM subjects, with a particular focus on making study and careers in this area more accessible and attractive to women and neurodivergent individuals, and raising aspiration in disadvantaged communities.

"Supporting a key economic priority locally and nationally, this new centre will help forge Cheltenham's position as a world class hub for cyber and computing. I'd encourage people to come to the drop-in session to find out more, ask any questions and to feed back through the consultation."

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