Coleraine Independent Councillor William McCandless has welcomed the news that the Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons, launched an expanded world-class Biomedical Sciences Facility at the Ulster University on Monday.
Councillor McCandless described the announcement as ‘extremely positive news for the area’.
East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden added: “Investment such as this is key to maintaining what has become a world-class university campus.”
The expansion was being made possible by over £700,000 in funding from the Department for Economy’s Higher Education Research Capital investment fund, which has enhanced the facility’s research capacity and laboratory safety during the Covid-19 pandemic, enabling important research to continue undisturbed at Coleraine throughout the challenges of the past year.
The enhanced facilities, coupled with Ulster University’s strong research profile in nutrition, diabetes, vision, cancer therapeutics, pharmaceutical sciences and agri-food research, are also attracting world-leading experts to join the research teams in Coleraine.
Five part-time high profile international leaders recently strengthened research teams in diabetes therapeutics, metabolic and cardiovascular medicine.
Speaking after Monday’s announcement by Economy Minister Gordon Lyons, Councillor McCandless said: “For the past few years local DEA councillors and MLAs have been concerned at the courses which have been removed from the Coleraine campus to Belfast and Londonderry.
“This announcement shows confidence in the Coleraine campus, and with this state-of-the-art centre focusing on areas concerning nutrition, diabetes, cancer and vision, it will have a real impact on improvement to patients well being.
“It is vitally important for our local elected representatives to keep lobbying for further development to the Coleraine campus and ensure its continued presence.”
Agreeing with the need for more investment and development at Coleraine, Ms Sugden said: “Coleraine has seen some courses moved elsewhere with no replacements. Investment is needed more generally, but improving the existing courses is a good place to start.”
The East Londondonderry MLA continued: “Biomedical science has been a large and important facility at Coleraine, and this funding will add to the already great work being done there.
“Alongside the academic opportunities here, Coleraine is able to offer a unique university experience with an amazing quality of life.
“Maintaining a level of funding and investment is vital for enabling both the University of Ulster and its students to continue to grow in this important field.”