A CITY university has appointed a top consultancy firm used by Boris Johnson to oversee plans to develop land around its campus.
Leading economic consultancy CAM-SCI will work with Queen Margaret University (QMU) to transform unused land adjacent to its campus into a bustling business centre and shopping hub.
Proposals include providing specialist services for companies in “high-growth sectors” as well as building retail and leisure facilities to be used by students and staff – and even the local community.
Cambridge-based CAM-SCI is the brains behind some of the UK’s biggest science parks, including a recent flagship business centre in Liverpool that has attracted more than 80 different companies since opening.
The consultancy is also managing the economic regeneration of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – a key project of London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Professor Petra Wend, QMU principal, said CAM-SCI’s “wealth of experience” would prove “invaluable” to the university as it looks to develop the land. She said: “We envisage a thriving commercial community, anchored around QMU flagships of academic excellence that will provide sustainable employment opportunities and facilities for businesses to grow.
“In due course, we will, of course, consult with the community on the ideas developed through CAM-SCI.”
Dr Sarah Tasker, CAM-SCI’s director, added: “We are delighted to be working with Queen Margaret University to deliver the university’s vision for a vibrant and impactful commercial knowledge-cluster adjacent to the university.
“QMU is already committing significant resources to support and grow some of Scotland’s high-growth industry sectors and has gained a national and international reputation for excellence in applied research.
“An Innovation Park that provides a home for companies emerging from, and working with, the university is a natural next step in the university’s vision and strategy for industry engagement and social and economic relevance.
“CAM-SCI’s specialist approach and wide experience of successful delivery to this sector will ensure a high-value development for QMU and the community it serves.”
The news comes as QMU chancellor Sir Tom Farmer announced he would be stepping down from the role after eight years in the job.
The entrepreneur – said to be worth more than £130 million – will officiate at this summer’s graduation ceremonies month before stepping down at some point in the next year when a successor is found.
Sir Tom, 74, said: “Having participated in 23 graduation ceremonies, one of the greatest pleasures has been shaking hands with more than 10,000 graduates who I know are well prepared to make a difference to society because of their time at Queen Margaret University.”