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A vision of transformation

Progressive minds need a campus to inspire them. Take a look into the £1 billion building project transforming The University of Manchester.

Imagine you could watch a time-lapse video of The University of Manchester, from our earliest roots to the not-too-distant future. At the start you'd see 19th century medical and technical schools, growing into the institutions that would become the Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST, our predecessor universities. Huge expansion would come as the 1960s speed by. Then, following the merger in 2004, £750 million in new buildings and facilities would appear, cementing our status as the largest single campus of any higher education institution in the UK.

Fast-forward to 2022 and one of the largest campus investments ever seen in higher education will be complete, creating the very best environment for our students, staff and wider community. This transformation will be our biggest yet – and it's already underway.

The University's vision is to create a sustainable urban university – a beautiful place of fine architecture, civilised city squares, walks and streets that connect all parts of the University and integrate us with the vibrant city that surrounds us. It will be an estate to match our global ambitions and will bring all of our world-changing research, learning and activity on to one site.

A Masterplan for our future

Our ten-year, £1 billion Campus Masterplan launched in 2012, and will transform our campus to the benefit of staff, students and visitors who use it.

Our students will be at the real heart of a campus

As Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, explains: "For the first time we will be bringing together our staff and students on the Oxford Road site, where engineering, arts, biomedicine, business and all of our other activities live side by side, and our students will be at the real heart of a campus."

Diana Hampson, Director of Estates and Facilities, adds: "This is a continuation of the vision for the campus that was drawn up after the merger of Victoria University and UMIST in 2004. Although much activity has now moved to South Campus, around Oxford Road, it has remained the University's ambition to bring all academic activity together on to a single site. This is an opportunity to consolidate our facilities and create a cohesive campus."

The transformation is underway

This huge investment will allow us to maintain ageing buildings, preserve our significant heritage and reduce our carbon footprint.

If you visit the campus today, you'll see the signs of this metamorphosis all around you. The first major projects of the Masterplan were completed in 2015, notably the new Manchester Cancer Research Centre, the £61 million National Graphene Institute and the £17 million redevelopment of our award-winning art gallery, The Whitworth – subsequently named Art Fund Museum of the Year.

The redevelopment of the Alliance Manchester Business School, complete with hotel and executive education centre, the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) and the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) is underway. Later this year, our Owens Park student accommodation, built in the 1960s, will be redeveloped to create a modern student village. Diana says: "The projects span the full range of the University's activities, from our cultural assets to our highly specialised research facilities, and from teaching and learning spaces to student accommodation."

The masterplan aims to...
Enable our 2020 Vision

Our ambition is to be one of the top 25 research institutions in the world

Co-locate disciplines

Bringing four engineering Schools together in one location

Reduce our carbon footprint

Aiming to reduce this by 40% by 2020 (from 2007/08 baseline)

Improve our existing estate

Aiming to achieve 80% of buildings in good condition by 2020 compared to 44% in 2004

Conserve our heritage

24 listed buildings including the old quadrangle buildings, Jodrell Bank, The Whitworth and the John Rylands Research Institute and Library

A new home for engineering

One of the motivations behind the Masterplan is to ensure that academic disciplines are located together, right across engineering and physical sciences, humanities and biomedical disciplines. This will be most evident in the flagship £350 million MECD project, which will bring together the University's four engineering Schools in one location, on South Campus, for the first time.

Such is the scale of the development that the main building – MECD Hall – at 195 metres long, could easily accommodate Manchester's tallest building, the Beetham Tower, laid sideways.

Kate Dixon, Deputy Head of Student Administration for the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, says: "The new campus will have major benefits for staff well-being in terms of providing a light and airy environment to work in and an opportunity to work in a more agile manner.

"Students will benefit immensely from a more modern and better maintained estate and from being closer to all the events and facilities on South Campus."

The University will retain some buildings on North Campus, with the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology and the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre located there. Work is ongoing with Manchester City Council and partners to determine future uses for the remainder of the site.

Part of our community

There will also be major investment in landscaping and the areas we share with the public, creating a campus that's connected and easily accessible, with open areas where people can relax and socialise. Trees, seating, new road surfaces and walker routes are among the many transformations being considered.

The most significant of these plans will come to fruition this year: a new green space, Brunswick Park, will be created by pedestrianising and landscaping Brunswick Street amid the existing University buildings. Our landscaping works will introduce trees and wider pavements to Oxford Road – the hugely busy thoroughfare dissecting South Campus – and will complement Transport for Greater Manchester's decision to make it car-free this year, encouraging public transport and cycle use.

The next phase

This ambitious transformation project will continue to 2022, with outline plans already drawn up for the second phase of the Masterplan. A biomedical campus centred around the University's Stopford Building is one of the many projects that lie ahead.

The University of Manchester already boasts world-class research, teaching and learning. On completion of the Campus Masterplan, it will have a world-class estate to match.

To find out more about our Campus Masterplan, visit

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