Birmingham City University (BCU) is investing to expand its Edgbaston campus with specialist laboratories for courses in health, nutrition and biomedicine.
It will feed into a wider life sciences push across the city which is expected to see thousands of well-paid jobs created in the city.
But BCU, which is also developing a new Conservatoire in Eastside, said the latest investment also promises a major contribution to the health and well-being of the West Midlands, which is rated the second most obese in England.
Public Health England figures last year revealed that the West Midlands trailed only the North East for obesity levels, with 65.7 per cent of people classed as overweight, prompting calls for better diets, improved education and measures to encourage more exercise.
The expansion of the university’s newly-created School of Life Sciences will see the building rise to more than 100,000 sq ft.
Building work at the campus will commence in early 2016, with the new facilities set to open to students in September 2017.
Professor Ian Blair, executive dean of the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, said the investment would reinforce BCU’s status as the region’s largest provider of qualified health and social care professionals to the NHS.
He said: “This investment clearly demonstrates the university’s commitment to the things that matter to our society and our economy, giving us the facilities we need to develop the next generation of specialists able to improve the region’s health and education.
“Birmingham City University is already the largest provider of health professionals in the region and the producer of more teachers than any other institution in the West Midlands. This move cements our place in supporting our crucial public services and also develops our capacity to play a role in improving nutrition and tackling modern epidemics such as obesity and Type Two Diabetes.”
The investment to expand the Edgbaston site is is part of a wider £10 million investment in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects – ‘STEM’ skills that manufacturers are demanding to support economic growth.
Funding for the STEM expansion includes £5 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, announced last month.
The building will also provide a new home to BCU’s School of Education, supporting the development of the next generation of school teachers.
Sheppard Robson has been appointed as architect for the new build, with White Young Green the structural engineers. Couch Perry Wilkes will be the mechanical and service engineers, and Sweet Group will be cost consultants on the project.