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Scottish universities are being invited to take advantage of up to £60M of low interest loan funding for capital upgrades and projects, aimed at improving student experiences or carbon footprint reduction.

The Scottish Government has allocated £60M towards the Scottish Funding Council’s (SFC) 2019-20 Financial Transactions programme, aimed at ‘spend-to-save’ projects including energy efficiency, strategic development of university campuses for the improvement of the student experience, and strategic collaboration between institutions.

Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead made the announcement today during a visit to the University of Strathclyde to see progress on its new Learning & Teaching Building.

Scheduled to open in 2020, the Learning & Teaching Building will incorporate the University’s former Colville and Architecture Buildings at North Portland Street and Rottenrow, bringing together new learning and teaching spaces, student support services and the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association (USSA) in a purpose-designed facility.

The University was awarded a £10M loan from the SFC’s Financial Transactions programme to support the £60M development. Works began in late 2018 and are expected to be complete in summer 2020.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Richard Lochhead said:


“The University of Strathclyde’s Learning and Teaching building is just one example of the many projects made possible with funding from the Financial Transactions programme. I am impressed that the project is already having a positive impact on students at the university, with engineering students receiving mentoring on-site.

“The £60 million funding announced today for 2019-20 will facilitate further development of university campuses across Scotland and I look forward to seeing this take shape.”


Professor Scott MacGregor, Vice Principal of the University of Strathclyde said:


“The £60M Learning and Teaching Building project emphasises the continuing importance we place on providing a first-class experience for our students and represents the single-largest capital investment in our campus to date and forms part of our £1 billion estate development programme to 2022-23.

“The support we’ve received through the SFC’s Financial Transactions programme is greatly appreciated and this is being committed to not only enhancing the student experience but also to improving the environmental sustainability of our campus and the fabric of this part of the city centre.”


Mike Cantlay, SFC Chair said:


“The Learning & Teaching Hub is a great example of the type of project our Financial Transactions programme is aimed at. It will be a fantastic asset for Strathclyde students.

“It’s great to see other projects from previous years coming along as well, like the University of St Andrews’ energy efficiency measures, which will reduce its carbon footprint by 3,905 tonnes of CO2 per year, and Robert Gordon University’s redevelopment of its Schoolhill building into a new digital innovation hub.

“This year’s programme represents another great opportunity and we encourage all institutions to think about how they could take advantage of this for strategic estates development or carbon footprint reduction.”


Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty was selected by the University of Strathclyde to deliver the new £60 million learning and teaching building in 2018 through the University’s Major Building Construction framework.

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty’s Regional Managing Director for Scotland and Ireland, said:


“We are delighted the Scottish Government has provided funding through the Scottish Funding Council’s Transactions programme, which will enable us to refurbish and extend the University’s Grade II listed Architecture building and neighbouring Colville building.”

“We look forward to completing the Learning & Teaching hub while providing an exciting and inspiring environment for the 23,000 students based on the central Glasgow campus.”


The £60M 2019-20 programme is an increase on the £40M 2018-19 round, and the £20M 2017-18 round. It is estimated that the funded projects from the 2017-18 round, which are now nearing completion, will collectively save £2M and 8,945 tonnes of carbon per year.

SFC will administer the loan funding, and select successful proposals for funding based on their eligibility. For more information on how to submit an Expression of Interest and contact details, click here.