St Andrews University has announced plans to create 500 new jobs at its Eden Campus in Guardbridge as part of a £24 million bid to redevelop the site.
The ambitious move would form part of the far-reaching £1.84 billion Tay Cities Deal, announced for 50 projects across Tayside and north east Fife earlier this month.
The university has already invested £25m in its award-winning green energy centre at the Eden Campus, which pumps hot water four miles to St Andrews to heat university buildings.
More than 350 university staff will relocate to Guardbridge from St Andrews next year.
The latest bid, which has the backing of north east Fife MSP Willie Rennie and MP Stephen Gethins as well as local councillors, would see the redevelopment of an additional 5,500 square metres of existing derelict buildings.
It is predicted the Tay Cities funding could unlock up to £75m of other inward investment within the first five years from a mixture of industry and private sector investors.
Specifically, the proposed projects include an advance materials centre incorporating circular bio-economy, biorefinery and carbon reduction, as well as something called The Sandpit — a zero carbon integrated energy community to support industry and academia to create new ideas for innovation.
There would also be an Eden Enterprise Centre to provide capacity and support for innovators, start-ups and small to medium enterprises, as well as a “living lab” to allow knowledge and learning to be shared with the community.
St Andrews University official Derek Watson said: “With Tay Cities Deal help, we can continue to redevelop buildings and provide the necessary infrastructure to co-locate exciting new industry alongside academic expertise from across Scotland.
“Our plans for Eden Campus are ambitious but with help from our partners in the Tay cities region and government support we believe we can make a genuine contribution to the government’s strategic objectives and society as a whole.”
Willie Rennie MSP said he was delighted to hear about the proposals.
“The university’s redevelopment of Guardbridge has my full support,” he said.
MP Stephen Gethins added: “This is a very welcome investment by the university which will create 500 new jobs and transform another area of the Guardbridge site creating the potential for further investment in the area.
“I’m delighted the university has taken this step; its continued commitment to the Eden Campus project is great news for the local economy and surrounding communities.”