The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has launched its vision for £100 million-funded, sustainable and carbon neutral Innovation Village.
The Innovation Village, on a 29ac site at the university’s Cirencester campus, will be home to a community of entrepreneurs, policymakers, practitioners and researchers committed to addressing the major global challenges, the RAU said today (Friday, January 20).
The university said the project will support industry, food producers, farmers, and landowners in developing sustainable solutions for healthy land and nature, food production, and resilience in rural communities.
The RAU said it will be liaising with local residents and stakeholders to shape the proposals as they progress with a view to submitting a planning application to Cotswold District Council later this year.
The initiative, which has a GDV of between £80 million and £100 million, according to the RAU, has the support of the Department of International Trade (DIT), Gloucestershire County Council and GFirst LEP.
Fiona Reynolds, chair of the RAU’s governing council, said: “As well as benefiting the Royal Agricultural University, as a global centre for the future of sustainable farming and food production, this will also benefit the people of Cirencester and other local communities.
“We are determined that the Innovation Village will be green and beautiful and, importantly, led by the landscape which inspires us daily.
“It will reflect our core values as well as inspire intellectual, community, and collaborative working.”
RAU vice-chancellor, Professor Peter McCaffery, said the Innovation Village will “turbo-change SME agri-tech enterprise activity with a distinctively rural feel”.
“We anticipate we will increase the RAU’s current contribution of £52m to the local and regional economy by half as much again over five years when the project is up and running,” he said.