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Our growth

Formed in 2007, we are proud of our legacy institutions and their roots that stretch back to the 1800s. Giving today’s innovative institution strong foundations on which to build, such rich history provides strength and confidence to the University of Cumbria at this exciting juncture of growth and development.  

We are investing and are being invested in. With £63 million capital funding from the Borderlands Growth Deal Initiative, Carlisle Town Deal and Barrow Town Deal we will transform our university presence, visibility and impact in Carlisle and Barrow. This will increase participation, access, and routes into higher education, addressing skills and productivity needs across Cumbria and the Borderlands region, and make a demonstrable impact to place vibrancy and to local economies, communities and culture.

On-campus transformations complement investments in academic provision and operations, which include university sites located within two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a bustling business centre in the heart of London.


Artist impression of new campus

People, Place and Partnership

We were established in Cumbria for a reason, and this drives us: to positively impact on our students, to increase higher education participation in our county, to address higher-level skills, sector and place needs, to co-create and apply new knowledge and to positively embrace our civic responsibilities. This role spans our geography, our public services, industry and regional sectors through to the arts and culture.

We are ambitious, progressive and keen to continually improve, whilst respecting our raison d'être and deep roots in the arts, education and the Church.

We are engaged, adaptable and agile in fulfilling our role and we do not, and we should not work alone. Why would we even try? We have a rich and world-class asset base of people, place, and practice to draw on.

We work in and through student, educational, employer, sector and place-based partnerships and collaborations, co-creating approaches, content and solutions which meet our student and stakeholder needs.

Our Impact

As we look towards 2030, our role in Cumbria will intensify and impact further. Cumbria needs us and with £63 million from the Borderlands Growth Deal Initiative, Carlisle Town Deal and Barrow Town Deal to address skills and productivity needs across Cumbria and the Borderlands region, this is visibly recognised and reinforced. 

Our new Citadels campus, The Carlisle Business Exchange Centre, Joint Medical School with Imperial College and Learning Quarter presence in Barrow demonstrate the confidence and expectations regional stakeholders and government are placing on us.

However, this is only part of our role and ambition. With campuses in Lancaster and London we extend beyond our county’s boundaries, providing routes into higher education, graduate employment and career advancement across public and professional services.

We have global reach and impact, supporting our University, graduates and region to thrive. Together with our applied research focus, our graduates contribute to communities and practice in over 100 countries across the world.

Our students and graduates

The University of Cumbria’s student and graduate focus towards 2030 recognises a complex and transforming landscape and changing needs and expectations. Our student body and make-up will continue to grow and diversify, reflecting our role, locations and the needs of learners, employers and the economy. Students of all ages will study on our campuses, in their workplace, flexibly, remotely, online and through our educational partnerships. 

Supported by strong partnership working with our students and Students’ Union, we will equip our graduates with the skills, confidence and attributes to realise their potential, to succeed in their workplace and careers and to be active global citizens.

Process Anne meeting the Vice Chancellor

Our academic and applied research focus

We were established to play a significant role in increasing higher education participation and addressing the higher-level education and skills needs of Cumbria and in co-creating and applying new knowledge. This continues to drive us, along with a goal to be recognised as sector leading for our apprenticeships.

Our five academic institutes provide the core elements of our academic focus and strengths, drawing on applied research, practice, place, and partnerships to equip our students and to support our region and beyond.

Contributing to growth and tackling issues facing businesses and communities in England’s North West and further afield, our applied research and knowledge exchange capabilities continue to expand.

Researchers are collaborating with partners on exciting multi-million pound projects such as Eco-I NW, helping SMEs to develop carbon-cutting innovations, and the conservation and species reintroduction work spearheaded by our Back on our Map (BOOM) team across the Morecambe Bay region.

The Carlisle Business Exchange and Centre for Digital Transformation, part of the exciting plans for the Carlisle Citadels project, will also provide opportunities for businesses to work closely on research projects that will spark future growth and prosperity.

As we look to the future, our county’s employers and sectors will provide even more local, and demand-led opportunities for us to pursue and in doing so enable us to accelerate the development of expertise we can export nationally and internationally.

People and place

The why, for whom, how and where we do things is as important to us as the ’what.’ Put simply, we care.

We care about our students, graduates, staff, university, communities, region, environment, and world – in the here and now and in relation to future generations.

We are a university for our region. Our campuses in Carlisle, Ambleside, Barrow (from 2025), Lancaster and London, and our presence in west Cumbria, provide us with the physical environment, digital infrastructure, and geographical reach to deliver our strategic aims.

We understand each campus has a distinctive, as well as shared, identity, role, impact and roots. As we move towards 2030, we will build further on and from these locations, and ensure we have clear role and identity as part of the Cumberland and Westmorland & Furness local government and economic areas.

With new campuses planned in Carlisle and Barrow, we will refresh our Ambleside, Lancaster, and London campus strategies and extend our relevance and reach across west Cumbria. We will articulate our place-based focus and ambition in line with local, employer and sectoral needs. In doing so, embracing our collective role in promoting arts and culture, place attractiveness, and vibrancy.

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