Construction will begin on a University of Reading campus in Malaysia early next year as the institution looks to drive forward education in the country. The campus, within the 350-acre EduCity Iskandar Malaysia site near the city of Johor Bahru, is set to open in 2015.
EduCity will be shared by eight international universities including Newcastle and Southampton, with research and development centres, student accommodation and shared sports and recreational facilities.
The development is being funded by Education@Iskandar Sendirian Berhad (EISB), a subsidiary of the commercial arm of the Malaysian Government, with the universities responsible for operational costs. It is expected that the institutions at EduCity will eventually pool their resources to share services and costs.
Vice-chancellor Sir David Bell visited Malaysia last month to see the site and the university’s offices in Johor Bahru, where it has already started delivering short courses.
He said: “Our campus is in a prime location at the entrance to EduCity and will, I am sure, become a landmark building in the area.
“There is a palpable sense of ambition surrounding higher education in Malaysia.
“We are part of the expansion effort, as well as contributing to the enhanced status of higher education in the country, and I am delighted that we are already considered as having an important contribution to make in this regard.”
This week the university announced that deputy vice-chancellor Professor Tony Downes had been appointed provost and chief executive officer of University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM).
He is chair of the university’s Malaysia Project Board and has been integrally involved in the development of the plans.
Prof Downes, who will remain as deputy vice-chancellor until the end of his term of office in July 2014, said: “On my visits to Malaysia to date I have been struck by the huge enthusiasm and appetite for higher education in the region, and I am excited to be given responsibility for ensuring the success of a project that will create a new world-class university for the region.”
He will make his first visit to the region in his new role as provost in November, when he will oversee the appointment of staff.