UL AND EIB AGREE ON FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF ACADEMIC CENTRE

The financial position of the University of Latvia (UL) is stable and allows for the adoption of new projects, the European Investment Bank (EIB) said in its report on Thursday, April 23, at the closing workshop of preliminary research of the Academic Centre Development Programme (ACDP).

The meeting, which took place in the remote telephone conference regime, discussed the EIB Consultation Centre's report on the development projects and on the possibilities for LU to carry out these projects.

The report concludes that UL's financial position is stable and allows it to undertake new projects. UL would has the opportunity to borrow funds to build the planned Stage III sites of the Academic Centre, but EIB consultants also offer other financial solutions, such as cooperation with a public person or public-private partnership (PPP). The business plans prepared during the AC preliminary research are designed to attract the interest of private investors.

The report reviewed the conclusions of interviews conducted by advisers with private investors (both domestic and global investment funds and builders) to understand the market requirements for development projects.

The follow-up to the meeting also highlighted the next steps in the development of these projects. EIB consultants confirmed their readiness to continue their cooperation in the area of PPP.

Together with the EIB, the impact of the current situation on the economy and on UL was discussed. The discussion acknowledges that LU has successfully switched to work in the digital environment, but this kind of change also raises questions about how learning will be organised in the future in the world and whether the digital environment will affect the functioning of universities.

UL's representatives confirmed a desire to develop the Academic Center, adding that the Covid-19 crisis makes sense to be cautious, but this is an opportunity to improve and make university operations more effective.

The UL meeting was represented by: UL Rector Indriķis Muižnieks, Andrejs Ērglis, Gunta Rača, Ilze Kūka, Dace Tola and Reinis Rotkalis. Paulina Brzezicka, Francois Gilles, Marina Ismaila, Brendan McDonagh, Damien Philippe, Juan Magaña and Juha Sulkanen participated from the EIB and the EIB Consultation Centre. Raimonds Dauksts, Marzena Rytel and Roberts Bērziņš participated as associated EIB advisers from consultancy firm PwC.