A £30m investment to put Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly at the forefront of environmental and climate change technologies was announced this week by the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency) and Exeter University.

The investment - which includes almost £23m from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Convergence programme - will enable Exeter University to build an Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at the Combined Universities in Cornwall Tremough Campus in Penryn.

Work is due to start in February 2011 to create a building to house the institute. It will be ready for occupation in the summer of 2012.

Researchers at the ESI will investigate the causes of environmental change and how to manage its effects. More than 100 academic staff will be recruited to work across three selected themes: clean technologies, natural environment and socio-economic research.