A £10 million investment in innovative learning, teaching and research facilities has officially opened at the Tremough Campus in Penryn.
The venue provides access to virtually round-the-clock academic and support services for students at Falmouth University and the University of Exeter (UoE) which share the site.
Designed to a BREEAM Excellent rating – a measure of environmental sustainability – its innovative layout allows opportunities for students and staff to interact, collaborate, study and socialise.
The Exchange also includes a comprehensive student information service, with interactive learning booths and a dedicated careers zone designed to enhance student employability.
Those involved in the design and construction of the building, friends, funders and community representatives including the Mayor of Penryn Gill Grant, joined staff and students from the two institutions to experience The Exchange at an evening of film, dance and demonstrations showcasing the creativity and innovation at the campus.
Professor Anne Carlisle, Vice-Chancellor of Falmouth University said: "The Exchange is the culmination of the partnership of two great universities and offers both new models for learning and an innovative model to deliver learning in partnership.
"Over the last ten years, Falmouth has seen student numbers triple and we have benefited from more than £100 million of investment in our world-class facilities at our Penryn campus.
"We will use the opening of The Exchange, and our other achievements, as a springboard to build on the excellence of our teaching and facilities, and further our goal to be one of the top five specialist arts universities in the world by 2017."
Professor Mark Overton, UoE's deputy vice-chancellor said: "This campus is a work of true partnership and its rapid growth is testament to the hard work and inspiration of staff from the Universities of Exeter and Falmouth, and our shared services delivery partner, Falmouth Exeter Plus.
Rich Pearson, from the Falmouth and Exeter Students' Union (FXU) said students were "thrilled" with the new building.
"Many have said that The Exchange has been the missing piece of the puzzle and we now truly have a world-class university campus. The versatility and design of the space along with how students have contributed to its development have really made The Exchange something worth celebrating."
This is the latest phase of investment in both buildings and student numbers.
Chris Pomfret, chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and deputy chair of the Convergence Local Management Committee, which steers the Convergence Programme said: "With the 10 years of investment into the Tremough Campus, its transformation is astonishing.
"The opening of The Exchange will complement previous European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence investments such as the Academy for Innovation & Research, the Environment and Sustainability Institute and Cornwall Council's Tremough Innovation Centre.
"The campus as a whole can now lead the way as a vibrant learning and business hub for future economic growth and sustainability for Cornwall."
The Exchange building has been enabled by £4.37 million from HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England), £3 million from the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Convergence Programme, £1 million from the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency), and a combined investment of almost £2 million from Falmouth and UoE.