– Ed Daniels, chairman of Shell UK
We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the University of Chester which will ensure that innovation and technology will remain a key contributor to the local and regional economy and community and which builds on Shell's long history of manufacturing and technical innovation in the region.
The university has formed some very exciting and robust plans for the development of the site and we wish them the very best in bringing these to fruition.
– Vice Chancellor Professor Tim Wheeler
Our commitment at Thornton could bring up to 2,000 jobs to the area over the next five years, together with perpetuating Shell's distinguished reputation.
"The university's vision is to build on the excellent foundations laid by Shell to create an internationally-recognised, financially self-sustaining and multi-disciplinary campus that targets and stimulates private sector growth through employment, education and inward investment.
"It will integrate students with employers and employees."
Shell has gifted its largest science research centre in the UK to the University of Chester.
The company had previously announced plans to close Shell Thornton, in Cheshire, and consolidate research and development facilities elsewhere.
Today it was confirmed that the University of Chester will take over the 66-acre site, which includes 48 science and engineering buildings.
The university said the plan means Thornton, which opened 75 years ago, will remain at the "forefront of scientific research".
It now intends to use the site to raise student numbers by around 500 and provide support services to more than 20 small and medium sized businesses.
Other proposals, including a science park with communal laboratory space, will mean Thornton has the potential to create thousands of jobs, the university said.