Loughborough University has bought a 163-acre site adjoining its campus from gas company Advantica in a project that could create hundreds of jobs.
It plans to use the existing hi-spec buildings to carry out research for major companies. It has a respected record of working with industry through its innovation centre, which has helped nearly 20 companies grow over the past three years.
Ronald McCaffer, Loughborough's director of strategic business partnerships, said the move was in line with government policy of encouraging universities to develop links with industry.
"If you're going to attract major blue-chip companies, you must give them first-class facilities. These new buildings do just that. We want to build on our research strengths in the aerospace, aero-engines, automotive and construction industries," he added.
The university's team of industrial research workers will move to the site, with the hope that they will be joined by research workers from major companies, some of which have already expressed an interest.