Queen's University has launched a campaign to raise £140m to help it become one of the top 100 universities in the world.
The Belfast university is 166 in the QS world rankings — a trusted international league of top universities.
But Queen’s is hoping to break in to the top 100 by 2020 through extra investment in its facilities.
The university is a member of the Russell Group which represents the 20 leading UK universities.
Already £17.5m is sitting in the Beyond fund, which will be invested in seven key areas to push Queen’s up the world rankings.
Queen's, the only university in Northern Ireland that offers a degree in medicine, will invest around £70m in medicine.
Launching the £140m Beyond campaign, Queen’s vice chancellor Sir Peter Gregson said the drive had got off to a great start with the university having secured £17.5m from individual donors, businesses, foundations and trusts.
Professor Gregson stated: “The new fundraising campaign is an ambitious goal to raise £140m to provide the ultimate student experience and to invest in those areas in which we globally excel.
“It is a campaign that will allow Queen’s to continue to make its disproportionate contribution to the success of Northern Ireland. From cybersecurity to the humanities, and from food science to medicine, Queen’s impact and influence on society is exceptional.”
Earlier this year the university’s Institute of Health Sciences received a Diamond Jubilee Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its cancer research.
Survival rates in Northern Ireland have moved from the bottom of the UK league table to the top and it is hoped the investment will make further medical advances in battling diseases.
Prof Gregson added: “And not forgetting our students, Queen’s exists to provide a life-changing experience for them and they will be the big winners from this campaign.
“It will allow us to provide additional internships affording students real-life work experiences; grow our sporting academies that allow them to develop their leadership skills; and to increase the number of scholarships providing access to opportunities that some students may never get.”
The fundraising drive comes as Queen's officially opens Riddel Hall. Former president of Ireland Mary McAleese, who studied at Queen's, will unveil the £15m campus today. The listed building has become a home for the Leadership Institute and Queen’s University Management School.