Swansea University says its plans for a £400m second campus have taken a "major step forward" after it was granted outline planning consent.
It says its science and innovation campus could create thousands of jobs on the former BP site at Baglan.
Councillors in Neath Port Talbot approved the plans, despite objections from their counterparts in Swansea who said it should be built in the city.
Last month the assembly government pledged funding for the project.
The Bay Science and Innovation Campus will be built on a 69-acre site off Fabian Way donated to the University by BP.
It is intended to allow academic researchers to work with firms to develop ideas that will benefit the economy, allowing the university to collaborate with companies such as Rolls-Royce.
A Swansea University spokesperson said: "This decision is a major step forward in converting the plans into reality.
"The campus development promises to be one of the largest knowledge economy initiatives in Europe supporting substantial economic renewal in south west Wales."
The university said it would "continue to work intensely" with its project partners to develop more detailed plans.