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Working Smarter 2014: A New Phase of University Efficiencies

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 09:00
To thrive in a fiercely competitive international context, Scottish universities must make the most of their resources and invest for continual improvement. This report shows how Scotland's higher education sector has successfully delivered, one year ahead of schedule, on the three-year goals developed by the Universities Scotland Efficiencies Taskforce in 2012 and sets out a second ambitious three-year action plan for further collaborative efficiency savings to 2017. Download Working Smarter 2014 To thrive in a fiercely competitive international context, Scottish universities must make the most of their resources and invest for continual improvement. This report shows how Scotland's higher education sector has successfully delivered, one year ahead of schedule, on the three-year goals developed by the Universities Scotland Efficiencies Taskforce in 2012 and sets out a second ambitious three-year action plan for further collaborative efficiency savings to 2017. Download Working Smarter 2014
Categories: Universities

Implications of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) in Scottish schools on admissions for universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 10:20
This paper sets out the implications of CfE for university admissions, and is intended to serve as a helpful brief for universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Universities Scotland has produced it in response to suggestions from our 19 higher education institutions. Around 4,800 students of Scottish-domicile applied to at least one higher education institution in England, Wales or Northern Ireland through UCAS in 2014 therefore the pedagogic and qualification changes introduced by CfE will have an impact on higher education institutions beyond Scotland. Read the paper here This paper sets out the implications of CfE for university admissions, and is intended to serve as a helpful brief for universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Universities Scotland has produced it in response to suggestions from our 19 higher education institutions. Around 4,800 students of Scottish-domicile applied to at least one higher education institution in England, Wales or Northern Ireland through UCAS in 2014 therefore the pedagogic and qualification changes introduced by CfE will have an impact on higher education institutions beyond Scotland. Read the paper here
Categories: Universities

Universities Scotland responds to the result of the referendum on Scottish independence

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 08:05
Responding to the result of the referendum on Scottish independence, as declared on 19 September 2014, Professor Pete Downes, the Convener of Universities Scotland, said: “The electorate has made its choice and we fully respect the decision they have made for Scotland’s future. “The university sector is proud to be rooted firmly in Scotland and to be a central part of the nation’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing. Universities are ambitious for Scotland’s success under any constitutional settlement, and we intend to continue to compete amongst the world’s best for our teaching, our research and the attraction of talent. “We do not believe in standing still, nor do we see the outcome of this referendum in those terms. We will continue to work closely with the Scottish and UK Governments to secure the best possible funding and policy environment for our higher education institutions, in the interests of Scotland’s success.” ENDS Responding to the result of the referendum on Scottish independence, as declared on 19 September 2014, Professor Pete Downes, the Convener of Universities Scotland, said:“The electorate has made its choice and we fully respect the decision they have made for Scotland’s future.“The university sector is proud to be rooted firmly in Scotland and to be a central part of the nation’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing. Universities are ambitious for Scotland’s success under any constitutional settlement, and we intend to continue to compete amongst the world’s best for our teaching, our research and the attraction of talent.“We do not believe in standing still, nor do we see the outcome of this referendum in those terms. We will continue to work closely with the Scottish and UK Governments to secure the best possible funding and policy environment for our higher education institutions, in the interests of Scotland’s success.”ENDS
Categories: Universities

Universities Scotland announces Convener for 2014/16

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 16:55
With the start of the new academic year upon us, Universities Scotland, the body which represents Scotland's 19 higher education institutions, today (4 September) has announced the election, by his peers, of Professor Pete Downes as its Convener for a second term for the period 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2016. It was also confirmed that Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, has been elected as Vice-Convener, also for a second term and for the same period.Professor Downes is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee and has previously led Universities Scotland's Research and Knowledge Committee. As Convener for the past two years, Professor Downes has overseen a period in which the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act, a major piece of legislation affecting higher education, passed through the Scottish Parliament, and has brought his own personal commitment and enthusiasm for widening access and creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds and for universities' contribution to enhancing Scotland's innovative potential to the role. It is with the last two years' experience that Professor Downes will approach the upcoming challenges of the next two, including; working to ensure universities' priorities are met whatever the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum; the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014; securing public investment in Scotland's universities in the Scottish Government's next spending round in 2015; and working with all political parties before and after the 2016 Scottish General Election. With the start of the new academic year upon us, Universities Scotland, the body which represents Scotland's 19 higher education institutions, today (4 September) has announced the election, by his peers, of Professor Pete Downes as its Convener for a second term for the period 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2016. It was also confirmed that Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, has been elected as Vice-Convener, also for a second term and for the same period. Professor Downes is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee and has previously led Universities Scotland's Research and Knowledge Committee. As Convener for the past two years, Professor Downes has overseen a period in which the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act, a major piece of legislation affecting higher education, passed through the Scottish Parliament, and has brought his own personal commitment and enthusiasm for widening access and creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds and for universities' contribution to enhancing Scotland's innovative potential to the role. It is with the last two years' experience that Professor Downes will approach the upcoming challenges of the next two, including; working to ensure universities' priorities are met whatever the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum; the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014; securing public investment in Scotland's universities in the Scottish Government's next spending round in 2015; and working with all political parties before and after the 2016 Scottish General Election. Universities Scotland's Director, Alastair Sim, said:"I am delighted that Professor Downes is willing to undertake a second term in this role as our universities continue to deliver for Scotland's people and the economy. The Universities Scotland team looks forward to continuing to work with him and Professor Wend as Vice-Convener."Professor Downes, Convener of Universities Scotland, said:"I relish the opportunities the next two years will bring in terms of ensuring we secure the right public policies that allow our institutions to flourish at home and internationally. We have a strong and diverse sector in Scotland and there is a great deal of confidence in our sector's ability to deliver, as we've seen with record student numbers, and the highest student satisfaction, the best graduate employment levels in the UK, more businesses investing in Scotland because of our research and graduate strengths, and more spin-out companies being created from Scottish institutions. We will continue to deliver for Scotland."
Categories: Universities

Students vote Scotland as the best place to study in the UK in 2014

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 09:41
Responding to the publication of the results of the 2014 National Student Survey (NSS), a Universities Scotland spokesperson said:"Students have endorsed Scotland's universities as the best place to pursue a higher education in the UK, with overall satisfaction reaching a three-year high at 87%. For new students starting their courses in September, and for prospective students looking to apply for entry in 2015, this is a big vote of confidence from their peers already studying in Scottish institutions. "Looking at the detail of survey, Scotland's universities recorded improved or equal satisfaction from students in 21 out of 22 measures this year, including on level of feedback, teaching, academic support, learning resources and personal development. The survey results reflect institutions' commitment to continuous self-improvement as they look to provide world class higher education and the best possible student experience. As well as being the best place to study in the UK, official figures published earlier this summer show Scottish universities are producing the UK's most employable graduates with the best rates of positive destinations of work or further study." Responding to the publication of the results of the 2014 National Student Survey (NSS), a Universities Scotland spokesperson said:"Students have endorsed Scotland's universities as the best place to pursue a higher education in the UK, with overall satisfaction reaching a three-year high at 87%. For new students starting their courses in September, and for prospective students looking to apply for entry in 2015, this is a big vote of confidence from their peers already studying in Scottish institutions. "Looking at the detail of survey, Scotland's universities recorded improved or equal satisfaction from students in 21 out of 22 measures this year, including on level of feedback, teaching, academic support, learning resources and personal development. The survey results reflect institutions' commitment to continuous self-improvement as they look to provide world class higher education and the best possible student experience. As well as being the best place to study in the UK, official figures published earlier this summer show Scottish universities are producing the UK's most employable graduates with the best rates of positive destinations of work or further study." NOTESNSS 2014 - overall satisfaction recorded by full-time undergraduate students:•      Overall satisfaction in Scotland in 2014: 87% (up from 86% in 2013)•      England 85% (no change on 2013 levels)•      Wales 85% (up 1% on 2013)•      Northern Ireland FT 87% (down 2% on 2013)
Categories: Universities

Universities: the ‘can do' sector

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 16:14
This piece originally appeared in The Scotsman on Thursday 7 August 2014 titled 'Universities 'can do' business success'.  Earlier this year the Scottish Government published, ‘Scotland Can Do', its framework to make Scotland a world-leading innovative nation.Universities are at the heart of that aim. A key sector of the economy in its own right, with an economic impact of over £6bn each year, Scotland has more world class universities per head of population than anywhere else.What is perhaps less well known is how, day in day out, universities are working successfully with Scottish companies to help them grow and are helping academics and students to create businesses of their own. Each year sees other organisations invest in over 25,000 contracts for research consultancy and CPD contracts with the sector. Universities also assist staff and students on the challenging road of company creation and growth, many of them finding commercial applications for the cutting edge knowledge emerging from research. Indeed, Scotland's universities account for a 28% share of all spin-out companies formed in the UK in last three years. The nearest rival is London with an 18% share. Overall, Scotland's performance is internationally competitive. The Global Competitiveness Survey put Scotland ahead of Germany, Finland and the US amongst others for university-business engagement. However, there is an appetite amongst universities to do more. Earlier this year the Scottish Government published, ‘Scotland Can Do', its framework to make Scotland a world-leading innovative nation.Universities are at the heart of that aim. A key sector of the economy in its own right, with an economic impact of over £6bn each year, Scotland has more world class universities per head of population than anywhere else.What is perhaps less well known is how, day in day out, universities are working successfully with Scottish companies to help them grow and are helping academics and students to create businesses of their own. Each year sees other organisations invest in over 25,000 contracts for research consultancy and CPD contracts with the sector. Universities also assist staff and students on the challenging road of company creation and growth, many of them finding commercial applications for the cutting edge knowledge emerging from research. Indeed, Scotland's universities account for a 28% share of all spin-out companies formed in the UK in last three years. The nearest rival is London with an 18% share. Overall, Scotland's performance is internationally competitive. The Global Competitiveness Survey put Scotland ahead of Germany, Finland and the US amongst others for university-business engagement. However, there is an appetite amongst universities to do more.Helping companies along this path is core business for universities and the government agencies that facilitate such links. Some companies, such as Microlase, a spin-out from the University of Strathclyde building solid state lasers, move from university incubation facilities through to private investment for expanded facilities within a science park. In that case an investor, US-based Coherent Inc, a global supplier of photonics products and solutions, bought out the company. Coherent Scotland continues to expand, with Glasgow as its world centre for development of its highly successful ultra-short pulse laser systems, employing over 100 people and turning over £35M.Similarly, Edinburgh Molecular Imaging, the biggest spin-out to date at Edinburgh Bioquarter, a partnership between University of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian and industry, has secured £4m financing from Epidarex Capital, a specialist life science venture capital group, and the Scottish Investment Bank - Scottish Enterprise's investment arm. The company is pioneering Optical Molecular Imaging (OMI) technology that will detect harmful processes deep inside the human body, at the bedside, in real time and at molecular resolution.Celtic Renewables Ltd, a start-up company formed to commercialise fermentation technology developed at Edinburgh Napier's Biofuel Research Centre, has worked with the university, Scottish Enterprise and private sector funders during its growth. The Scottish Enterprise (SE) ‘toolkit' supported the university in securing patents and influenced the technology development road map. Proof of Concept funding then supported technical and commercial development. The company was also assisted by the SE High Growth Team and received SMART Scotland support for the feasibility studies around the IP licensed to the company from the University.Mode Dx Ltd, a spin-out from the University of Glasgow, has recently secured Series ‘B' funding from new investors, Longwall Ventures as well as existing investors, IP Group plc, Parkwalk Advisors, Scottish Investment Bank and the management team. The investment will support the commercial launch of its first product, meASURE Bowel Health, a self-test cancer screen, through a high street retail pharmacy partner. Mode is just one of a portfolio of companies created through the institution's partnership with venture capital group - IP Group plc.  These companies' stories reflect the long term nature of partnerships. It can take 2 to 4 years to develop a research generated technology from invention to first investment. During their development, companies draw on the support of commercialisation offices and the expertise in the university community more broadly, for example through strategic appointments to company boards. As companies grow, they naturally look to the university's graduates to meet their recruitment needs and to get involved in specialist institutes. Meanwhile, where a university receives a return from the sale of its shareholding in a spin-out these funds are re-invested in a variety of ways from the development of education and research infrastructure to providing early-stage finance to spin-outs at the highest risk stage.  Innovation from university - business partnerships is a strategic goal right around the world and success is founded on continued adaptation of approach. At the national level, we continue to see relatively low levels of business R&D activity in Scotland and so stimulating business ‘demand' remains vitally important. Similarly, the recent RSE, ICAS and Scottish Financial Enterprise report on growth capital for high potential companies points us to possible solutions to another vital strategic concern. Building on the joint-working evident in the new Innovation Centres, there is room for further alignment of government support mechanisms. For universities, there is work ongoing on to refine pathways for business interaction, be they general, such as standard contract terms or ‘easy access' IP, or bespoke to company or industry needs. Universities will continue to be a central player, stimulating and supporting innovation in our diverse business base. To succeed, collaboration between all elements of the triple helix of university-business-government will continue to be crucial. David Lott, Deputy Director, Universities ScotlandThis piece originally appeared in The Scotsman on Thursday 7 August 2014 titled 'Universities 'can do' business success'. 
Categories: Universities

Great day for Scots as over 1,000 more students accepted into university

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:40
Over 1,000 more Scots had secured a place at university in Scotland as of midnight last night [Monday 4 August] compared to the same time last year. 23,780 Scots had been placed at universities across Scotland, compared with 22,770 in 2013. This equates to an increase of four per cent compared to the same time last year. In total Scottish universities have so far confirmed places for a total of 30,350 applicants to start university this autumn, with students from the rest of the UK, from Europe and from the rest of the world taking up places alongside students from Scotland.Commenting on the results Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said:"We're delighted to see a strong performance in the Higher results from pupils across Scotland and to see the number of Scots accepted into our universities increase again. Full credit to the pupils themselves and the support given by teachers and parents."Universities are very keen that pupils with the potential to benefit from university get the opportunity to do so and over 1,000 more Scots will get this chance this year."Whilst the results tell of good news for thousands, some students will face disappointment today. Clearing places are available for Scottish and EU domiciled students on hundreds of courses at ten universities across Scotland. Last year over 1,500 Scottish students found a university place though clearing and 86 per cent of those were at Scottish universities.Pupils interested in finding a place at university through clearing should visit the UCAS clearing website search.ucas.com and contact institutions to talk about available courses they are seriously interested in. Over 1,000 more Scots had secured a place at university in Scotland as of midnight last night [Monday 4 August] compared to the same time last year. 23,780 Scots had been placed at universities across Scotland, compared with 22,770 in 2013. This equates to an increase of four per cent compared to the same time last year. In total Scottish universities have so far confirmed places for a total of 30,350 applicants to start university this autumn, with students from the rest of the UK, from Europe and from the rest of the world taking up places alongside students from Scotland.Commenting on the results Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said:"We're delighted to see a strong performance in the Higher results from pupils across Scotland and to see the number of Scots accepted into our universities increase again. Full credit to the pupils themselves and the support given by teachers and parents."Universities are very keen that pupils with the potential to benefit from university get the opportunity to do so and over 1,000 more Scots will get this chance this year."Whilst the results tell of good news for thousands, some students will face disappointment today. Clearing places are available for Scottish and EU domiciled students on hundreds of courses at ten universities across Scotland. Last year over 1,500 Scottish students found a university place though clearing and 86 per cent of those were at Scottish universities.Pupils interested in finding a place at university through clearing should visit the UCAS clearing website search.ucas.com and contact institutions to talk about available courses they are seriously interested in.Alastair Sim said:"Anyone that is still looking for a place at university should take comfort in the fact that there are hundreds of places available through clearing at universities right across Scotland. Last year over 1,500 students found a place this way. The key is to act quickly and get as much information and advice as you can from UCAS, from the SDS helpline and from the institutions you are interested in."A large number of Scots still get to university through this route. Last year the number of Scots finding a university place in Scotland through clearing outnumbered those from England, Wales and Northern Ireland doing so by three to one."The figures released today are a snap-shot of accepted applicants to university as of midnight on Monday 4 August. The figures will continue to increase over the coming weeks as more students are placed through clearing. Final figures are expected to be released in late September. NOTESFigures released by UCAS today show that 23,780 Scottish students have accepted a place at a Scottish university for entry in 2014 compared to 22,770 at the same time last year. This is an increase on 4%. 
Categories: Universities

Scotland's students and graduates record phenomenal medal success as part of Team Scotland

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 10:52
Universities Scotland has today, Tuesday 5 August, revealed that 19 Scottish university students and graduates won medals for Team Scotland during the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The student and graduate athletes brought home a total of 23 medals between them, including eight Gold, nine Silver and six Bronze. An analysis published as the Games got underway in Glasgow revealed that 113 athletes in the 310-strong Team Scotland, or 37%, have links to Scottish universities. The student and graduate athletes more than pulled their weight as they contributed 40% of Team Scotland's medal haul. The results mean that if Scotland's university students and graduates had competed as a team during the Games they would have finished in 11th position in the medal table, above Singapore and Malaysia, countries with populations of 5.3 million and 29.2 million respectively.Eleven universities from across Scotland can boast XX Commonwealth Games medal winners amongst their student and graduate ranks. Universities Scotland has today, Tuesday 5 August, revealed that 19 Scottish university students and graduates won medals for Team Scotland during the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The student and graduate athletes brought home a total of 23 medals between them, including eight Gold, nine Silver and six Bronze. An analysis published as the Games got underway in Glasgow revealed that 113 athletes in the 310-strong Team Scotland, or 37%, have links to Scottish universities. The student and graduate athletes more than pulled their weight as they contributed 40% of Team Scotland's medal haul. The results mean that if Scotland's university students and graduates had competed as a team during the Games they would have finished in 11th position in the medal table, above Singapore and Malaysia, countries with populations of 5.3 million and 29.2 million respectively.Eleven universities from across Scotland can boast XX Commonwealth Games medal winners amongst their student and graduate ranks. Medal winners include University of Aberdeen graduate Neil Fachie, who picked up two Gold for para sport cycling and time trial and sprint; Heriot-Watt University's Stephanie Inglis, who is studying towards her MSc International Business won Silver in Judo; University of Stirling Sport and Exercise Science student Ross Murdoch, who won Gold and Bronze medals in swimming events; Team Scotland captain Flag Bearer and University of Edinburgh graduate Euan Burton who won Gold in Judo; and University of Strathclyde graduate Aileen McGlynn, who won two Silver medals for para sport cycling and time trial and sprint.In April, Aileen McGlynn was part of the judging panel for the Game Changer Awards which celebrated the broad range of contributions made by Scotland's colleges and universities to the success of the Games in Glasgow and its legacy.Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling and Convener of Universities Scotland's University Games Group, said:"The XX Commonwealth Games were a fantastic success for Glasgow and the whole of Scotland. Staff and students at Scotland's universities were right behind Team Scotland and we are delighted to see so many of our students and graduates excel on the world stage, breaking records and winning medals. That so many of our nation's top athletes have also pursued a Scottish higher education is testament to the quality of facilities and support on offer from our universities. Many student athletes also benefit from Winning Students scholarships, providing tailored support and academic flexibility."Earlier this year we highlighted how our support for a successful competition in Glasgow touches every aspect of the Games, from the research behind physical endurance and performance, the management and organisation skills needed to smoothly run a large-scale global event, to encouraging people of all ages in Scotland to be healthier and more active. Scotland's universities will continue to contribute towards a lasting legacy from the XX Commonwealth Games as we help to make Scotland smarter, fairer and healthier."Open University students and mixed-doubles duo Imogen Bankier and Robert Blair won Bronze at the Games. They are supported by the Winning Students scholarships. Imogen said: "I enjoy studying through The Open University as it gives me a focus outside of my badminton, and I enjoy learning while I have some time away from training. Being a student and playing badminton at this level isn't easy, but I wouldn't have one without the other and selection for ‘Winning Students' has allowed me to do both well." 
Categories: Universities

Scotland's twenty-first century research breakthroughs on show to the world

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 09:10
The ability to transmit the internet through a light-bulb, a low-cost, portable eye examination kit capable of preventing blindness in the world's poorest countries, new health advice for those with diabetes and the creative process behind the design of the medals for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. These are some of the research breakthroughs and innovations of Scotland's 19 higher education institutions, on show to the countries of the Commonwealth at an event hosted by Universities Scotland and Scottish Enterprise this evening (from 18.30 on Monday, 28 July). The event is part of the Scotland House business-to-business programme of Glasgow 2014, which provides a platform for Scotland's key industry sectors during the Commonwealth Games. The event will be attended by diplomats and dignitaries from over sixteen countries of the Commonwealth including Malaysia, New Zealand and Mauritius. Amongst the dignitaries, the hosts are delighted to be joined by the President of Mauritius as well as Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Russell MSP. Scotland is known around the world for its rich history of research and discovery; as the country that is home to the invention of the telephone, penicillin and beta blockers. Scotland's legacy of invention was one of the themes in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games which took place last week. The ability to transmit the internet through a light-bulb, a low-cost, portable eye examination kit capable of preventing blindness in the world's poorest countries, new health advice for those with diabetes and the creative process behind the design of the medals for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. These are some of the research breakthroughs and innovations of Scotland's 19 higher education institutions, on show to the countries of the Commonwealth at an event hosted by Universities Scotland and Scottish Enterprise this evening (from 18.30 on Monday, 28 July). The event is part of the Scotland House business-to-business programme of Glasgow 2014, which provides a platform for Scotland's key industry sectors during the Commonwealth Games. The event will be attended by diplomats and dignitaries from over sixteen countries of the Commonwealth including Malaysia, New Zealand and Mauritius. Amongst the dignitaries, the hosts are delighted to be joined by the President of Mauritius as well as Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Russell MSP. Scotland is known around the world for its rich history of research and discovery; as the country that is home to the invention of the telephone, penicillin and beta blockers. Scotland's legacy of invention was one of the themes in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games which took place last week. Scotland's universities continue that proud legacy in the twenty-first century as they are international renowned for the excellence of their research. Every one of the country's 19 higher education institutions has been found to undertake some research of world-leading quality and with only 0.1 per cent of the world's population Scotland produces 1.8 per cent of the world's citations. Commenting on the opportunity to showcase Scotland's higher education sector, and its world-leading research, to the Commonwealth, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen said: "Scotland's universities are world-class and the impact of our research reaches to every corner of the globe. As a sector, higher education has always been outward looking and keen to collaborate with others; partnering best with best. This is of great economic and cultural value to Scotland. We have as much to learn from others as we have to offer; that is the nature of international research partnerships. "The advent of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with all the world's eyes on Scotland, is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the strength of our research to our peers across the Commonwealth. I would be delighted to see new partnerships forged and existing partnerships deepen; I am personally looking to extend a very warm welcome to the many countries represented at Scotland House." Cabinet Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Russell MSP said:"Scotland has an incredible heritage of research and discovery; one of the reasons that our universities continue to attract large numbers of talented students from around the globe. In 2012-13, there were 9,430 students from Commonwealth countries studying at Scottish Higher Education Institutes, and of these more than 2,400 were studying in a Higher Education Institute in Glasgow. "With five universities in the world's top 200, more per head of population than any other country, our world-class higher education sector is investing in pioneering partnerships with international partners to offer students and researchers greater opportunities. "We are building our connections with Commonwealth countries through the work of Scottish Development International; for example, bringing our expertise in oil and gas to provide training that will help grow that sector in Ghana. I hope that one legacy of this year's Commonwealth Games will be to encourage new and fruitful collaborations."  Paul Lewis, Managing Director, Scottish Enterprise, said: "We are delighted to be working alongside Universities Scotland to showcase the best of Scottish research excellence. With the university sector committed to growing by 50 per cent by 2017 we are looking forward to supporting them in realising this ambition."The event, Connecting with the Commonwealth, delivered by Universities Scotland and Scottish Enterprise as part of Scotland House, has put the sector's strength in research and development centre-stage showcasing four very different research projects with applications in various sectors of the economy including Information and communications technology, health, and the creative industries. The twenty-first century research breakthroughs include those led by: Professor Harald Haas, from the University of Edinburgh, who is working to turn LED light bulbs into wireless broadband transition systems using ‘Li-Fi' technology.Dr Mario Giardini, who works in the field of digital health at the Unviersity of Strathclyde. Dr Giardini has developed smartphone technology to enable comprehensive eye examinations in event the remotest of settings. This is vital to prevent blindness in some of the world's poorest countries which also have 90 per cent of the world's blindness.Dr John Babraj, from Abertay University, is leading research into forms of exercise that can significantly improve the health and well-being of the elderly and people living with type two diabetes; a disease that is rapidly on the increase and accounts for nearly 90 per cent of the quarter of a million people already living with the disease in Scotland.Jonathan Boyd, Glasgow School of Art graduate and award-winning silversmith, will discuss the commission to design the medal for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games 2014 and the use of advanced digital technologies with traditional metalworking techniques.Scotland's universities are already recognized as one of the countries' key industry sectors with an annual economic contribution of £6.7 billion gross value added and an export income of £1.3 billion. The value of universities' export income is derived from international tuition fees, the delivery of transnational education and research grants and contracts with international partners. The Scotland House event aims to forge new partnerships and increase the value of the latter strand of activity, which currently sits at close to half a billion pounds. An event to promote closer connections with the Commonwealth is a fitting event as Scotland's higher education institutions have always been outward looking. Scotland's 19 institutions currently have teaching, research and staff and student exchange partnerships in over 160 countries. Universities Scotland's participation in Scotland House follows on from last month's launch of Connected Scotland, a partnership initiative involving Scotland's enterprise agencies, the British Council, Scottish Funding Council and others, with a focus on driving up the sector's export income. It has a goal of increasing the value of the sector's export income by more than 50 per cent by 2017. Scotland House is supporting this event.
Categories: Universities

New analysis finds that more than one third of Team Scotland athletes are Scottish university students or graduates

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 10:19
Universities Scotland has today, Monday 21 July, thrown its full support behind Team Scotland for success at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and revealed the high level of Team Scotland athletes with a Scottish higher education background.An incredible 114 out of 310 Team Scotland athletes, some 36.77%, have links to Scottish universities as current students or graduates and have pursued a diverse range of academic subjects including accountancy, medicine, sport and recreation management, chemistry and broadcast production. The new analysis builds on the news that 73 Team Scotland athletes have been bolstered by Winning Students scholarship support, including the entire badminton team.Sixteen of Scotland's 19 higher education institutions can claim current students or graduates in Team Scotland.Earlier this year Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland organised the successful Game Changer Awards to celebrate the varied and wide contributions of Scotland's further and higher education sectors to the success of the XX Commonwealth Games. Awards were presented to institutions from across Scotland at a ceremony in Glasgow's Old Fruitmarket in six categories including research impact, international contribution, student achievement and learning and skills. The Game Changer Awards had the support of the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Government were recognised as part of the official Glasgow 2014 legacy programme.Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling and Convener of Universities Scotland's University Games Group, said:"Team Scotland has the backing of staff and students from every one of Scotland's universities and colleges as the XX Commonwealth Games get underway in Glasgow this week. That so many of our nation's top athletes have also pursued a Scottish higher education is testament to the quality of facilities and support on offer from our universities."Earlier this year we highlighted how our support for a successful Games goes beyond urging on our athletes during Games time and how it touches every aspect of the Games from the research behind physical endurance and performance, the management and organisation skills needed to smoothly run a large-scale global event to encouraging people of all ages in Scotland to be healthier and more active. But for the next ten days we'll be extra noisy in cheering on all of our students and alumni competing in the Games and hope they can win gold for Scotland." Universities Scotland has today, Monday 21 July, thrown its full support behind Team Scotland for success at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and revealed the high level of Team Scotland athletes with a Scottish higher education background. An incredible 114 out of 310 Team Scotland athletes, some 36.77%, have links to Scottish universities as current students or graduates and have pursued a diverse range of academic subjects including accountancy, medicine, sport and recreation management, chemistry and broadcast production. The new analysis builds on the news that 73 Team Scotland athletes have been bolstered by Winning Students scholarship support, including the entire badminton team. Sixteen of Scotland's 19 higher education institutions can claim current students or graduates in Team Scotland. Earlier this year Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland organised the successful Game Changer Awards to celebrate the varied and wide contributions of Scotland's further and higher education sectors to the success of the XX Commonwealth Games. Awards were presented to institutions from across Scotland at a ceremony in Glasgow's Old Fruitmarket in six categories including research impact, international contribution, student achievement and learning and skills. The Game Changer Awards had the support of the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Government were recognised as part of the official Glasgow 2014 legacy programme. Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling and Convener of Universities Scotland's University Games Group, said: "Team Scotland has the backing of staff and students from every one of Scotland's universities and colleges as the XX Commonwealth Games get underway in Glasgow this week. That so many of our nation's top athletes have also pursued a Scottish higher education is testament to the quality of facilities and support on offer from our universities. "Earlier this year we highlighted how our support for a successful Games goes beyond urging on our athletes during Games time and how it touches every aspect of the Games from the research behind physical endurance and performance, the management and organisation skills needed to smoothly run a large-scale global event to encouraging people of all ages in Scotland to be healthier and more active. But for the next ten days we'll be extra noisy in cheering on all of our students and alumni competing in the Games and hope they can win gold for Scotland."Scotland's universities are proud to offer their student athletes world-class sports facilities and support services including coaching and physio. A flexible approach to helping students find the right balance between their training needs and demands of their academic studies is a further contribution that universities make to help enable success on both fronts.As It is very rare to participate in professional sports at the highest level for more than a few years, Team Scotland athletes working towards a university degree are taking action to ensure strong employment prospects following their sporting careers. The benefits of a Scottish higher education were highlighted earlier this year when graduates from Scotland's universities were once again found to have the highest levels of positive destinations of work or further study in the UK as well as the highest average starting salaries and lowest levels of unemployment.Stew Fowlie, ‎Chief Operating Officer at Scottish Student Sport, said:"Scottish Student Sport is delighted to acknowledge the achievement of all the students and alumni within Team Scotland. This confirms what we have long known about the synergies between educational and sporting success. This also shows the significant commitment to sport in further and higher education - both at individual and institutional level. All of us at SSS wish Team Scotland every success and trust that everyone will come away with memories to last a lifetime."
Categories: Universities

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