New University for Rural Scotland

Hannah Downey

A new rural university will be created in Scotland within the next four years by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), who have said that they are moving into full higher education with a faculty-based model.

The first stage in the transformation will see SRUC create three new vibrant faculties located across Scotland: North, (the Faculty of Agri-Food & Business), Central (the Faculty of Rural Science & Policy) and South & West (the Faculty of Pasture-based Agriculture, Forestry and Bio-refining). Following a thorough and extensive review, which began in early 2017, this model was identified as the best structure to deliver tangible benefits at a local and national level.

The most notable development is the potential £35m investment into SRUC’s Barony campus in Dumfries & Galloway, which is the site for the new South & West Faculty. The creation of this new state-of-the-art facility has received business-case approval from the Scottish Funding Council.

The investment strategy also includes a phased withdrawal over four years from SRUC campuses at Riverside in Ayr and Crichton in Dumfries & Galloway. SRUC currently maintains a small presence at these campuses and is in full consultation with unions and other stakeholders.

Commenting, Professor Wayne Powell, Chief Executive and Principal of Scotland’s Rural College, said:

“This investment is the first major step in our transformational growth to Scotland’s new rural university. It is exciting and full of opportunity for teaching, applied research, the rural economy and Scotland as a whole. The decisions that we have made, and will implement over the next few years, are all the result of significant research and analysis. They will best serve our commitment to educational excellence, which in turn will develop the skills required for a vibrant rural economy in 21st century Scotland.

“The three faculties will enable us to bring skills and sectors together, and to strategically deliver an integrated, sustainable model for growth. The transformation programme will be delivered in close consultation with our people, partners and other stakeholders. Importantly, as we are implementing these plans over several years, our current students will be unaffected. I am looking forward to working with communities across Scotland to deliver a new rural university of which everyone can be proud.”

SRUC hopes that the new university will be a magnet for delivering educational excellence, a global leader in research and innovation, a fully integrated partner with industry and a driver for the growth strategy for Scotland’s rural economy.

You can find out more on the SRUC website.