Smith Invites Scotland's Newest University to Brussels

02 February 2011

Alyn Smith SNP MEP, has today welcomed the news that UHI has been awarded full university status and has invited the Principle, Mr James Fraser, to visit Brussels to present the work of UHI to the European Parliament's Education and Culture Committee, of which Smith is a substitute member.

In September 2010, Smith submitted a response to the Scottish Government consultation on the future status of the institution. The higher education institution is the only one in the Highlands and Islands providing university-level education through a unique partnership of colleges, research and learning centres, with Smith praising, in particular, the pioneering use of IT in teaching delivery as a model for other institutions across the EU.

The Highlands and Islands is now home to Scotland's 15th university and is unique in serving a huge area of Scotland from Shetland to Kintyre.
Smith said:
"This is great news and I am delighted that a region as big and as unique as the Highlands and Islands now has its very own university. The UHI Millennium Institute has proved to be an incredibly successful higher education institution and gaining the title of 'University' will now aid its progression immensely. Scotland has world-class education institutions, and with UHI already leading the field in the use of modern techniques to deliver teaching, I have no doubt the University of the Highlands and Islands will be a leading player in European circles too.

"Not only will a University of the Highlands and Islands be a boost for local economies, its new status also underlines its importance in the lives of the 8,000 students plus who already study on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or who undertake postgraduate research with UHI. In such a vast area, the access to a university as well as the innovative teaching techniques which allow for remote learning is invaluable.

"I would be delighted to welcome Mr Fraser and colleagues to Brussels to showcase their work to the European Parliament's Education and Culture Committee. Their road to university status and their approaches and methods to teaching are ones that many of my colleagues would no doubt find interesting and useful."