Our priorities

Creating a competitive region - universities

The region benefits from the presence of six higher education institutions – the universities of the Highlands and Islands, Aberdeen, Heriot-Watt and Stirling, the Glasgow School of Art and Scotland’s Rural College.

Over the last 10 years, development of academic research has been a priority for HIE. For the knowledge based sectors of the regional economy such as life sciences, energy and digital to grow, the region needs to ensure the conditions that support innovation are in place.

HIE will work to improve the extent to which businesses and sectors interact with universities, leading to improved, productive relationships that stimulate knowledge exchange, innovation, product development and new business opportunities. Outcomes from this work will directly connect to the realisation of benefits from infrastructure investments across the region, including Inverness Campus and the European Marine Science Park in Argyll. In addition to accelerating business growth and innovation, this work will exploit the emerging potential from investments in broadband connectivity.

A central component of this work will be our engagement with the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), an integral part of the region’s academic, teaching and research infrastructure. We will work closely with UHI to align investment with the growth opportunities that exist across the region including as part of promoting the Highlands and Islands as a science region.

We will also work with all of Scotland’s universities to ensure the expertise required to develop regional opportunities is available, as is evident in our Collaborative Campus work in life sciences, and by utilising the network of Scottish Innovation Centres through which business and academic interactions can be fostered.

The Creative Futures Partnership is our transformation partnership with the Glasgow School of Art. Investment of £10m over the next five years will secure a legacy of creative academic capability in our region and stimulate economic growth.

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