The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 26 January 2012

University of the West of Scotland and Scottish Agricultural College open £81 million Ayr Campus

University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) are officially launching their new £81 million Ayr Campus at a ceremony on Friday 27 January 2012.


Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, together with Lord Jamie Lindsay, Chairman of the SAC Board, and Lord Robert Smith, Chancellor of UWS, will perform the formal launch.

The new 18,000m2 campus, which was developed by UWS in partnership with Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), is situated on the Craigie Estate, next to the River Ayr.

The new campus, part of University of the West of Scotland’s multi-campus £200million development programme, creates a truly innovative learning environment for students.

Developed in consultation with Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the new Campus, which was built by Lend Lease, provides Ayrshire with one of the UK’s most modern, environmentally friendly and sustainable Higher Education learning environments.

The new building is designed to the highest environmental rating – BREEAM Excellent (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) – adopting sustainable strategies within it design and operation.

Professor Seamus McDaid, Principal and Vice Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said: “We are delighted to officially launch our new £81 million Ayr Campus which is a landmark development for Scottish higher education and provides our students with an inspirational learning environment.”

Professor Bill McKelvey, Principal of SAC, said: “We are very proud of the new campus, which is the result of a strong partnership between SAC and UWS. By joining forces, the institutions have created a campus that brings great benefits and opportunities for the students who study here, to our staff, to the wider community and to the two institutions as a whole. SAC looks forward to the additional opportunities for collaboration with UWS that this campus opens up. There are exciting opportunities ahead for developing the curriculum and for developing and promoting the campus as a key resource for all of the communities of the West of Scotland.”

Cabinet Secretary for Education Michael Russell said: “Both the college and the university have had a long and fruitful relationship with the town of Ayr and this new development will see their presence greatly enhanced through even closer collaboration.

“This kind of joining up, which will have benefits for both institutions and their students, is precisely the kind of partnership we want to see as we reform Post-16 education in Scotland. And as someone brought up in the neighbouring town of Troon, it is a particular pleasure to see such innovation so close to my former home!”

Mark Batho, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “I’m delighted that SFC’s funding has enabled both institutions to come together in this collaborative approach to provide new educational opportunities in the West of Scotland. There is overwhelming evidence that new buildings lead to better learning. This wonderful new campus now gives staff and students from both institutions the opportunity to demonstrate that.”

The £81 million Ayr Campus development includes new student residences, situated adjacent to the Campus.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Scottish Government convenes new Council of Economic Advisers

A group of expert economic advisers to the Scottish Government has held its first meeting of the new Parliamentary session.



The first meeting of the new Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) – which includes two Nobel Laureates – focused on the Scottish Government’s priorities of jobs and recovery, internationalisation and economic levers during a six-hour session in Edinburgh.


Eight members of the council joined First Minister Alex Salmond and Finance Secretary John Swinney at Bute House. They were joined via teleconference from New York by Nobel Laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who will also attend a special session of the CEA in Aberdeen next month.

Crawford Beveridge has been appointed to the post of CEA chair.

Mr Salmond said: “The Council of Economic Advisers includes some of the world’s foremost economists, academics and business people – including two Nobel Prize winners.

“They are giving their expertise free of charge to help us develop ways to grow the Scottish economy in the context of tough economic times across the UK and overseas.

“Next week the Scottish Government will publish our consultation on holding an independence referendum, which we will stage in autumn 2014. With independence we will gain the full economic powers required to stimulate the economy on Scotland’s terms.

“But until then we will keep working day and night on job creation and wider economic growth. The Scottish Government is making progress by investing in infrastructure now to stimulate growth and unlock a virtuous cycle of investment, growth, jobs and taxation revenue.

“That approach has helped Scotland weather a recession that was shorter and less sharp than elsewhere in the UK. The advice and experience of the CEA helps enormously to progress these priorities for Scotland.

“Our discussions today will focus on helping grow our economy, encourage job creation and seizing the opportunities available to Scotland internationally. These will continue to be our focus as we move forward.”

Advice from the Council of Economic Advisers has already resulted in a positive impact for Scotland’s recovery – for example, contributing to the Scottish Government’s Economic Recovery Plan and endorsing the government’s approach to capital expenditure as a stimulus for economic growth, which helped Scotland to a recession that was shorter and shallower than in the rest of the UK.

Mr Beveridge said: “The Council of Economic Advisers brings together academics, economists and entrepreneurs to advise the Scottish Government on how to place Scotland among the world’s most competitive economies.

“Today we have discussed the country’s top three priorities as identified by the First Minister – jobs and recovery, internationalisation and economic levers.

“In the coming days the Scottish Government will publish its consultation on holding an independence referendum in autumn 2014, but we are in complete agreement with the First Minister that work goes on day and night until then on these economic priorities.

“My colleagues and I on the CEA look forward to working with the Scottish Government in the coming weeks and months to help grow the economy and give Scotland the best possible competitive edge internationally.”