Top marks for Heriot-Watt’s local cash boost

HERIOT-Watt University’s campus in the Borders generates almost £8million for the local economy, as well as supporting more than 200 jobs.

The figures are contained in a new report published this week, which also shows its graduates will earn on average 14 per cent more over their lifetimes than graduates of other UK higher education institutions, thanks to their skills being highly sought after.

Recently ranked Scottish University of the Year 2012/13 and in the top 10 UK universities for graduate employment at a national level, Heriot-Watt is shown to generate £8 for the Scottish economy for every £1 of core funding.

The independent report on the university’s economic impact was conducted by BiGGAR Economics, covering impacts across campuses at Edinburgh and Orkney, as well as the Borders.

And the report makes it clear that, while only three per cent of the impact of the university is concentrated in the Borders, this impact has a disproportionate effect due to the relatively small size of the local economy.

Heriot-Watt has also made significant capital investment in its Borders campus over the past two years, spending £12million on replacing on-campus student accommodation with a new, purpose built student village, completed in October.

In 2011/12 there were almost 700 students studying at the Borders campus, virtually all of whom were full-time under-graduates.

Heriot-Watt principal, Professor Steve Chapman, said the figures were great news for both the university and the Scottish economy.

“I’m very proud our contribution is so significant and that we can show lasting benefits in increased earnings for graduates, jobs for businesses and growing international exports,” he said.

“We have ambitious plans for the future and I look forward to continuing to strengthen our capacity in supporting business, industry and the wider economy.”

The economic impact study was published at the same time as the university’s strategic plan for 2013 to 2018, which outlines an ambitious raft of measures to build on its achievements.

This week, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia was officially opened by British High Commissioner, Simon Featherstone CMG, at a ceremony at its new premises at Menara PjH, the headquarters of Putrajaya Holdings.

Malaysia is Heriot-Watt’s fifth campus, after the three campuses in Scotland and one in Dubai.

The first group of students will be studying the university’s internationally-renowned Edinburgh Business School MBA programme, with postgraduate degree programmes in energy, renewable energy, construction project management, quantity surveying, petroleum engineering, business psychology and international business management, planned from September 2013.