Capital injections as Napier aims to exploit global market

Rebrand and £100 million refurbishment look to attract overseas students, writes Hannah Fearn

March 5, 2009

Napier University officially changed its name to Edinburgh Napier University last week, and confirmed its intention to invest £100 million in its campus. Both initiatives are part of its plans to expand further into the lucrative international student market.

The rebranding is designed to advertise the institution's location in the Scottish capital and enhance its appeal to overseas students, part of what it calls an "ambitious strategy for growth and change".

Joan Stringer, principal of Edinburgh Napier, said the name change marked a "significant investment" in the university's future.

The number of international students studying at the institution grew by more than 15 per cent in the academic year 2007-08. It has the highest number of non-UK students of all Scotland's post-1992 universities, and more students from France and India than any other Scottish institution.

Edinburgh Napier already has links with China, Hong Kong and India, offering programmes allowing students to begin their studies in their home country before completing them in the Scottish capital.

It recently appointed a new director for India, Ashwini Kumar, and the university's first Indian office will open in Hyderabad later this year.

Professor Stringer said: "We have links in other parts of the world on a smaller scale, and we will be looking at how and whether we should expand (them)."

There is a cap on the number of domestic undergraduates Edinburgh Napier can accept, in common with all Scottish universities, hence its focus on the international market.

"Our growth needs to be at the postgraduate level or attracting students from overseas," Professor Stringer said.

"We're trying to create a real international feel to the university, one that's not just about attracting numbers. This is about providing a genuinely multicultural experience for students both from Scotland and overseas."

Of the £100 million estates budget earmarked for Edinburgh Napier's facilities, £60 million will be spent on the total refurbishment of its Sighthill campus, which will house a new faculty of health.

A joint sports facility will be built with Stevenson College, a further education institution. The university has developed close links with Stevenson, including a widening-participation programme.

hannah.fearn@tsleducation.com.

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