Heriot-Watt to shed 50 staff and hire 200 more

March 13, 2008

Heriot-Watt University has announced plans to create 200 new academic posts over the next ten years as part of its restructuring.

But it also confirmed that it intends to make about 50 redundancies across six schools and two institutes to fund the plans.

Redundancies are being sought on a voluntary basis, but this approach will be reassessed if volunteers are not forthcoming.

The moves are part of a strategy review that aims to "reshape" the university for the future, increasing its total number of academics by 50 per cent over the next decade, adding 20 new posts a year.

In a statement, Heriot-Watt said: "To achieve that ambition, we need to release resources to reinvest in areas of potential growth."

The university said it would redistribute its budget after the review identified areas that were uncompetitive in terms of their academic profile and others that were unsustainable. "(The review) also identified activities that were making a financial contribution and those that were not," Heriot-Watt said.

Jobs are to be cut at the Institute of Petroleum Engineering, the Edinburgh Business School, the School of Management and Languages, the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the School of Textiles and Design, the School of Life Sciences, the School of Mathematical and Computer Science and the School of the Built Environment.

The university said that it had identified five key strategic interdisciplinary themes around which it intended to build its future. These are: energy; infrastructure; modelling and risk; health and the interfaces of the biological and physical sciences and engineering; and environment and climate change.

David Bleiman, assistant general secretary of the University and College Union Scotland, said: "We will always insist that any restructuring involves maximum consultation and is done on a completely voluntary basis. We are in negotiation with the university."

john.gill@tsleducation.com.

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