Human eco centre under threat

May 19, 1995

Edinburgh University's unique centre for human ecology has launched an urgent appeal for Pounds 250,000 after discovering that it faces closure in September.

The 23-year-old centre, which straddles a range of disciplines including agriculture, theology, education, and accountancy, and claims a reputation for "responsible radicalism," has suffered through its cross-faculty remit.

Colin Whittemore, convener of its advisory committee, said all faculty groups were facing recurrent economies because of the Government's funding cuts, and no single group could make CHE a priority since this would mean axing mainstream work.

"In the light of these financial restraints, something had to give, and CHE was one of the casualties,'' he said.

But CHE argues that it attracts Pounds 77,000 a year through student fees and research grants, and only costs the university around Pounds 40,000 for salaries. Centre director Ulrich Loening and MSc course director Alastair McIntosh have only part-time posts.

The centre this week appealed for an external benefaction of Pounds 45,000 per year for five years, which it believes would create an overwhelming case for continued support from the university.

Dr Loening said there had been no advance warning of the impending closure before the university's central management group published its plans for next year. "I think it's shabby treatment of my staff," he said.

A university spokesman said the MSc course would continue next year, and that the university remained committed to environmentally related activities.

Dr Loening said that CHE was a catalyst allowing people in different disciplines to step outside their departments. He acknowledged that it did not raise substantial research funds.

"A university should be at the forefront of questioning the current beliefs and dogmas that society calls progress," he said.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Home secretary says government will support 'best' universities

Man handing microphone to audience member

Academic attainment of disadvantaged students can be improved if they can decide how they are assessed, study claims

Woman drinking tea from saucer

Plugging a multibillion-pound deficit exacerbated by June’s poll result may require ‘drastic measures’, analysts have warned

Italy's gold medallist

New measures to ensure universities are ‘not penalised’ for taking poorer students also outlined for next stage of TEF

Classroom, school

Higher education institutions can and should do more to influence education at a secondary school level, says Edward Peck