Aberdeen University has launched an ambitious fund-raising campaign to bring in Pounds 150 million in ten years.
The "Sixth Century Campaign" has already won pledges of some Pounds 12 million towards its first target of Pounds 40 million by the year 2001.
The university's principal, C. Duncan Rice, pledged to raise a nine-figure sum when he returned to Aberdeen from the United States two years ago.
He warned this week that universities had to fend for themselves in today's competitive financial climate, given the drop in government funding.
Professor Rice said he advocated "a hybrid model where we get all we can from the taxpayer through government, but secure the funds to ratchet up our international competitive-ness through help from industry and private individuals."
The money raised would allow Aberdeen to support a wide range of developments including medical research, oil and gas, food and nutrition, the arts and humanities, and regional and environmental issues, he said.
"In this new Scotland, we at Aberdeen can either choose to remain a decent regional player or reach out from this great north-eastern province and become a major international player. If we are committed to serving the people of Scotland, we have no alternative but to choose the latter."
Professor Rice said the task needed the help of "every member of the university family". The university is returning to historic funding models, dating to before full state funding was introduced after 1945. It was founded on the philanthropy of the region's citizens, business people and graduates from around the world.