Glasgow Caledonian is making a concerted push to integrate research and business activities with a raft of new professional appointments. Claire Sanders reports.
Glasgow Caledonian is after the professionals. In a full-page advertisement in this week's Times Higher it is looking for "leaders in innovation and partnership" to take forward its Caledonian Futures programme.
The programme is intended to create a new series of professional posts. In an interview with the university's internal newspaper, Gordon Dickson, vice-principal professor, said: "Caledonian Futures imagines a new type of professional post where the aim is to build relationships between university and different external sectors - for example industry, commerce, the public sector, the health sector - in a fresh and exciting way."
The idea, which grew out of a consultation exercise with staff over the future of the university, is to create opportunities for developing research, consultancies and other commercial activities. Professor Dickson said: "It is essential that we recruit the very best people, so we are looking at ways of attracting the right individuals rather than simply relying on newspaper adverts."
Glasgow Caledonian is offering a "highly competitive package" for a professor and director for a new Centre for Applied Ethics; a professor and director for a new Centre for Forensic Investigation; and a professor and director for a new Centre for Behavioural Aspects of Health and Disease.
Ian Johnston, principal, said: "We are looking for high-calibre individuals able to communicate exceptionally well with relevant stakeholders and to act as role models for academic colleagues. We realise that these individuals can command a premium in the marketplace and will come to Glasgow Caledonian only if they can be given the freedom to really make a difference."
The Centre for Applied Ethics will be unique in the UK and will "shape debate about the growing importance of ethical issues to all areas of public, private and economic life, providing research and consultancy".
The forensic centre will play a "key role in bringing about a long-term improvement in the detection and deterrence of crime and civil dispute resolution", while the health centre will seek to establish links between behaviour and health in areas such as alcohol and drug abuse, poor diet selection and lack of exercise. The centres are intended to generate income for the university, which describes itself as one of the leading vocational education providers in the country.
It is the most popular modern university in Scotland in terms of applications. The student population numbers about 12,000, which has remained stable for the past five years. The university has, however, seen a growth in part-time and overseas students. It has a strong reputation for widening access, with intake from further education colleges increasing by 5 per cent between 2002-03 and 2003-04.