Scots duo sharpen competitive edge

July 15, 2005

Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt universities have this week jointly advertised 20 posts for their pioneering research partnership in engineering and mathematics.

This is the type of innovative collaboration that Scotland hopes will help it to maintain its competitive edge internationally.

The partnership already involves about 200 researchers. It recently won a £24 million funding boost, with £10 million from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, £2 million from the Office of Science and Technology and the rest from the universities.

The two institutions will shortly advertise specific posts. First, they want to alert the international research community to the project. The partnership aims to appoint eight chairs, three readers and nine lecturers, with five senior and five junior posts in each university. Both universities will be on the appointments panel, but staff will be appointed by one institution while holding an honorary post at the other.

Dorothy Welch, registrar for Edinburgh's College of Science and Engineering, said: "The two institutions are complementary. We hope this is an attraction for applicants, that there is expertise not just in one institution."

Dr Welch said the partnership was expected to result in joint submissions to the research assessment exercise, although it was not certain whether this would be in place for the 2008 RAE.

A planned partnership graduate school will award joint degrees.

Postgraduates will register at one university but will have full access to the facilities of both.

Denis Hall, deputy principal for research at Heriot-Watt, said the partnership would be "a magnet for international funding and provide a world-class education to the cream of postgraduate talent".

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