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Scots university to axe up to 100 jobs amid £14m cuts

Heriot-Watt University says 100 staff to be made redundant due to number of factors.

By STV News

Published 04 Mar 2017.

A Scottish university is set to axe around 100 jobs amid cuts of £14m.

Heriot-Watt University says the move is a "direct result of a number of factors" including a shortfall in overseas fee-paying students and the "Brexit-effect" creating uncertainty affecting postgraduate uptake.

A savings target of six per cent of income has been set, totalling approximately £14m, and as a result the university will open an enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme alongside other savings.

Other factors cited for the cuts are the UK Government's immigration policies and messaging, a year-on-year reduction funding from the Scottish Funding Council and a decline in the success rates in EU research grants, according to Heriot-Watt

The university's executive team has also opted not to take any pay rises or bonuses this year and will now work closely with trade unions to achieve the savings needed through the voluntary scheme.

Professor Richard Williams, principal of Heriot-Watt University said: "The need to change our financial forecasts are as a result of a number of factors - both at home and abroad - coming together this year.

"We are immensely proud that for the last 15 years we have always worked within a financial surplus but this year we need to re-adjust our financial forecasts, and that will require savings to be made.

"Heriot-Watt University is distinctive by being a global university. The major downturn in the oil and gas sector has had an impact on us, and on some of our activities.

"But we are focused on working across our five campuses in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia to maximise our opportunities in each of our distinct locations.

"The strategic development of the University will continue to ensure delivery of key plans that are already in place that support our distinctly global offer, including investment in new student facilities, enterprise and research infrastructure."

He added: "Our commitment to enhancing our students experience while studying with us will see the 10 million pounds investment in improving our teaching and learning facilities progress as planned this summer in Edinburgh, and a new Student Support Centre recently opened in Dubai.

"It is evidently clear from the work of our academics that Heriot-Watt University continues to bring solutions to many of our society's problems - be that though our work on tackling homelessness, to creating the technology that could revolutionise cataract diagnosis.

"We are also immensely proud to have on our Edinburgh Campus Scotland's National Performance Centre for Sport, Oriam.

"Along with our senior team, I remain confident and ambitious for our University as we work together with colleagues to enhance our quality and core strengths across the whole Heriot-Watt community in its five locations."