Principal's introduction

Introduction to the Strategic Plan 2016 by the University's Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea.

The University of Edinburgh is making a positive and significant contribution to the world. We are proud to be a truly global university firmly rooted in Scotland’s capital city. Our mission to discover, develop and share knowledge is at the heart of what we do.

Since I took up the post of Principal and Vice-Chancellor in 2002 we have undergone a significant period of internationalisation. We have also greatly expanded our breadth and depth of expertise. The integration of the Edinburgh College of Art, the Roslin Institute and the Human Genetics Unit into the University has brought important new opportunities.

We have fostered the development of a culture of strong interdisciplinary collaboration across the University. We have also made great strides in attracting the most talented students and staff from around the world. Our commitment to digital education, through distance and e-learning programmes and innovative developments such as Massive Open Online Courses, has made us much more accessible. It has enabled a vibrant global audience numbered in millions to participate in our intellectual community. Improving access has also had a significant local impact – the single institution that we now accept the most students from is Edinburgh College.

There has been much to celebrate, including the Nobel Prize-winning achievements of Peter Higgs, the recent launch of Li-Fi technology and our outstanding record on company formation. We are very ambitious and will always strive for more.

The outcome of the EU referendum is a great challenge for us. We are developing a new framework for continued stability by focussing even more strongly on online education and international partnerships. Our latest Strategic Plan aims to capture this. We recognise the scale and scope of current opportunities and remain positive and optimistic. High-quality growth of teaching and research combined with enhancement of the student experience are my top two personal priorities as I commence my last 12 months of service at the University of Edinburgh.

I hope that this limpid document will convey to all my colleagues our current aims and objectives. It also presents an exciting strategy for continuing to make a difference locally, nationally and globally.