Saatchi Creative Brief Template - DOC

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          PLAN 2005 – 2006


University Ambition                                                        1

Underlying Principles                                                      1

University Objectives                                                      3

University Strategies and Targets                                          5

Analysis of the University‟s Social, Economic and Political Environment   30
                                    ABERDEEN’S AMBITION

                                   To be a world-class university.


We shall be excellent in delivering teaching and enabling learning; in promoting research and
scholarship; in undertaking research and, where appropriate, commercialising it; and in governance
and management. The University will be accessible and inclusive.

Our activities will be guided by seven underlying principles.


1.    Improving continuously the quality of our teaching and learning, research, governance,
      leadership and management.

2.    Realising the potential of our students and staff.

3.    Increasing the European and international dimensions of our activities.

4.    Contributing towards the creation of democratic societies which value their cultural legacies,
      and promote social inclusiveness and openness.

5.    Encouraging the development of philanthropy to build a stronger environment for excellence in
      learning, teaching and research.

6.    Supporting and promoting a sustainable, safe, secure and aesthetically pleasing environment.

7.    Enhancing our role as a regional, national and international centre for culture, science,
      technology and medicine.


Quality People

To attract, develop and retain outstanding staff and students.

Quality Research

To be an international, research-led university, recognised for its distinctive, high quality centres of

Quality Learning

To enhance the quality and value of the student learning experience within a research environment.

Quality Governance and Management

To achieve continuous improvement in governance, management and administration.


To sustain and enhance collaborative networks within Scotland, the UK, Europe and internationally.

Effective Resourcing

To sustain and enhance the financial base.

Infrastructure and Environment

To maintain and improve the condition, use, safety, security, amenity and aesthetic qualities of the
University‟s physical estate and to enhance the provision and management of information and
electronic resources.

Access and Participation

To increase opportunity and improve participation in higher education by students from under-
represented groups.

Community Relations

To serve regional, national and international communities by enhancing the quality of life, cultural
strength and intellectual capital.

International Positioning

To be recognised internationally as a university of high quality and distinction.


1     Quality People


1.1   To attract, develop and retain outstanding staff and students.


1.2   We shall provide an inclusive environment that encourages commitment to, and participation in,
      the delivery of key institutional goals and strategies.

1.3   We shall invest in leadership and development activities with structured programmes of
      development for senior executives, Heads of School and middle managers.

1.4   We shall promote professional development for all staff and invest in effective programmes of
      staff appraisal.

1.5   We shall review promotions policies to ensure that teaching and student support activities are
      given appropriate recognition.

1.6   We shall strengthen the staffing profile by implementing a programme of planned and targeted
      investment in key areas.

1.7   We shall undertake further reorganisation of our staffing complement (following the
      establishment of three academic Colleges in 2003/04) to bring about an allocation of resource
      that reflects the University‟s academic priorities.

1.8   We shall work in partnership with our Trade Union colleagues, whose contribution we greatly
      value, to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the Framework Agreement for the
      Modernisation of Pay Structures.

1.9   We shall increase the quality and broaden the range of student applications.

1.10 We shall provide high quality and effective services that address our students‟ physical,
     psychological, social and professional needs, so as to optimise their University experience and
     enable them to realise their full potential.

1.11 We shall continue to make significant progress in addressing our Equality and Diversity agenda
     in an integrated way. To this end, we shall develop and implement an Equality and Diversity
     strategy in consultation with key stakeholders. As part of this strategy, we shall regularly
     review our Race Equality Policy and Action Plan and monitor their impact.

Five – Year Targets

 Recruit at least 40 new and internationally distinguished staff to chair appointments.
 Achieve at least 4 Fellowships of the Royal Society, of the British Academy or equivalent.
 Implement the national Framework Agreement, supported by a system of job evaluation, to
  ensure equal pay for work of equal value.
 Implement an Equality and Diversity strategy and set targets for increasing the diversity of
  the workforce and student body in consultation with key stakeholders.
 Continue to invest in structured programmes of leadership and management development
  with the view to introducing effective processes of succession planning.
 Achieve Investors in People status across the University.
 Reduce the working week of support staff and technical staff to 36.5 hours without incurring
  increased costs.
 Harmonise and modernise conditions of service for secretarial, technical and support staff.
 Develop further our programmes of generic and discipline-specific skills training for research
  staff and students.
 Review systems of staff appraisal to incorporate measurement of assessment of
 Increase the funding available for high quality academic appointments through the Sixth
  Century Fund-raising Campaign.
 Attract a higher percentage increase of undergraduate student applications than the overall
  increase across the Scottish sector.
 Increase the population of postgraduate research students to 1140 FTE.

Review of 2004/05

We have made significant progress on the implementation of the national Framework
Agreement. Specifically we have developed a project implementation plan and achieved the
major milestones of the plan through effective partnership working with our campus Trade
Unions. We have implemented a new policy on the employment of fixed-term staff, undertaken
an institutional review of core-funded fixed-term contracts and reduced our reliance on fixed-
term contracts by over 5%. We have implemented the recommendations of an external review
of technical staffing.

We have achieved IiP status in four additional areas and have completed our review of promotion
procedures to ensure teaching and student support activities receive appropriate recognition. We
have worked collaboratively with colleagues from the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow
and St Andrews and NHS colleagues across Scotland on the successful implementation of the new
Clinical Consultant Contract.

We have recruited a further twenty-five new Professors and have continued to invest heavily in
management coaching as part of our commitment to enhance institutional management and

We have revised our Race Equality Action Plan which now includes actions relating to training,
awareness-raising, communication and monitoring. A pilot Race Equality Impact Assessment in the
Centre for Lifelong Learning was begun. Recent guidance, issued by bodies such as the Equality
Challenge Unit, on communication and consultation is currently being considered.

We have completed a comprehensive review of home/EU undergraduate student recruitment.
This has enabled us to evaluate every facet from the handling of enquiries and marketing
materials to the admissions process. The results show that our internal procedures are robust,
although there are a range of external concerns which include the demographic downturn in
Scotland, the national decline in applications to the sciences, the introduction of top-up fees in
England and the reaction of the Scottish Executive to that. The latter is a particular concern
and will require close monitoring.

We have established a Postgraduate Strategy Advisory Group to develop policy in respect of
the University‟s postgraduate student population, including recruitment, induction and training.
We invested in additional staffing in postgraduate marketing and recruitment, we developed a

new prospectus and marketing materials, we introduced a number of new postgraduate
programmes and we undertook evaluation surveys. Arrangements for discipline-specific and
generic skills training have been developed across the University in line with the requirements
of the Research Councils. Graduate Schools have been established in two of the three
Colleges, to provide focal points for postgraduate recruitment, marketing, target-setting,
monitoring and training. We raised levels of recruitment of postgraduate students across a
number of areas and also brought in a number of new PhD scholarships, won from sources
such as the AHRB, MRC capacity building studentships and ORS awards. Our College of
Physical Sciences has been awarded c £1.7m for a Collaborative Training Account from the
EPSRC, the scheme that links postgraduate training programmes with the workplace.

Targets for 2005/06

   Achieve full implementation of the Framework Agreement for the modernisation of pay structures.
   Continue the review of the pensions provision for the University‟s secretarial, technical and
    support staff.
   Implement policy in relation to the employment of externally funded fixed-term staff.
   Continue with the building block strategy for the achievement of IiP status.
   Implement further effective programmes of leadership and management development.
   Roll out a web-based online staff recruitment system for all positions throughout the University.
   Introduce Child Tax Vouchers for working parents.
   Assess the policy requirements of the pending UK Age Discrimination legislation.
   Undertake staff appraisal within Colleges and across the University Office.
 Implement policies in relation to the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act.
 Participate in the pilot of the Race Equality Audit Toolkit, produced by Universities Scotland.
 Complete two pilot Equality Impact Assessments in the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the
  Human Resources Section and develop plans to roll out across all relevant areas of the
 Develop and implement an effective Equality and Diversity Communication and Consultation
 Implement an Equality and Diversity Code of Practice for students.
 Monitor closely the effects on undergraduate student recruitment of the introduction of “top-
  up” fees in England.
 Increase the availability of entrance bursaries by 50% to 60 in number.
 Increase UK/EU applications to undergraduate programmes (5%) through careful target-
  marketing, utilising the outcomes of the Student Recruitment Review.
 Achieve our fundable postgraduate population of UK/EU postgraduate taught students (566
 Introduce Personal Development Plans as part of career management and generic skills training
  for research students.
 Review our recruitment material to ensure that potential students make informed choices.

2     Quality Research


2.1   To be an international, research-led university, recognised for its distinctive, high quality
      centres of research.


2.2   We shall promote research excellence, rooted in our local and national environment and linked
      to international centres of excellence through strong partnerships, alliances and collaboration.
      Building on existing strengths, research activities are channelled into a number of priority areas
      which underpin our investment strategies for staff and infrastructure. Research in Medical and
      Life Sciences is focused in the following areas:             Applied Health Sciences (including
      International Health), Bone and Musculoskeletal Research, Immunity and Inflammation,
      Microbiology, Neuroscience, Cell Biology, Biological Interactions in Soil, Ecology and
      Integrative Physiology, Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Applied Psychological Science,
      and Cognitive and Social Neuroscience. Across Arts and Social Sciences, research excellence
      is found in Divinity & Religious Studies, French, Law, Property and Sociology, and there are
      emerging strengths in a number of other disciplines. Multi-disciplinary initiatives are also
      increasingly significant loci of intellectual energy. These include the flagship Research Institute
      of Irish and Scottish Studies, Anthropology of the North, the new Centre for Modern Thought,
      and the Scottish Teachers for a New Era project. We are also developing research synergies
      in the area of conflict resolution and reconciliation. Within Physical Sciences, research is
      focused in Pure Mathematics, Computing Science, General Engineering and Geosciences.

2.3   We shall continue discussions with local Scottish Agriculture and Biological Research Institutes
      (SABRIs), to progress strategic alliances and partnerships. These are aimed at producing local
      critical mass in recognised areas of excellence, capitalising on our mutual strengths in
      Biological, Medical, Social and Physical Sciences. We shall develop the tri-partite research
      collaboration comprising the University of Aberdeen, the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute
      and the Natural Environment Research Council, within the Aberdeen Centre for Environmental
      Sustainability (ACES). ACES brings together expertise in land use, ecology and socio-
      economics into interdisciplinary teams to resolve conflicting demands on the environment in a
      sustainable way. We shall seek to increase collaborations through research pooling (see also
      Objective 5: Collaboration).

2.4   We shall increase research with applied outcomes and grow third-stream income from
      licensing, patents, company spin-outs, consultancy and CPD activities, whilst engaging with the
      SME community to aid economic development. We shall work with the Intermediary
      Technology Institutes, which we regard as an innovative contribution to the development of a
      Smart Successful Scotland, to develop funded projects.

2.5   We shall increase our knowledge transfer activities and strive to enhance our proportion of the
      SHEFC Grant, as we did in 2004-05. We shall build on our continuing success through the
      Proof of Concept scheme and shall take full advantage of programmes for follow-on funding
      from the research councils and charitable trusts as well as Department of Trade and Industry
      schemes. We shall contribute to the consultation process for replacement schemes.

2.6   We shall provide excellent training in research for postgraduate students and other research
      staff and shall continue to develop our training programmes.

2.7   We shall adopt best practice in terms of research governance and other legislative
      requirements and shall monitor research performance against benchmarks of leading

      Five – Year Targets

       To be among the top twenty UK research-led universities in selected areas of excellence, as
        measured by the Research Assessment Exercise.

 To be among the top 20 UK research-led universities in terms of Funding Council and peer-
  reviewed research grant and contract income.
 Target and reward research excellence and disinvest or realign resources from areas with
  less competitive advantage.
 Determine and implement a sustainable, balanced portfolio of research activities and
  funding sources.
 Increase the percentage of income from Research Councils to 25%, as a proportion of the
  overall level of external research income.
 Double income from knowledge transfer activities, broadening this to include creative and
  cultural activities and public engagement in science.
 Contribute to local economic development through spin-out activity and licences.
 Capitalise on opportunities presented by research pooling and other appropriate forms of

Review of 2004/05

Through our restructuring programme we made a number of significant senior appointments
which will greatly enhance the development of our research activities. As Colleges have
developed, new opportunities for both inter- and cross-College collaboration have been
explored. To aid research planning we have rolled out access to our central Research Grants
and Contracts database to enable individual grant holders and managers to view applications
and awards and monitor expenditure. As part of our ongoing preparations for RAE2008 we
conducted an initial review of publications and are planning for the “calibration” of outputs by
external assessors across the majority of research areas for completion by September 2005.
We have created a University-wide publications database. We have moved to establish a core
of research strength within the School of Education through key appointments and the fostering
of a higher profile for research with a clear focus on research outputs.

We achieved significant success in winning research council funding, securing external funding
to support research or capital projects and chair appointments and have been awarded a
number of prestigious senior research fellowships and research leave awards. Examples
include - £1.2M from the Department of Trade and Industry for fuel-cell research; £1.335M for
Phase 2 funding for our AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies; a £4.1M research and
development contract with TauRx to support research in Alzheimer‟s disease; and the two
winning projects in the International Collaborative Research Programme for Drug Discovery,
funded by the Korean Health Industry Development Institute. We are also the project manager
for the £4.4M Genetic Health Initiative. We were awarded £750K from the Wolfson Foundation
towards the costs of the new Institute of Applied Health Sciences building. We have also won
awards of independent research fellowships to include an ESRC Professorial Fellowship, MRC
New Investigator Awards and DTI/OST Academic Fellowships.

We continued our success in the Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept scheme with four
projects funded in Round 6, receiving approximately £800K. We ran a series of “Doing
Business” events to showcase our research expertise and to facilitate communication and
knowledge exchange between academia and industry, covering topics such as Knowledge
Transfer Partnerships, Renewables, Health and Safety, and Life Science Investment.

A number of our spin-out companies achieved great success. Brinker Technology, for
example, successfully completed its first contract, utilising its pipeline-sealing technology.
TauRx began second-stage clinical trials for a treatment for Alzheimer‟s. Haptogen completed
its first major licensing deal and is about to enter a co-development partnership on its
therapeutic programme. EiRx Therapeutics plc has acquired a controlling shareholding in
Auvation, our spin-out, which is developing innovative technologies for the diagnosis and
treatment of cancer. We also achieved 17 new disclosures, 5 new patents, 3 licences and 2
new company formations.

We continued our collaboration with the UHI Millennium Institute and this will bring part-funding
for our Centre for Rural Health as well as ten studentships in the area of nuclear
decommissioning and environmental remediation.

Targets for 2005/06

 Achieve 5% growth rate in research income and £10M in awards from research councils.
 Increase the University‟s return through the knowledge transfer grant (KTG) by 25%, by
  maintaining a balanced portfolio of activities that contribute to the KTG metrics.
 Undertake full TRAC (Transparent Approach to Costing) time allocation data collection for
  the College of Arts and Social Sciences.
 Develop and adopt a code of practice to take account of equal opportunities legislation with
  respect to the inclusion of staff for submission to the RAE 2008.
 Repeat an internal review exercise for RAE planning in 2006.
 Continue to develop the generic skills programmes for postgraduate students in the light of
 Establish a Graduate School in the College of Arts and Social Sciences.
 Be the lead institution in two successful Strategic Research Development Grant
 Embed within our planning framework Strategic Research Development Grant and other
  collaborative projects, where we are lead or partner to ensure that they are being managed
  in accordance with the principles of best practice, value for money and sustainability.

3     Quality Learning


3.1   To enhance the quality and value of the student learning experience within a research


3.2   We shall take forward the outcomes of the review of our teaching and learning strategy in order
      to address the challenge of maintaining standards, enhancing quality and meeting student
      needs and expectations at the same time as improving research performance.

3.3   We shall take forward any issues arising from the Enhancement-Led Institutional Review
      (ELIR) on the effectiveness of our arrangements for assuring the quality of our educational
      provision and the standards of our academic awards, and for managing the enhancement of
      our teaching and learning.

3.4   We shall monitor and, as necessary, adjust our Quality Enhancement Strategy to deliver
      continuous improvement of quality. We shall ensure that there exists at all levels a systematic
      awareness of our students' learning experience and performance and of the external reference
      points that underpin academic standards, and that this awareness informs a deliberate,
      enhancement-led process of reflection, planning, implementation and evaluation.

3.5   We shall identify and share best practice in teaching and learning across the institution, actively
      seeking feedback from students on their educational experience and highlighting how student
      feedback has led to improvements in teaching and learning.

3.6   We shall promote equality of opportunity, as well as awareness of, and sensitivity to, cultural
      diversity amongst both staff and students. We shall make our programmes more accessible by
      developing flexible structures and modes of study.

3.7   We shall provide and promote professional development for staff at all levels of experience,
      and ensure that excellence in teaching and learning is publicly recognised and rewarded as a
      visible expression of our belief in the value to students of exposure to scholarship through
      research-led teaching.

3.8   We shall increase the European dimensions of our activities, including engagement with the
      Bologna Process.

3.9   We shall undertake an institution-wide review of our strategy for developing student C&IT skills,
      ensuring that every graduate acquires an appropriate level of competence. We shall also
      consolidate our awareness programme for academic staff of the benefits of learning
      technologies and provide staff with the skills required for C&IT in their teaching.

3.10 We shall take forward the outcomes of our review of the Colleges‟ requirements for academic
     support and the extent to which these are effectively met through the Directorate of Information
     Systems and Services, the Educational & Staff Development Unit, and the Academic Learning
     & Study Unit, in the context of academic restructuring and reorganisation.

3.11 We shall complete the final phase of our Teachability Project within our commitment to
     improving access and provision for disabled students.

3.12 We shall implement an institutional employability strategy that incorporates provision for
     personal development planning and takes account of the Scottish Funding Councils‟ Learning to
     Work report.

Five – Year Targets

 Develop and implement a revised teaching and learning strategy, designed to ensure that
  the University achieves excellence in both teaching and research.
 Implement revised procedures for Internal Teaching Review and undertake reviews across
  all subject areas.
 Implement systematic procedures to identify and disseminate good practice in teaching,
  learning and assessment.
 Implement a student C&IT strategy that will allow all students to obtain an equivalent of the
  European Computer Driving Licence by the time they graduate.
 Implement development policy to ensure that all teaching staff are professionally competent,
  not only in their discipline but also in teaching skills.
 Complete the roll-out of the Teachability Project across all Schools.
 Address the implications for teaching and learning of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act.
 Develop and implement an institutional strategy for increasing the European and
  international dimensions of our educational activities.

Review of 2004/05

A key development was the production of what will be a major resource for the enhancement of
our teaching and learning policies and practices: the Reflective Analysis, submitted to the
Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), for our Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) in
March and April 2005. The Analysis was finalised after wide consultation throughout the
University. The Quality Enhancement Strategy Team (QUEST), College Teaching and
Learning Committees, the Students' Association, Heads of School and the University
Committee on Teaching and Learning were all involved in its development. The draft document
was made available to the entire university community before being finalised by the Senate. It
is an analytical and self-critical review of our structures to assure and enhance the quality of the
student learning experience. Its production built on our success in raising the awareness of
teaching and learning issues following restructuring into Colleges and Schools. This has been
reinforced by the engagement of the academic community in developing our teaching and
learning strategy. We were very pleased that the QAA visiting team expressed broad
confidence in the effectiveness of the University‟s systems for maintaining quality and

The process of critical reflection ensured that two major issues would be addressed, both of
which would contribute further to raising the profile of teaching and learning: our approach to
the development of staff for their roles in teaching and learning; and our systems for
recognising and rewarding excellence in teaching.

Our targets for 2004/05 were overseen by QUEST and the vast majority were achieved. Two
of the targets will be addressed during 2005/06 as part of our processes of taking forward the
outcomes of our teaching and learning strategy and of our ELIR.

The appointment of College and School Directors of Teaching and Learning has had a major
positive impact. The College Directors and their colleagues are driving improvements in
teaching and learning practices. At institutional level, the Vice-Principal (Learning and
Teaching) and the College Directors and QUEST, ensure that good practice, identified within a
particular College, is highlighted and considered for dissemination throughout the University.

Targets for 2005/06

 Take forward the outcomes of the review and revision of the University‟s teaching and
  learning strategy.
 Take forward issues arising from our Enhancement-Led Institutional Review report.
 Undertake Internal Teaching Reviews of the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Biological
  Sciences, Engineering and Education.

 Implement the outcomes of the review of institutional policy in relation to staff development
  for teaching and learning, and in relation to recognition and reward for excellence in
 Complete and implement the outcomes of reviews in regard to: obtaining student and
  graduate feedback; the central resources available to support teaching and learning and
  their management; arrangements for monitoring students at risk; external examining; and
  placement learning.
 Complete and implement institutional employability strategy, and complete development of
  policy in relation to Personal Development Planning, for introduction in 2006-07.
 Complete and implement the outcomes of review of support for postgraduate research
  students in the light of the revised QAA Code of Practice and the Roberts Report.
 Undertake reviews of our strategies for: developing student C&IT skills; the Common
  Assessment Scale; and the teaching timetable.
 Continue our engagement with the national Quality Enhancement Themes.
 Develop further our European Diploma Supplement and continue to work with Universities
  Scotland and the QAA (Scottish Office) to engage with the Bologna Process.
 Complete the Teachability project, develop our capacity to conduct in-house disability needs
  assessments and improve our support for students with dyslexia.

4     Quality Governance and Management


4.1   To achieve continuous improvement in governance, management and administration.


4.2   We shall support and enhance academic excellence by upholding the highest standards of
      financial, resource and risk management, probity and accountability, by complying proactively
      with statutory and regulatory requirements, and by ensuring effective, transparent and
      accountable governance in line with best practice.

4.3   We shall encourage managers to benchmark against best practice, both national and
      international, systematically to obtain and use client feedback and to ensure that appropriate
      performance appraisal is undertaken in relation to management functions at all levels. In
      particular, we shall achieve Investors in People status across the University (see also Objective
      1: Quality People).

4.4   We shall achieve successive annual improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of Central
      Services, including the Administration, Library and IT functions.

4.5   We shall develop and maintain systems of strategic and operational planning which are
      performance-led and linked to an annual planning and budget cycle that reflects the
      University‟s, the region‟s, and the nation‟s, priorities for higher education and research. We
      shall support the pursuit of excellence in teaching and research; direct resources towards areas
      of institutional priority and demonstrably high or improving performance; and provide deficit
      funding, combined with rigorous performance monitoring, where under-performance or
      structural deficit occurs in areas of high strategic priority.

4.6   We shall implement further disaster recovery measures for C&IT infrastructure and corporate
      systems and shall continue business continuity developments throughout the University.

4.7   We shall continue to ensure that the University behaves ethically, responsibly and with respect
      for the environment and society at large (see also Objective 7:             Infrastructure and

      Five – Year Targets

       Enhance the management capacity of the University.
       Embed risk management practices and processes.
       Embed benchmarking and performance appraisal as management tools.
       Further integrate the University‟s approach to environmental sustainability and social
       Develop a fully-managed learning environment and staff portal to enhance teaching &
        learning and research.
       Undertake business process reviews across the Administration.
       Ensure corporate systems are appropriate and fit for purpose.

      Review of 2004/05

      Considerable progress has been made in governance and management. Our internal auditors
      undertook a detailed audit of governance practice and processes, including risk management,
      and their recommendations are being implemented. The Court approved a Statement of
      Primary Responsibilities and established a Working Group to conduct a review of its own
      effectiveness, in the light of the new CUC Code of Governance. The review is wide-ranging
      and includes issues relating to performance, both institutional and of the Court itself. An intra-
      net for Court members has been introduced. Further detailed work has been undertaken in
      refining the University‟s Business Risk Register and its business continuity strategies, including
      a desktop exercise in crisis management for senior managers. A new Research Ethics and

Governance Committee has been established. A series of strategic key performance indicators
(KPI) have been developed and agreed by the Court. The value of this database will increase
as annualised data is added and trends become more apparent.

Business process effectiveness reviews have been undertaken in three administrative sections,
a procedure has been agreed for the conduct of post-implementation reviews of all major
University projects and a pilot review has been initiated. An external review of the Directorate
of Information Systems and Services has been conducted and its recommendations are being
implemented. Phase 1 of the Staff and Student Portals Project has been completed and in
developing the Library‟s technology-enabled self-service strategies, four self-check machines
have been installed. With regard to information security, a disaster recovery plan has been put
in place, which includes a programme of risk assessments and the identification of critical
systems. With regard to Campus Services, the Court has allocated £8.78 million for the
complete refurbishment of the Central Refectory which closed in March 2005 and is scheduled
to reopen in September 2006. The new building will provide dining facilities, retail and drop-in
centres, including the University Students‟ Association offices, the Student Advice and Support
Office, Careers and Appointments, the Student Accommodation Office, and Campus Services.
It will give students and staff top-class facilities at a central location in Old Aberdeen and will
enhance the University‟s quality dining facilities.

Targets for 2005/06

 Complete Court and Senate Effectiveness Reviews and implement their recommendations.
 Implement the recommendations of the external review of the Directorate for Information
  Systems and Services.
 Undertake business process reviews in a further three sections of the Administration.
 Ensure that training and development for Court members is appropriate and readily
 Roll out the intra-net for Court members and data management systems for the Court &
  Planning Office.
 Continue to develop and enhance management capacity and succession planning.
 Develop key performance indicators (KPI), through benchmarking with comparable
 Further develop research ethics and governance practices and procedures.
 Further develop practices and procedures to enhance the University‟s approach to its social
  and environmental responsibilities.
 Finalise general catering arrangements and student support services, to be available in the
  redeveloped Central Refectory Building for operation in September 2006.
 Test the methodology for post-implementation reviews and roll out risk management
  processes to University Committees, Colleges and Schools.
 Consolidate the three portal projects (staff, student, and alumnus) within an over-arching
  managed learning environment programme, and commence implementation of a rolling
  programme that reflects institutional teaching and management strategies.
 As part of an evolving collections management policy, introduce and develop a remote store
  for the Library and examine alternative opportunities for lower cost on-site storage.
 Complete a records survey across the University and the development and implementation
  of retention schedules.

5     Collaboration


5.1   To sustain and enhance collaborative networks within Scotland, the UK, Europe and


5.2   We shall make the University of Aberdeen the hub of a network with Colleges of Further
      Education, Higher Education Institutions and SABRIs in the North-East of Scotland.

5.3   We shall identify and exploit opportunities for collaboration locally, nationally and
      internationally. In addition to the SABRIs, the University has a strong working relationship with
      NHS Grampian.

5.4   We shall continue to engage with our local Enterprise company, Scottish Enterprise Grampian
      (SEG), through a number of projects, such as support for a Health Sciences Enterprise Centre
      and student start-ups at the Science Park. We are exploring the development of incubation
      facilities for spin-out companies and undertaking a feasibility study funded by SEG. We have
      participated in many of the inward and outward missions led by Scottish Development
      International, including Korea, Beijing, Japan and Boston, which has resulted in us representing
      the Scottish sector in the Massachusetts Scotland Strategic Alliance. These missions increase
      our international promotion of research and create potential for new collaborative opportunities.

5.5   We shall encourage and support synergies, associations and collaborations with staff at
      international centres of excellence. The University will join the second phase of the ScotChem
      Initiative, a part-SHEFC funded project. This link is in addition to the reciprocal teaching
      agreement between St Andrews and the University for the MChem programme, which
      complements expertise in both institutions and encourages the enhancement of further
      research links. We shall explore opportunities for developing a pan-Scottish RAE submission
      in Civil Engineering. We are partners in a pooling bid to the Funding Council with the
      Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews in the development of a Scottish Alliance
      for Geosciences (SAGES). We are also in the process of developing a number of specific
      collaborative initiatives in the area of life sciences.

5.6   We shall develop opportunities for collaboration with The Robert Gordon University, in
      particular in Renewables, Engineering, Transport and Health Care Provision.

5.7   We shall continue to work closely with and in support of the UHI Millennium Institute, in its
      move to university status, building on our Memorandum of Understanding and Accreditation
      Agreement for Research Degree Programmes, and a series of developments, such as sharing
      teaching modules, joint provision for postgraduate taught and research students and initiatives
      in Gaelic-medium education. We shall create a joint interdisciplinary research centre, focussed
      on decommissioning studies, initially with regard to immobilisation of radioactive waste and in
      the longer term in remediation and other areas. Over the next three years the Centre will
      resource five PhD studentships centred on decommissioning research.

5.8   We shall establish partnerships with institutions in Europe, North America and South-East Asia.
      In particular, we shall continue to explore opportunities for collaboration and cooperation in
      Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and China.

5.9   We shall foster links developed through our leading the extensive IMMPACT (Initiative for
      Maternal Mortality Programme Assessment) Project, focussed on international health research,
      with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Institute of Tropical Medicine at
      Antwerp, John Hopkins University, Baltimore, the University of Indonesia, the Centre Muraz in
      Bukina Faso and the University of Ghana and with a number of global agencies working in the
      area of maternal health.

5.10 We shall continue to collaborate with our partner FE and HE institutions in the North Forum to
     develop and implement effective regional strategies for widening participation.

5.11 We shall contribute sustained leadership to technology investment initiatives in the North-East
     of Scotland through proactive engagement in the Public Sector ICT Group strategy for
     development of a collaborative regional infrastructure.

      Five -Year Targets

       Establish relationships and develop alliances with educational providers in the North-East of
       Establish a series of strategic alliances with European and international universities and
       Actively engage in SHEFC collaboration initiatives to maximise opportunities for joint
        submissions in the next RAE.
       Establish an enterprise unit on the Foresterhill site jointly with NHS Grampian and Scottish
        Enterprise Grampian.
       Form increasing numbers of collaborations on a project-by-project basis with other Scottish

      Review of 2004/05

      The University‟s relationships with the Macaulay Institute and NERC have been strengthened
      through the establishment of the Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability (ACES).
      ACES was formally launched in the summer of 2004. It is developing a high profile and is
      specifically mentioned in Scottish Executive research strategy documents. ACES has bid
      successfully for SRDG funding and is recruiting to two Chairs in Environmental Sustainability,
      jointly funded by the Institute and the University. It has advertised six PhD studentships, to be
      funded by the three partners.

      Building on our successful relationship with the Rowett Research Institute, we are currently
      undertaking a feasibility study on the creation of a formal strategic alliance leading to the
      creation of an International Centre of Excellence for Research into Nutrition and Health.
      Discussions are also ongoing to strengthen our existing relationship with the Fisheries
      Research Service.

      We have worked with NHS-Grampian in the development of joint capital projects on the
      Foresterhill site. Through the active membership of University staff on the Health Board and
      other senior NHS groups the University continues to contribute to local and national NHS
      developments. Discussions are advanced to establish an Enterprise Unit on the Foresterhill
      site, jointly with NHS Grampian and Scottish Enterprise Grampian with the project moving
      towards full planning stage.

      As a part of the establishment of the City of Aberdeen as the Energy Capital of Europe, the City
      Council has encouraged collaboration in Energy Futures Research and an Aberdeen Energy
      Futures Chair, which involves the University and The Robert Gordon University (RGU). We
      have explored with RGU, opportunities for collaboration and co-operation in Engineering and
      Health Care and in administrative support. Close links are being maintained with the RGU
      Faculty of Health and Social Care, through Inter-professional Learning sessions for Phase 1,
      Phase IV (Medicine) and final year Pharmacy students. We have developed with RGU a
      system to allow our students access to their virtual campus.

      Working with the Universities of Glasgow and Stirling, a Scottish Centre for Criminal Justice
      Research was established. Further collaborative links with the UHIMI were developed, a
      memorandum of understanding was approved and agreement was reached in principle to
      support the Institute‟s strategy for the achievement of university status. We have pursued a
      number of pooling initiatives, focusing on ScotCHem, SAGES, and potentially Civil Engineering.
      We are also a partner in the SRDG bid HiPress and the Scottish Coastal Waters Research
      Institute. Further opportunities for collaboration and pooling have been identified in coastal
      science and Management and in Astrobiology.

The School of Education‟s relationships and alliances with educational providers in the North-
East of Scotland have continued to be nurtured and developed. We hosted the collaborative
research conference on „Service Integration in Scottish Schools‟ and the Scottish Teachers for
a New Era project is a means to develop links with international institutions and is likely to focus
on North American Carnegie institutions and on Australia.

Targets for 2005/06

 Build upon current and develop new research pooling initiatives.
 Complete a feasibility study on the formation of a strategic alliance with the Rowett
  Research Institute and implement recommendations.
 Take forward the establishment of an Enterprise Unit on the Foresterhill site, jointly with
  NHS Grampian and Scottish Enterprise Grampian.
 Strengthen the collaborative research of ACES.
 Explore the 2 + 2 model for teacher training in the development of collaborative links with
  further education colleges and with Sabhhal Mor Ostaig within the UHIMI, to provide CPD
  opportunities for Gaelic-medium teachers.
 Work with the consortium of Scottish Universities, led by Stirling and UHIMI, for a SRDG for
  Gaelic language research.
 Establish an Institute of Energy Technologies.
 Collaborate with The Robert Gordon University in investigating the creation of a Transport
  Research Centre.
 Progress development of a Nuclear Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation
 Develop collaboration through: ScotChem; SAGES; the Telford Institute of Civil Engineering;
  and Astrobiology with the University of St Andrews.
 Explore the development of a Centre for Research Excellence in Sedimentology and
 Develop memoranda of understanding for collaborative rural research with the Universities
  of Newcastle, UHIMI and Cornell.
 Work with the Consortium of Scottish University and Research Libraries to develop an
  institutional repository infrastructure for research in Scotland, including a cross-repository
  search and browse database.
 Pursue partnerships with the NHS to promote research, including trials with clinical
  underpinning, to seek over time to attain a balanced position of 50/50 on funding of clinical
  posts by NHS partners and to meet statutory obligations.
 Engage with national and local economic development agencies, including Scottish
  Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise Grampian, local authorities and the Chamber of Commerce.

6     Effective Resourcing


6.1   To sustain and enhance the financial base.


6.2   We shall maintain and enhance a devolved rolling three-year financial planning framework to
      ensure budget flexibility and the ability to respond to opportunities, and we shall apply methods
      of resource allocation that are appropriate and sustainable. This is in recognition of the value
      of integrating financial, academic and physical planning with resource allocation, informed by
      academic and infrastructural priorities, and with budgets, revised annually according to

6.3   We shall sustain investment in facilities infrastructure, maintain adequate cash resources for
      working capital purposes and ensure that financial strategies and developments are supported
      by informed financial plans. We shall finance capital developments, as set out in our ten-year
      infrastructure investment plan, through a mix of capital grants, proceeds from sales of assets
      and borrowing, although we intend to remain low-geared.

6.4   We shall develop and implement an effective fundraising strategy to build on the success of
      Phase 1 of our Sixth Century Campaign, which raised £47M, which was £7M above target.

6.5   We shall ensure that managers are adequately trained and provided with appropriate financial
      support for informed decision-making and shall drive down costs with specific emphasis on
      utilising advances in technology.

6.6   We shall provide a financial environment that gives incentives to increase revenue generation
      without compromising financial stability within our commitment to encourage the development
      of alternative income streams.

6.7   We shall ensure that commercial operations are self-supporting and sustainable, implement
      Full Economic Costing to inform the strategy for managing a balanced research portfolio and
      increase income derived from overseas tuition fees, external funding sources,
      commercialisation, intellectual property and fundraising opportunities.

6.8   We shall modernise our business processes, in particular utilising opportunities arising from e-
      business, to support efficient and effective operations.

6.9   We shall engage proactively with the Funding Councils, the Scottish Executive, UK
      Government and the EU to maximise the resources available to higher education in Scotland
      and, in particular, to this University.

      Five – Year Targets

         Return to an historical cost surplus of 3% of turnover from 2006 onwards.
         Maintain cash reserves equivalent to one month‟s staff and operating costs.
         Produce annual returns from endowments in line with appropriate benchmarks.
         Raise £60M by 2009 through the second phase of the Sixth Century Campaign.
         Increase by 50% the population of overseas students.
         Implement a rolling programme of financial training for senior and middle managers.

      Review of 2004/05

      Financial Monthly Management Reports have been enhanced to include information on key
      performance indicators (KPI) and to increase focus on forecasting. Monthly Reports have also
      been developed for Heads of School. Full economic costing (FEC) procedures for research
      grant applications have been introduced, training sessions have been run across the University

and all grants from February 2005 have been costed on this basis. The University is forecast to
achieve an underlying surplus in excess of £3M for 2004/05.

Actuarial valuation of the University‟s Superannuation Scheme in 2004 identified a significant
deficit which the University needs to remove by increased contributions over the next 12 years.
This, in common with the position elsewhere, is a cause of serious concern.

Computerised Document Management of supplier invoices and the Research Grants &
Contracts database are being rolled out across the campus. Document Management is being
extended to research grants and contracts to enable a fully integrated document flow from
contract award, to expenditure, to closure of the contract. HE e-procurement is now
operational. Training workshops were run and buyers are actively encouraged to utilise the
suppliers via HEep. Procurement cards were piloted.

The Sixth Century Campaign was officially launched in the UK in autumn 2004, in Hong Kong
in January 2005, and in the United States in March 2005. A Campaign Board was established
to help expand networks and influence. We have worked closely with the University of
Aberdeen Development Trust USA (UADT USA), to engage more influential graduates on the
Board and to have their assistance in securing gifts. A small informal group with a similar
purpose was established in Hong Kong. Elements of the Alumni Annual Fund have been
restructured and fundraising income has increased. The Case for Support, the preliminary
library fundraising document, legacy brochure and Annual Fund materials have been produced,
and tax-effective giving literature is in progress for both the UK and the USA.

Targets for 2005/06

 Return an underlying surplus of £3m before exceptional items.
 Review long-term cash requirements and put in place any required borrowing facility on
  completion of the ten-year infrastructure investment plan.
 Complete the University financial strategy and a consequent operational plan.
 Increase by 10% the population of non-fundable students.
 Review financial training provided to senior and middle managers and implement a revised
 Fully implement full economic costing (FEC) for all grants to improve the overall financial
  stability of the research portfolio and agree accounting treatment on FEC grants, including
  overhead distribution and use of additional funds.
 Review all significant commercial operations to ensure that services are appropriately
  costed and priced.
 Continue the development of e-payments and e-procurement and introduce a cash
  receipting and automated direct debit system.
 Continue to use the Campaign Board, UADT USA, and the Hong Kong group effectively to
  help secure major Campaign gifts.
 Establish and work with fundraising groups to help secure project-specific donations.
 Continue to approach individuals, companies and foundations for Campaign gifts.

7     Infrastructure and Environment


7.1   To maintain and improve the condition, use, safety, security, amenity and aesthetic qualities of
      the University‟s physical estate and to enhance the provision and management of information
      and electronic resources.


7.2   We shall develop and implement processes to maximise the effectiveness of space, by
      adhering to a strategy that consolidates, rationalises and redevelops the existing University
      estate, where economic and sustainable, so as to add value to our core activities. Whilst we
      shall do so by exploiting fully our limited capital and revenue resources, we shall respond
      quickly and opportunistically to alternative funding opportunities from either Central
      Government or commercial opportunities, where these are consistent with institutional priorities.

7.3   We shall develop and refine a 10-year infrastructure investment plan, building on our Estates
      Strategy, which provides a blueprint for all major capital investment priorities and sets out an
      approved development framework within which institutional projects are prioritised for
      investment. We shall maintain an up-to-date recurrent programme for the repair and
      modernisation of our infrastructure.
7.4   We shall invest in new library facilities, appropriate to the 21 Century, which will address the
      needs of a modern university and the demands of the undergraduate, postgraduate and
      research communities.

7.5   We shall promote consciousness of, and policies supporting, environmental sustainability. We
      shall ensure that resources are used effectively and within a framework in which environmental,
      social and economic factors are integrated.

7.6   We shall consolidate our activities on two campuses: Foresterhill and King‟s College. We shall
      collaborate with NHS Scotland and The Robert Gordon University in future planning and

7.7   We shall establish a rolling capital plan to support an appropriate and uniform level of audio-
      visual and C&IT infrastructure in quality teaching-rooms across the institution. We shall
      introduce clustering and multi-function servers, with services provided from dual server rooms,
      to provide increased resilience and reliability to institutional computing services. We believe
      that access to, and maintenance of, first-class student academic and non-academic support
      services, facilities and infrastructure (including classrooms, laboratories, libraries, museums
      and IT systems) is fundamental to achieving the optimal learning experience.

7.8   We shall continue to improve the infrastructure for research.         Both the SRIF-funded
      refurbishment of high quality laboratories in the Life Sciences and the SRIF-funded Clinical
      Research Facility will be completed by mid-2006.

7.9   We shall upgrade our internal IT networks by the end of 2006 to take advantage of the
      additional bandwidth and resilience, provided by the SuperJANET 5 backbone and we shall
      develop an institutional repository as a means of increasing significantly the international
      accessibility and promotion of our research output across the global network.

7.10 We shall explore means by which the strengths of our Life and Environmental Sciences
     collections can be exploited in support of a single collaborative information service across the
     institutions of the City of Aberdeen as an element of our alliances with the SABRIs.

7.11 We shall improve our sports facilities, if plans for a regional sports centre do not materialise.
     We are committed to investment in this area and are currently pursuing, in conjunction with
     Aberdeen City Council, a multi-million pound bid for funding from Sportscotland, to develop a
     state of the art regional sports centre, to be located on a site adjacent to the University.

7.12 With regard to student residential accommodation, we shall sell or lease the Dunbar site to the
     private sector to provide new bed-spaces to which the University will have access, we shall
     refurbish and rebuild Crombie-Johnston Hall and we shall undertake a phased demolition at
     Hillhead as new accommodation comes on stream.

7.13 We shall review our catering requirements for students and staff in line with the revised student
     accommodation strategy.

7.14 We shall continue to promote policies and practices to enhance the safety and security of our
     students and staff.

      Five – Year Targets

       Improve and maintain buildings to RICS Condition Categories A, B or C in the proportions
        10% A, 65% B, 25% C.
       Provide access to first class amenities, services and sporting and recreational facilities for
        staff and students.
       Promote sustainable development in the University, by reducing utility and energy
        consumption, through effective monitoring, better use and technological improvements.
       Implement the student residential accommodation and campus catering strategies.
       Relocate Anatomy from Marischal College to Foresterhill and meet the requirements of NHS
        Grampian to develop new clinical skills facilities.
       Implement plans to improve disabled access to University buildings.
       Implement a funded programme for the upgrade and maintenance of modern audio-visual
        facilities in classrooms.
       Develop data storage facilities that meet institutional priorities for the secure management of
        research and business information.
       Replace the campus network with facilities which are secure and resilient and which enable
        the University to capitalise on the data transmission capabilities being introduced by the
        SuperJANET 5 backbone.

      Review of 2004/2005

      A 10-Year Integrated Infrastructure Investment Plan was adopted. This provides a road map
      for the planning and coordination of major investments. We continued to improve the quality
      and range of our facilities through, for example, the acquisition of the former Keith Park Sport
      Facility, with its artificial surface and the renovation of the Grade A Town House in Old
      Aberdeen. The sale of the Hilton Site is near to conclusion and the proceeds will assist greatly
      in the refurbishment of the MacRobert Building and other consequential projects. The
      MacRobert Project was completed on time and within budget and provides accommodation
      that, while designed principally to meet the requirements of the School of Education, is generic
      and flexible and includes 188 new computer work-stations in class and lecture-rooms.
      Negotiations with Aberdeen City Council over the use of Marischal College are progressing with
      clear indications from the City that the College will become the Council‟s new Headquarters.
      The ground lease of the Dunbar Site has been concluded, conditional on planning consent.
      The first draft feasibility study for the development of the Crombie-Johnston site has been
      received. Work has now commenced on the Student Centre refurbishment, to be completed in
      September 2006. With regard to „hotspot‟ wireless networking, a dozen installations across the
      Old Aberdeen and Foresterhill campuses have been completed, principally to meet student
      demand. The Storage Area Network (SAN) infrastructure has been implemented and the first
      phase of storage for WebCT has been attached.

      A design brief for the redevelopment of Library facilities has been prepared. With regard to
      fundraising, potential supporters have been identified and approached in the UK and abroad.
      Foundations have been identified and preliminary contacts made. A target of £1.7M was set for
      2004/05 of which over £1M has already been pledged or received.

Targets for 2005-06

 Develop and plan for schemes prioritised under the 10-Year Infrastructure Investment Plan.
 Complete the SRIF2 funded refurbishment of the Cruickshank and Zoology Buildings.
 Progress the King‟s College Heating System Replacement Project, utilising the £1.73M
  grant from the Community Energy Programme, and install a fibre optic cable ring to create a
  resilient core backbone network at Old Aberdeen, with the addition of dual access routes to
  principal buildings.
 Complete the comprehensive upgrade of the former Central Refectory Building to provide
  the new Student Centre.
 Complete the new Institute of Applied Health Science Building at Foresterhill.
 Complete the renovation of the Old Aberdeen Town House as a new University Reception
  Centre for students, staff and visitors.
 Approve the strategic brief and appoint the design team for the Matthew Hay Project, which
  will bring together the teaching of Anatomy and Clinical Skills.
 Complete major disability improvement projects at the William Guild and Edward Wright
 Appoint a design team, complete and have approval for the strategic brief for the
  redevelopment of the University‟s Library and Archive facilities and continue fundraising to
  achieve a target of £5M by the end of 2005/06.
 Proceed with the design stages and business case for the development of new student
  accommodation on the Crombie-Johnston site.
 Develop a Sustainable Transportation Strategy and Plan for the King‟s College Campus.
 Implement the recommendations of the external review of the Directorate for Information
  Systems and Services.
 Recommence the Library‟s MARC 21 retroconversion programme, with extension into the
  cataloguing of Special Libraries materials and produce options for the future management of
  digital resources.
 Undertake phase 2 of the programme to increase SAN file storage capacity and undertake
  an analysis of requirements for enabling secure back-up.
 Introduce wireless network facilities for staff, building on the pilot installation in the
  MacRobert Building.
 Complete a further nine health and safety audits of Schools and support services.

8     Access and Participation


8.1   To increase opportunity and improve participation in higher education by students from under-
      represented groups.


8.2   We shall continue to provide flexible learning programmes, both on and off campus, that meet
      identified student needs in terms of content, flexible access, participation, retention and
      progression.    They will enhance the experience of part-time students and facilitate
      developments to increase social inclusion and encourage wider participation in higher

8.3   We shall continue to participate in a wide range of activities designed to identify and overcome
      the cultural and economic barriers facing those from social groups IIIM-V and low participation
      schools and neighbourhoods. These include taking part in the activities of the North Forum for
      Widening Participation and the University for Children and Communities.

8.4   We shall continue to develop the activities of the Aim4uni and S6 Enhancement Units, which
      provide support and assistance to schools and colleges within the University‟s catchment area.
      In particular, we have targeted additional activity for low participation schools and schools in
      rural isolation, with the aim that 30% of students attending S6 Enhancement activities will be
      from these schools.

8.5   We shall regularly review retention and progression statistics to identify failings and pressure
      points, and, building on the work of the Retention and Progression Strategy Team and the
      Academic Learning & Study Unit, we shall implement strategies to address them.

      Five – Year Targets

       Implement our revised strategy for widening access and participation.
       Enhance articulation provision with local FE colleges.
       Achieve and, where possible, exceed benchmarks for the participation of part-time and
        mature full-time first-degree entrants from low participation neighbourhoods.
       Develop part-time evening degree programmes.
       Increase by 50% the number of part-time students.
       Develop new Access programmes in curricular areas identified as having a market need.
       Develop a suite of programmes, specifically to widen access and increase our FE/HE
       Achieve benchmarks for recruitment of disabled students.

      Review of 2004/05

      The University‟s Widening Access and Participation Strategy has been reviewed and a range of
      recommendations will be implemented in the coming year. The “Aim 4 Uni” scheme has
      continued to improve communication with young people, teachers and parents. Activities
      included the Easter Revision School, S5/6 Induction Days, and Masterclasses. The pilot
      activity of the S6 Enhancement Unit has been rolled out successfully; one-day Science events
      for students and CPD opportunities for teachers were held on campus and the Unit is
      continuing to work in partnership with Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Highlands & Islands
      local authorities to identify programmes of support for S6 students. Development in other
      curriculum areas is underway. Support for FE/HE transition saw the conclusion of the North
      Forum-funded project and the establishment of an FE/HE Transition Unit which will build on the
      best practice identified. The Unit is developing a framework which supports a new model of
      articulation and transition for advanced entry FE students, providing Information Day Visits, a
      pre-session induction programme for students and liaison meetings between University and
      College staff. As a result a new Articulation and Progression Agreement was negotiated with
      Aberdeen College. This provides a template for agreements with other FE Colleges.

Workshops, advice sessions and online resources for students, provided by the Academic
Learning & Study Unit, have supported retention and progression. Research into the first year
experience and mature and part-time student progression rates will inform resource
development, planned for 2005/06.

Active partnership and collaboration within the North Forum and local community planning
processes have informed institutional target-setting within a regional and national context.
There has been support for activities of the University for Children and Communities and the
pilot Aberdeen Children‟s University, a highlight being the hosting of the first Aberdeen
Children‟s University Graduation. A series of confidence-building, aspiration-raising workshops
were piloted with local community groups. These will inform engagement with the Community
Learning and Development Strategies within Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and the Highlands
& Islands.

Targets for 2005/06

 Undertake programme and curriculum development for a new part-time, evening, broadly-
  based MA degree.
 Deliver a new induction and training programme for part-time tutors.
 Develop a Study Abroad Archaeology Summer School.
 Pilot a S6 Mixed Curriculum Project, in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and The
  Robert Gordon University.
 Roll out the new model of FE articulation and transition support activities.
 Pilot tracking of identified cohorts, using Scottish Candidate Number as a Unique Identifier.
 Continue to develop the Buddying Scheme programme.
 Accredit successful completion of Access Certificate with 5 to 10 Level One transferable
 Continue collaboration with the North Forum in the collection of widening participation data
  in support of project activity and target-setting.
 Extend delivery of community workshops in collaboration with Aberdeen City and
  Aberdeenshire Councils and continue to support Community Learning and Development

9   Community Relations


    9.1   To serve regional, national and international communities by enhancing the quality of life,
          cultural strength and intellectual capital.


    9.2   We shall continue to play a leading role in the achievement, not only of a smart, successful
          Scotland, but also a creative, imaginative Scotland. We are committed to enhancing the
          educational, economic, cultural and social life of the City of Aberdeen, Scotland and the UK by
          sharing the University‟s excellence in teaching and research, and by taking the message to the
          world beyond.

    9.3   We shall continue to raise awareness at national and international levels of higher education‟s
          major role as the provider of a highly educated workforce, fit for the employment market, and as
          the creator of wealth, through technology transfer and the commercialisation of research.

    9.4   We shall expound the value of our contributions to the life of the wider community by hosting
          and participating in a range of events and initiatives, such as the annual Word literary festival,
          and we shall build upon the Marischal Museum‟s, the Elphinstone Institute‟s and the Natural
          History Centre‟s outreach programmes, through schools and community groups.

    9.5   We shall develop effective external and internal corporate communications and promote
          awareness of the University.

    9.6   We shall ensure that local and national politicians and their related organisations are briefed on
          the challenges and opportunities facing the University. We shall encourage the Scottish and
          Westminster Parliaments to recognise the vital role which HE institutions play in the economic
          and cultural wellbeing of the country, within an increasingly competitive international

    9.7   We shall further enhance our links with alumni to ensure that they continue to play an important
          part in University life and are kept informed about the institution‟s activities through alumni
          networks, publications and a wide range of cultural and social events and activities.

    9.8   We shall ensure that the University‟s interaction with the regional, national and international
          communities is highly effective and shall participate in the implementation of the region‟s
          economic development strategies.

          Five – Year Targets

           Develop further and enhance internal and external communications strategies to promote
            the University.
           Improve continuously our communications through a programme of benchmarking,
            feedback, monitoring and evaluation.
           Develop the corporate events programme to enhance further the University‟s profile as a
            cultural leader.
           Involve, through participation in the above events, high-profile and influential alumni at a
            local, national and international level.

          Review of 2004/05

          The regional, national and international profile of the University has risen with a level of positive
          media coverage ahead of other Scottish universities. The University‟s web presence was
          boosted by the launch of a new online newsletter and of a redesigned homepage, as well as an
          expanded Directory of Experts. The Aberdeen Magazine was launched, reaching an
          international audience of more than 60,000. It brings together a team of award-winning writers
          to cover a wide editorial agenda, ranging from the arts and history, to medicine, politics,

business and science. Links with the media have continued to develop and led to our first in-
house media training package for academics and students. We also hosted visits by
politicians, including the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister, we continued to develop
links with local and national politicians and we launched an Alumni Group for MSPs,
researchers and media within the Scottish Parliament. We also participated in the third
Commonwealth Local Government Conference, held in Aberdeen, hosting a major networking

A large programme of events, both on campus and across the globe was developed and
delivered. In Aberdeen, the Word festival continues to go from strength to strength. We
launched the International Music Composition Competition, were lead sponsor in the Northern
Star business awards, and co-hosted the World Renewable Energy Conference. Our
international standing was promoted further with our participation in high-profile events, such as
Tartan Day in New York, a recent medical symposium in Hong Kong, and the signing of a
Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Petroleum – Beijing.

Targets for 2005/06

 Develop further relationships with regional, national and international media to raise the
  University‟s profile.
 Continue to promote the University‟s Sixth Century Campaign with national and international
 Develop a programme of events to celebrate 500 years of teaching and learning at the
 Continue to promote the University‟s substantial investment in infrastructure, particularly
  within the King‟s Campus.
 Enhance the University‟s internal communications programme, including the launch of an
 Continue to increase the involvement of influential alumni in the work of the University.
 Promote the enhancement of cultural life in the city through the support of events and
  initiatives such as the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, the Word festival, and the
  International Music Prize.

10    International Positioning


10.1 To be recognised internationally as a university of high quality and distinction.


10.2 We shall remind internal and external stakeholders that the benefits which the University can
     provide to Aberdeen, Scotland and the UK depend on its internationalisation and

10.3 We shall promote opportunities to internationalise the curriculum and to exploit and enhance
     the international recruitment of staff and students, so as to maintain on campus our
     cosmopolitan mix of over 120 nationalities.

10.4 We shall review institutional agreements under the current SOCRATES/ERASMUS
     programme, to ensure that we satisfy student demand and development.

10.5 We shall enhance our position, giving particular priority to educational and research
     collaboration, links with other institutions of international standing, and through the nurturing of
     our international alumni. We shall increase the number of internationally focussed bursaries
     and scholarships, through working with partners and alumni.

10.6 We shall develop opportunities for collaboration, fundraising and increased staff and student
     recruitment from North America, Asia and Europe.

10.7 We shall continue to review and enhance our marketing materials, including our customer
     management technology, with the aim of remaining a market leader in student recruitment.

      Five – Year Targets

         Increase by 50% and maintain the diversity of the population of non-fundable students.
         Increase the number of networked international supporters.
         Establish a regular and effective presence in international markets.
         Strengthen the University's international visibility by hosting international research
          conferences and participating in international events.

      Review of 2004/05

      The international student population continued to grow, with a 3.8% increase in international
      undergraduate students and a 38% increase in international postgraduate taught students,
      resulting in an overall increase in international student numbers of 13%, which was 3% above

      Continuing progress was made in the audit of postgraduate programmes, with a number of new
      taught programmes coming on stream for February and September 2005, in particular the MSc
      programmes in Ehealth; Escience; Molecular Medical Microbiology; and Medical Biotechnology;
      MLitt programmes in Early Modern Studies; Philosophy; Comparative Literary and Cultural
      Studies; English Linguistics for Advanced Teachers of English; and Visual Culture; and LLM
      programmes in Human Rights; and Human Rights and Criminal Justice.

      We continued to work towards the completion of articulation agreements with Aberdeen
      College and other UK institutions, which will facilitate international student recruitment to the
      University from within the UK. An agreement to offer postgraduate dual degree programmes to
      students from Beijing Petroleum University was signed in October 2004. It is expected that a
      similar agreement with Konkuk University in Korea will be concluded and a Memorandum of
      Understanding has been signed with the University of Hong Kong which will develop greater
      and broader collaboration with the explicit intention of enhancing research excellence,
      particularly in the area of medicine. In addition, an agreement to facilitate undergraduate

advanced entry for Chinese students and postgraduate research scholarships through the
China Scholarship Council have been instituted.

With regard to conferences, the University hosted the large international World Renewable
Energy Congress, the international conference to launch the new refereed Journal of Private
International Law, co-edited from Aberdeen, and a major conference to celebrate the tenth
anniversary of the foundation of the Dugald Baird Centre for Research on Women‟s Health.

More generally, M&C Saatchi were contracted to develop an international positioning strategy
for fund-raising, and support was provided for the Scottish Executive‟s Tartan Day activities in
the United States and for a major Life Sciences Symposium in Boston.

Targets for 2005/06

 Conduct an audit of the University‟s international positioning objective and resulting
  strategies and operations, including the possibility of developing a single gateway for all
  international activities.
 Increase by 10% the population of non-fundable students.
 Continue to increase articulation agreements with international colleges and institutions in
  target markets.
 Continue to review our programmes to ensure their international competitiveness.
 Review the current provision of international student facilities in the light of increases in
  international student numbers.
 Review our strategies to enhance the European dimension.
 Explore ways of developing Hong Kong as a hub for the University‟s international activities
  in South East Asia.
 Arrange further alumni gatherings in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and China, to build on
  these growing alumni and other networks.
 Continue to approach potential donors for support for international scholarships and
 Work with the Scottish Executive to utilise the Challenge Fund, which will be made available
  via the Fresh Talent Scheme.


1     The Institutional Context

1.1   The University plays a pivotal role in the social, cultural, economic and intellectual development
      of Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland. Now in its sixth century, it continues to innovate
      and contribute to the development, both of the local environment and the wider community
      within Scotland, the UK and beyond. Employing around three thousand staff (with a further one
      thousand four hundred jobs sustained elsewhere locally) and with over thirteen thousand
      students, the University community makes up almost 10% of the population of the City. It
      directly contributes in the order of £245M to the local economy, with an additional £70M
      indirectly created.

1.2   During our last institutional visit from the Funding Council, in November 2003, representatives
      of the Council explored a number of key issues, including mission and strategy, restructuring,
      collaboration, research strategy, Court involvement and condition of grant. Our Strategic Plan
      2004–2009, submitted to the Council in June 2004, built on these discussions and set out the
      University‟s ambition, direction and objectives, and its main strategies for achieving them. This
      update to that Plan illustrates the University‟s success in taking forward its strategies and maps
      out institutional targets for the session 2005/06.

1.3   The current environment is volatile. Key issues include: addressing the challenges of widening
      access and participation and equality and diversity; maintaining and enhancing excellence in
      research, learning and teaching; promoting scholarship; commercialising the results of
      research; and preserving academic autonomy, whilst fulfilling institutional and governmental
      requirements and priorities. In addition there are the challenges of complying with ever-
      increasing regulatory requirements and delivering value for money within a competitive and
      demanding financial framework. In this context, we find the Council‟s Higher Education in
      Scotland: a Baseline Report a very useful continuing source of reference.

2     Collaboration and Research Pooling

2.1   Aberdeen‟s geographical position encompasses both rural and urban centres and each
      produces differing opportunities and challenges. Across the sector institutions are exploring
      mechanisms to address issues relating to critical mass and scale, and we welcome the support
      of the Scottish Executive and of the Funding Council in using inter-institutional collaboration as
      a mechanism for addressing these.

2.2   We have a number of very successful collaborative partnerships and agreements at subject
      level, with Scottish, UK, European, and international institutions. We recognise the value of
      collaboration between institutions to gain competitive advantage for Scotland, and we are keen
      to participate. However, we acknowledge that our geographical location may inhibit this, though
      we are working hard to counteract any perceived disadvantages. We welcome the Minister‟s
      recent statement on pooling and the maintenance of quality in his Letter of Guidance.

2.3   Aberdeen and its environs has a relatively large number of Research Institutes, whether they be
      Research Council funded or Scottish Agriculture and Biological Research Institutes (SABRIs).
      We believe that they represent a unique opportunity to produce local critical mass in recognised
      areas of excellence. Over the planning period we shall develop strong, collaborative
      relationships with them, building upon our local environment and capitalising on our mutual
      strengths in Biological, Medical, Social and Physical Sciences. These will cut across our
      College structures in a deliberate strategy to promote interdisciplinary research within the
      University and between our collaborating Institutes.

3     Opportunities, Strengths and Challenges

3.1   Opportunities

3.1.1 Academic year 2003–2004 was the first of our three-year restructuring programme, designed to
      create vacancies, recruit and retain scholars of outstanding international repute, to refocus our

      academic priorities, where appropriate, and to respond quickly and flexibly to challenges and
      opportunities as they arise. A £9 million investment, funded from annual surpluses over three
      years, is enabling our Colleges and Schools to adjust their organisational and staffing profiles to
      reflect strategic priorities, identified through review and costed academic planning. The
      restructuring and the strategies outlined in this document will support the University‟s progress
      towards achieving its objectives over the medium term, up to the outcome of the next Research
      Assessment Exercise. As indicated below, progress has already been substantial and we shall
      continue to build on this.

3.2   Strengths

3.2.1 The University is committed to best practice in all aspects of corporate governance and has
      been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of developments in this area. Relations between
      lay members of the University Court, our governing body, and members of the University senior
      management are close, with senior lay members providing invaluable advice and experience on
      finance, estates planning and human resource issues.

3.2.2 The University is one of the top thirty institutions in attracting funding generated from
      competitively-won, externally-financed research. This is achieved through leverage of core
      research funding at a ratio of more than three to one, significantly higher than the average for
      this group, and is evidence of our continuing drive to ensure resources are used as effectively
      as possible. During 2004/05 we have substantially increased our success in winning research

3.2.3 The University offers a broad range of high quality training for the professions, including
      Accountancy, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Divinity, Surveying and Teaching. In areas such as
      Medicine, Law and Social Science, the University combines excellent research with high levels
      of student demand.

3.2.4 Following our highly successful merger with the Northern College of Education (Aberdeen
      Campus), the creation of the School of Education within the College of Arts & Social Sciences
      has greatly enhanced the benefits. After competitive tendering the School has been awarded
      funding from the Scottish Executive and the Hunter Foundation of £1.8M to develop a four-year
      pilot to test a new model and approach for Initial Teacher Education in Scotland (the Scottish
      Teachers for a New Era project). Over the planning period, this unique project, in partnership
      with local authorities, seeks to lead best practice and to create a new vision for teacher
      education across Scotland.

3.2.5 Our commitment to Gaelic and the Gàidhealtachd has been reinforced by substantial
      investment in high quality staff appointments in Celtic Studies within our School of Languages
      and Literature. Internally, collaboration is strongly promoted with the Gaelic-medium educators
      in the School of Education and externally through our institutional relationships with the UHI
      Millennium Institute, and, in particular, with Sabhal Mor Ostaig. Similarly, Irish-Scottish Studies
      has been reinforced by investment in three posts during 2004-05, including a Chair in Irish and
      Scottish Literature, and will be further reinforced by two high-quality appointments for 2005-06.

3.2.6 The campus at Foresterhill is home to some of Scotland‟s leading medical and scientific
      research groups, as well as being the location for the training of our undergraduate Medicine,
      and Medical Science students. A particular strength is the close working relationship between
      the University, NHS Grampian and all those involved in the training, development and
      operational delivery of medical healthcare in the Grampian area. The University continues to
      build on this multidisciplinary environment and to exploit potential synergies and opportunities
      for knowledge transfer and commercialisation of research by bringing together at Foresterhill all
      health-based research and teaching.

3.2.7 The University is committed to producing high quality research directed at the needs of the
      energy industries, particularly the oil and gas and sustainable energy sectors, as exemplified by
      our creation of a joint Energy Futures Research Centre and Chair in conjunction with The
      Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen City Council. Additionally, within our College of
      Physical Sciences, we have created an Institute of Energy Technologies which embraces

      renewables and focuses on biomass, fuel cells and wave systems; a Centre for Nuclear
      Decommissioning and Environmental Remediation; a Centre for Innovative Drilling; and we are
      developing a Centre for Research Excellence in Sedimentology and Stratigraphy. The
      University is also a founder member and Director of the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group
      and will play a key role in the energy research theme emerging in the Aberdeen Centre for
      Environmental Sustainability.

3.2.8 Undergraduate student demand continues to be buoyant, with year on year increases in
      applications from overseas students, as well as home and EU, not least in Engineering
      (contrary to national trends) and in Education, which has seen significant increases in
      applications post-merger.

3.2.9 We welcome the recognition given by the Scottish Executive to the importance of higher
      education and the role that it plays in developing Scotland and its economy, and in addressing
      the social, cultural, intellectual and economic needs of its citizens. In part, through the use of
      our Knowledge Transfer Grant, we have substantially developed our commercialisation and
      knowledge transfer activities. In the higher education business interaction survey of 2002-03,
      Scotland had 19% of all patents granted in the UK, while Aberdeen had 17% of all patents
      granted in Scotland. We shall continue proactively to foster relationships with business.

3.2.10 The University continues to increase opportunity by widening access to Higher Education. We
      recognise the value of an integrated approach to reach out to low participation neighbourhoods
      and to address the challenges of widening access in rural areas. In partnership with local
      schools and further and higher education institutions, we participate in initiatives, such as the
      North Forum and the University for Children and Communities (UCC).

3.3   Challenges

3.3.1 We are fully aware that our greatest challenge lies in achieving our research aspirations in an
      increasingly selective and competitive environment. Whilst critical mass is not essential in all
      areas of research, it is clear that the risks and penalties are huge in terms of the opportunity
      costs incurred by investment across a broad front, without appropriate size and scale, which our
      regional responsibilities have driven us to in the past. In determining the research landscape it
      is essential that the benefits and impacts of this factor on the regional and national economy are
      fully understood.

3.3.2 We continue to maintain a strong financial base, as recognised by the Funding Council‟s
      financial health indicator which gives the University the highest rating of “secure”. However,
      holding this base in a climate where funding continues to be tight and additional funds are ring-
      fenced requires constant review and reprioritisation of activities.

3.3.3 We recognise that our main library, The Queen Mother Library, is increasingly inadequate and
      inappropriate to match the requirements of current academic and student populations.
      Although only half way through its economic life, it is already at capacity and owing to inherent
      design difficulties there is little opportunity for expansion within the existing foot-print. In line
      with our institutional policy for the appraisal of capital projects we are working on a range of
      future options, subject to full appraisal, risk assessment and business plan.

3.3.4 Notwithstanding current levels of student demand, forecast demographic changes indicate that
      Scotland‟s youth population is in decline. Over 80% of our UK home students come from within
      Scotland and nearly 40% from within the Grampian area. Current forecasts indicate that,
      between 2006 and 2016, the 5–14 age group across Scotland will decline by 9.4%, and within
      Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire the decreases will be 22.6% and 5.5% respectively. A
      further potential threat is the consequences on undergraduate recruitment of the introduction of
      “top-up” fees in England and the reaction of the Scottish Executive to this. A major challenge is
      to maintain our current levels of undergraduate population.

3.3.5 Significant challenges also exist at postgraduate level. Like institutions across the UK we are
      finding increasing difficulty in recruiting UK and EU taught and research students. Accordingly,
      we have embarked on a major initiative with refreshed marketing and scholarship funding.

      Indeed, recent substantial success has been achieved in winning an EPSRC Collaborative
      Training Award of £1.7M to support funded places on taught programmes.

3.3.6 We wish to increase our population of international students from outside the European Union
      but are very concerned that the move to raise substantially the costs of immigration applications
      will act as a severe deterrent to potential students, whom we would urge, should be exempted.
      In any case, it stands in contradiction to the Government‟s acknowledgement of the economic
      benefits of migration, including coming for study.

3.3.7 We fully support the national Framework Agreement and its recommendations for addressing
      modernisation and harmonisation, job evaluation, and equal pay, and we are moving forward in
      partnership with our campus unions to implementation by August 2006.

3.3.8 We welcome the development of equal opportunities legislation, such as the Race Relations
      (Amendment) Act, the Disability Discrimination Act, SENDA and the Fixed-Term Working
      Directive.  We recognise that implementation of these and other legislation, such as the
      Freedom of Information Act, the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act and the Nature
      Conservation (Scotland) Act carries potentially significant costs.

4     Policy Issues

4.1   We strongly support the merger of the two Funding Councils and the opportunities this will give
      for ensuring a holistic and co-ordinated approach to the future development of further and
      higher education in Scotland. It should facilitate greater collaboration between FE and HE and
      is wholly consistent with our own strategic objective to be the hub of a network of FE and HE
      provision within the North-East of Scotland.

4.2   We fully support the Scottish Executive‟s drive to improve the knowledge economy within
      Scotland, but it is imperative that recognition is given to the role of universities in generating
      long-term economic, social, technological, creative and cultural benefits, investment which may
      not always generate immediately obvious results in the short-term. Equally, our role is crucial in
      producing high quality graduates for the employment market.

4.3   We welcome the prominence given by the Scottish Executive to the importance of having
      „pervasive high quality management, strong and purposeful leadership, and well-managed,
      valued and motivated staff, underpinned by sound business practice‟. We recognise that the
      achievement of our institutional vision and strategic goals depends on the commitment, quality
      and expertise of our staff. To enhance the University‟s management capacities, leadership and
      management development is a top human resource priority over the short to medium term and
      substantial investment continues to be made.

4.4   We continue to promote and develop our programme of diversity and equal opportunities, to
      advance good practice in the management of staff through our stepping-stone approach to
      Investors in People accreditation, to improve the University‟s pay and reward arrangements, to
      maintain and develop our partnership approach to employee relations, and to review and
      benchmark internal processes to minimise bureaucracy and enhance current service quality
      and levels.

4.5   We have strongly reaffirmed our commitment to continue to build on our achievements in
      research, a commitment which underlies our restructuring policies.

5     Resourcing

5.1   Despite the continuing competitive pressures on funding, the University remains in sound
      financial health. In financial year 2003-04 we again achieved an underlying surplus in excess of
      £3M and shall fund the remaining year of our £9M restructuring scheme in this way. From
      2006-07 we shall move to increase our annual surpluses to 3% of turnover, which will equate to
      approximately £4.6M. We shall achieve this over a number of years at increments of £0.5M per

5.2   We intend also to increase the level of our Strategic Investment Fund from £0.75M to £1M to
      allow additional strategic priorities to be taken forward.

5.3   We greatly welcome the move to the full economic costing of research council awards, which
      we estimate to provide additional funding of around £1M next financial year. Until grants are
      awarded on the FEC principle, during the interim period this additional income will be allocated
      to Colleges on a basis directly proportionate to success in winning contracts. The Council‟s
      policy of providing an element of support towards the costs of undertaking charitable research is
      greatly appreciated.

5.4   With regard to the national Framework Agreement, the interim funding from the Council, has
      provided essential additional support within our Human Resources section to take forward this
      major project. Our prudent working estimate of the likely impact on the institution of full
      implementation is that it will add around 5% to the salary bill.

5.5   Similarly, we are very concerned that universities with medical schools are fully compensated
      for the consequences of the implementation of the new NHS consultant contract and, in due
      course, of the new GP contract. With regard to the former, we estimate a shortfall in funding at
      Aberdeen of around £0.4M per annum.

5.6   With less than 50% of our income coming directly from the Funding Council, we recognise the
      need for additional funding streams, including private philanthropy. We are a leading university
      for fundraising in the UK and set a target in 1999 to raise £150M by 2010.

5.7   The Phase II campaign concentrates on raising funds for a number of new initiatives. These
      include chair appointments, scholarships, campus and building projects, including a new library,
      improved and/or new sports facilities, and a joint teaching centre located at the Foresterhill
      campus in conjunction with NHS Grampian.

5.8   Our focus on providing excellent, sustainable infrastructure to support our activities remains
      constant. We have developed a ten-year infrastructure investment plan that quantifies,
      prioritises and integrates the physical and financial requirements necessary for achievement of
      our strategic aims and objectives. Over the next ten years we intend to invest over £200M in
      planned capital developments, financed from a mix of capital grants such as SRIF, LTIF, fund-
      raising, proceeds from asset sales, and borrowing. We remain committed to exploiting
      technological change to sustain and enhance delivery of pedagogy, research and to increase
      the efficiency and effectiveness of our administrative systems and processes.


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