Issued: Wed, 11 May 2005 00:00:00 BST

Future Shape: Latest Progress
I would like to update you on further important progress in building a sustainably academically excellent future for the University.

I discussed with Court today the proposals which faculties and AIMS had come forward with for promoting academic excellence while achieving the cost savings required to put the University on a sustainable footing. As I explained to Court and to staff in March, we cannot continue to run an operating deficit as we have for the last 10 years, and we cannot continue to operate on the basis of relying on borrowing and on disposal of assets to fund our operations.

Court welcomed the fact that faculties and AIMS had come forward with plans which balanced ambitious investments in excellence with the necessary scale of cost control. They also welcomed the balanced approach we were taking to the distribution of savings targets, which ensures that areas of academic strength are safeguarded and developed while we reduce our commitment of resources to administration and to areas of academic work which are not sustaining our international competitiveness.

Court agreed that the University should now consult staff representatives about the terms of a targeted voluntary severance scheme to help put the University on a financially sustainable footing, so that we can free up an increasing resource for investment in excellence. Subject to the necessary consultations, I expect Deans and the Secretary of Court to write to all staff before the end of the month inviting expressions of interest in a voluntary severance scheme. The details of the scheme, once finalised, will by published by the Director of Human Resources. It will be particularly intended for colleagues in areas which faculties and AIMS have decided to reduce the commitment of resources to, and at helping colleagues whose skills or aspirations are now less aligned with the University's requirements to move on. I very much hope that, through this scheme, we can achieve the necessary scale of savings without resorting to compulsory means.

In parallel, we are pressing ahead with investments in our areas of strength. For instance,

  • We are building our interdisciplinary strength in the understanding of the human mind through the recruitment of 7 new research-active staff and investment in state-of-the-art cognitive neuroimaging equipment.
  • We are investing in new research-active appointments in Education.
  • We are filling two key engineering professorships, in Electrical and Aerospace engineering.
  • We are complementing our major investment in biomedical facilities with investment in key appointments, including the Mechan Chair in public health.
  • We are committed to investment to improve our student environment, including improved teaching spaces and student support services.
I am conscious that, for some of us, this will be a time of some change and uncertainty. I am, however, confident that for most staff we are heading into a strong and successful time for the University of Glasgow, when we have a clear idea of our world-class strengths and are securing the financial base which we need to invest in excellence.

Muir Russell, Principal

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