Cabinet Secretary Launches Crichton Institute

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell MSP officially launched a major new partnership for the south-west of Scotland at the Easterbrook Hall, Crichton Campus in Dumfries on Monday 11 March 2013 at 11am.

The Crichton Institute is a collaborative venture bringing together a number of academic and business partners, local government and regional development bodies and is being funded through a grant of almost £1M awarded by the Scottish Funding Council. Four priority themes will guide the initial focus of the Institute - the rural economy and skills development, community development and placemaking, the impacts of demographic change and influencing policy and practice.

Crichton Institute launch group

Speaking ahead of his visit, Mr Russell said: “This launch is significant as it will develop the existing good relationships the Crichton Institute has with business, the local community and other bodies in the south of Scotland to give students the best possible opportunities and deliver graduates ready to meet the needs of employers.

“Bringing together a wider range of experiences, expertise and ideas in this way has incredible potential and I am looking forward to visiting the campus.”

In August 2012 the Scottish Funding Council awarded a four-year funding package of £961,000 to the partner bodies to develop a programme of applied research, business engagement and policy development. In addition to this a Regional Observatory is to be established that will act as a one-stop access point for information, analysis and evaluation of opportunities and issues facing the area.

Mark Batho, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “The Funding Council is pleased to support this knowledge exchange venture at the Crichton Institute. As it will link academic and business partners and others to work on various important local challenges, this new collaboration will be of significant economic benefit to the Dumfries and Galloway region.”

Speaking on behalf of the campus partners Professor David Clark of the University of Glasgow, who currently chairs the Institute Executive Group, commented: “The concept of the Crichton Institute has been developing and adapting in recent years and, as part of that development, partners both on and off the campus have felt that we could do more to expand the ways in which the higher and further education institutions can better support the local community in the challenges they face in the rural south west. Economic, social and environmental issues are increasingly global in scale, but there is strong evidence that while many of the problems are global, some of the solutions are regional and local. To help that process of strong regional development however, you need a robust evidence based approach to business support, social policy and taking advantage of community development and environmental opportunities. This is what will drive the work of Crichton Institute and we are getting tremendous support from those we have been speaking to over the last 18 months as we prepared our funding bid.”

The Crichton Institute is a collaborative venture involving the University of Glasgow, University of the West of Scotland, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Dumfries and Galloway College and The Open University in Scotland. Wider strategic partners include Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Enterprise (South), Regional Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Federation, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Southern Uplands Partnership and the Crichton Carbon Centre.

  • The launch of the Crichton Institute by Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning will take place at 1100-1230 on Monday 11 March 2013 at Easterbrook Hall, Crichton Campus, Bankend Road, Dumfries DG1 4TA.
  • The following function directors of the Crichton Institute will be on site during the event: Professor David Clark, University of Glasgow and Chair of the Crichton Institute Executive Group; Dr Carol Hill, University of Glasgow and Director of Research at the Crichton Institute; Dr David Moyes, University of the West of Scotland and Director of Business Engagement at the Crichton Institute; Dr Sarah Skerratt, SRUC and Director of Policy at the Crichton Institute; Tony Fitzpatrick, University of Glasgow and Director of Regional Observatory at the Crichton Institute.
  • More information on the Institute can be found at
  • You are invited to send a representative and/or photographer/camera crew to the launch. Please advise the media team in advance – 0141 330 3535.

First published: 7 March 2013

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