Scotland’s Rural College, SRUC, has announced plans to become a new rural university by 2022.
The college says the first stage of the transformation will be the move to a faculty-based model and a phased withdrawal over four years from campuses at Riverside in Ayr and Crichton in Dumfries.
The three new faculties are: the Faculty of Agri-Food & Business, which covers the Craibstone campus in Aberdeen and the Elmwood campus in Cupar; the Faculty of Rural Science & Policy, based in Edinburgh and the Lothians; and the Faculty of Pasture-based Agriculture, Forestry and Biorefining at the Barony campus in Dumfries.
SRUC also revealed plans for a potential £35 million investment into its Barony campus, with the creation of a new state-of-the-art centre, pending business-case approval from the Scottish Funding Council.
“This investment is the first major step in our transformational growth to Scotland’s new rural university,” said SRUC chief executive and principal, Professor Wayne Powell.
“It is exciting and full of opportunity for teaching, applied research, the rural economy and Scotland as a whole.
“The decisions that we have made, and will implement over the next few years, are all the result of significant research and analysis.
“They will best serve our commitment to educational excellence, which in turn will develop the skills required for a vibrant rural economy in 21st Century Scotland.”
He said the three faculties would enable the college to bring skills and sectors together, and to strategically deliver an “integrated, sustainable model for growth”.
Professor Powell added: “The transformation programme will be delivered in close consultation with our people, partners and other stakeholders.
“Importantly, as we are implementing these plans over several years, our current students will be unaffected.”
He continued: “I am looking forward to working with communities across Scotland to deliver a new rural university of which everyone can be proud.”