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RGU to boost north-east economic development with new appointment

Donella Beaton takes on new role as RGU's vice-principal economic development
Donella Beaton takes on new role as RGU's vice-principal economic development

Robert Gordon University (RGU) has announced plans to support the recovery of the local economy with the appointment of a vice principal who will be focused on regional economic development.

Donella Beaton, 58, has taken on a beefed-up role in order to spearhead the university’s commitment to support the recovery of the region’s communities and businesses post-pandemic, while also grappling with the implications of a low carbon future.

As vice-principal economic development, Ms Beaton will help to ensure the university is aligned to support organisations as they respond to these challenges and opportunities.

RGU’s ‘long, strong’ history of support

Professor Steve Olivier, RGU’s principal & vice-chancellor, said: “Supporting organisations and stimulating economic development is firmly embedded in our strategy.

“We have a long, strong history in this area, led in the last few years by Donella, and this is the latest stride in our journey, paving the way for new and exciting developments.

RGU principal Professor Steve Olivier

“Donella brings a strong business background to this new position and is deeply passionate about the university’s role in the region, working with business and organisations to help grow the economy and thereby providing opportunity to enhance the prosperity and quality of life for all”.

Previously the associate vice president for business and economic development, Ms Beaton started at RGU in 2012. Since then she has been involved in the development of a number of initiatives, including graduate apprenticeships, online upskilling courses, RGU Knowledge Bites for Business – a free online resource, as well as the expansion of the role of RGU’s entrepreneurship and innovation group and a significant increase in RGU’s provision of government-funded support for businesses.

Not all of her activities have been in the region. She has also developed partnerships with governments, businesses and other institutions in countries including Algeria, Japan, Mexico and Switzerland.

Prior to joining RGU, Ms Beaton was managing director of Canan, an award-winning communications and training company, which was originally a start-up from Gaelic college, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, on the Isle of Skye.

Robert Gordon University

Ms Beaton said: “By appointing a vice principal economic development, RGU really demonstrates its long-standing commitment and ambition for the region as well as to growing its international presence.

“With a great team around me, I’m excited to be in a position where we can enhance and expand our strategic partnerships, which are key to supporting economic growth and to ensuring that the recovery benefits all.”

Region’s role in the climate emergency

She added: “In the years ahead, being responsive and maintaining and growing these collaborations, while ensuring that the university’s own strategic developments are informed by industry and other key organisations, will be paramount.

“This will be even more important in this region, which will have a key role to play in the country’s response to the climate emergency.”

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