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Friday, June 21, 2024

UHI Launches New Islands Strategy for 2024-2029

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The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has published its second Islands Strategy (2024-2029), reaffirming its commitment to island communities.

The document sets out how UHI will work with partners to extend and strengthen its activities across Orkney, Shetland, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Bute and Arran. 

Key objectives for the Islands Strategy include supporting the creation and retention of a highly skilled workforce across the islands; increasing postgraduate and research provision; contributing to the delivery of the both the Islands Growth Deals and the Argyll and Bute Growth Deal; supporting our islands’ languages and dialects, including Gaelic; and attracting new activity and people to the islands and to be based in the islands.

The outcomes will be impactful, working with local communities to drive sustainable development and transition to net zero.

The strategy aims to secure and attract funding to support local businesses and to stimulate demand in key areas that will help attract new talent and create opportunities, reducing the need for people to move away, particularly for education and training. 

To achieve these goals, UHI will progress significant, purposeful and ongoing engagement with key stakeholders, including the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council, as well as local councils and economic development agencies. 

Professor Neil Simco, Deputy Principal Academic and Research at UHI, explains: 

“This is an exciting and energising time for Scotland’s islands but there are significant challenges too.

“As the only university with a physical base and delivering a tertiary educational offer within each of the island groupings, UHI is inspired to deepen its engagement in the islands, to make an incisive contribution to the sustainable and inclusive development of the islands in new and innovative ways.”

Professor Seonaidh McDonald, UHI Orkney Principal, added:

“UHI Orkney welcomes the UHI Islands Strategy, which recognises what is important about our island economies and communities and looks to serve them through impactful education and research.

“The strategy’s key themes resonate strongly with the Orkney Islands Council strategic priorities of growing our economy and strengthening our communities”

Professor Jane Lewis, UHI Shetland Principal and CEO, said: 

“UHI Shetland are delighted to see the UHI Islands Strategy address some of the key issues facing island communities, and how impactful education and research can be in an island setting.

“We will continue to work with key partners and stakeholders across the islands to deliver impactful research, learning and training to the benefit of the community of Shetland.”

Lydia Rohmer, Principal and Chief Executive of UHI North, West and Hebrides said:

“The Islands Strategy fully aligns to our purpose as a new college representing the Outer Hebrides, North and West Highlands.

“It reaffirms our commitment to our island communities and the strong desire we have to strengthen our engagement and to support economic development through impactful learning and teaching, research, and knowledge exchange.

“The strategy also addresses key issues facing island communities, while recognising the significant opportunities open to our communities through renewable energy investment and the Islands Growth Deal.”

Islands Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“I welcome the publication of this strategy and the leadership shown by UHI in providing the skills and knowledge required to strengthen resilience and economic growth on our islands.

“UHI will be an important partner as the Scottish Government commences work on the development of a second National Islands Plan, which will assist our continued pursuit of improving wellbeing and sustainability for our island communities.”
To view the UHI Islands Strategy, visit www.uhi.ac.uk/publications

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