The strategic role that universities play in building a successful Scotland, economically, socially and culturally, was the subject of this year’s annual Universities Scotland event, held in the Scottish Parliament.
Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) showcased the work of the Common Good First initiative and the positive economic impact which the University has on the Scottish and UK economy.
GCU’s Director of Digital Collaboration Julie Adair and Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Development, presented on behalf of the University.
The event was sponsored by Ross Greer MSP and attended by Scottish universities, parliamentarians, and the Minister for Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Sommerville MSP.
The Common Good First initiative is a digital exchange of grassroots solutions to pressing social problems both in the UK and around the world. Following a successful pilot, GCU worked with the University of Johannesburg to identify community projects in Glasgow and the Gauteng province in South Africa, it was awarded a €1m Eramus+award to become a community driven global network by sharing innovative approaches to social challenges between GCU and its partner institutions in South Africa, Spain, Norway, Iceland and Demark.
Professor John Lennon discussed GCU’s economic impact. The University generates nearly £1billion to the UK economy and supports 14,000 jobs, as reported in an independent report by BiGGAR Economic Impact 2013/14 .
In an address to universities, the Minister discussed the importance of the higher education sector to the Scottish economy and wider society. She said: “The quality of higher education in Scotland is something I, and I’m sure everyone here, is also proud of and rightly so.
“Scotland enjoys a reputation as a world leader in education. It is an outward-looking and inclusive country, epitomised by the diversity of our autonomous higher education institutions and the people who study, research and work in them.”