Universities call for reversal of government funding cut


ABERDEEN’S two universities have called for the Scottish Government to reverse their £28.5m funding cut in a joint letter.

It follows Robert Gordon University (RGU) launching a voluntary redundancy scheme aimed at plugging an £18m black hole faced by the institution.

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Meanwhile, the University of Aberdeen has faced backlash for trying to find savings in the modern languages department.

The letter, written by Professor Steve Olivier, principal and vice-chancellor of RGU, and Professor George Boyne, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, reads: “These cuts in our public funding have direct consequences, including stymying our universities’ contributions to growing the economy, to meeting regional and national skills needs, to jobs and to research activity.

“Universities cannot continue to deliver the wide-ranging contributions expected of us with this continuing downward trajectory of public funding, which is clearly unsustainable.”

The Scotsman has reported that RGU, along with a number of other modern universities, was hit hardest with its teaching, research and innovation budget being slashed by £1.8m

The University of Aberdeen made a cut in the same budget, but was the only one of Scotland’s four ancient universities to do so.

RGU is facing funding cuts of £381,000 due to the withdrawal of the Upskilling Fund, while the University of Aberdeen is facing a £620,000 cut from the same pot.

The latter also highlighted a £1.6m reduction from the main teaching grant, while RGU has lost out on £704,674 linked to the Scottish Teachers Pension Scheme contribution.

Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative education spokesman and MSP for the North-east region, said: “This is an extremely rare, but important intervention from distinguished Scots universities.

“RGU, Aberdeen University and higher education institutions across Scotland are crying out for additional funding from the SFC (Scottish Funding Council).

“The recent crisis in modern languages is only the tip of the iceberg, judging by the alarms these institutions have sounded.”

Higher education minister Graeme Dey claimed universities told him the biggest threat facing them was the immigration rhetoric coming from Westminster.

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