Edinburgh strengthens North American commitment

The University is intensifying its long-standing links with North America by opening a liaison office in New York City.

The new base will aid collaboration between the University and its partners in education, business and government across Canada and the USA.

It will also provide a point of contact for prospective students and help strengthen ties with Edinburgh alumni in North America.

The office is the University's fourth overseas base, joining the India Office, China Office and the Office of The Americas, which works across Latin America.


Edinburgh's extensive links with North America are explored in this short film.

The University has 20,000 alumni, 2,500 students and their families, dozens of university partners and a widening circle of commercial partners in the US and Canada. Every day our deepening connections with them enable us to pursue opportunities - for applying our research, attracting financial support, recruiting new students, developing student internships - that we simply would not have from a distance. There is no substitute for being here.

Joanna StorrarExecutive Director, North American Office

Historic relationship

The University enjoy links with North America that date from the 17th century. Universities across Canada and the US were established and influenced by those with an Edinburgh education.

The University of Edinburgh possessed a set of truly great men, professors of several branches of knowledge, as have ever appeared in any age or country.

Benjamin FranklinOne of the Founding Fathers of the United States

Edinburgh is the most popular destination for UK-bound American students and is one of the top choices for Canadians choosing to study in the UK.

New scholarships

To mark the opening of the new office, the University is to fund two new scholarships to support outstanding students from North America.

The John Witherspoon Masters Scholarships - each worth up to $35,000 - will be available for students to study a postgraduate Masters degree in any field for the 2015-2016 academic year.

The scholarships are named in honour of one of the University’s most distinguished graduates. John Witherspoon transformed what would become Princeton University into a powerhouse of American learning, and was one of two Edinburgh graduates who signed the US Declaration of Independence.

North America is of immense importance to the University and I believe the opening of this new office will extend and deepen the already strong links we have across the USA and Canada. North American students make a vital contribution to life at Edinburgh and our research collaborations are helping address global challenges such as climate change, health, and economic development. The North American Office will help further with this important work.

Professor Sir Timothy O’SheaPrincipal, the University of Edinburgh


The University hosted a series of events in New York City to coincide with the launch. These included a review, by Professor Charlie Jeffery, of Scotland’s political landscape in the aftermath of the recent independence referendum, which saw Scots voting in favour of remaining part of the UK.

Other events included a demonstration, by Professor Harald Haas, of a new high-speed wireless technology called Li-Fi. The technology, developed by Professor Haas, uses light to send information securely and at far greater speed than traditional wi-fi.

The need to improve healthcare provision in developing countries, and to address environmental challenges, was the subject of a one-day conference, involving the University's Global Academies, partner foundations, governmental organisations, representatives from industry, and academic partner institutions.

Meanwhile, Scottish history professor Sir Tom Devine gave a talk examining the links between the University of Edinburgh and North America, entitled "Enemy or Friend? The Scottish factor in the origins of the USA."

Scotland’s unique low carbon innovation and education hub - the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) - will also have a presence at the new New York base. ECCI brings together governments, businesses, communities, students and academics to meet the challenges of creating a low carbon future and providing a forum for the exchange of ideas, innovation, skills and expertise. ECCI is based within the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences.