Staff news

Court meeting: 17 February 2020

The following reports are summaries of a selection of items discussed and agreed at the meeting on 17 February.

Communications and Engagement on Student Experience

An update on how communications are supporting activities within the Student Experience Action Plan to improve the student experience was reviewed. The following points were raised in discussion:

  • the importance of communicating potentially disruptive building works;
  • working in partnership with the Students’ Association to develop Teviot Row as the heart of the Central Area;
  • uniting disparate projects under a common theme when communicating progress, e.g. using a single hashtag or strapline;
  • considering alumni volunteers as a channel of communication, e.g. alumni from widening participation backgrounds sharing experiences with current students from similar backgrounds;
  • enabling students to act in implementing actions in addition to a consultative ‘student voice’ role; and,
  • the interaction between staff and student experience activities, e.g. designing a new curriculum with the support of staff and students and empowering professional services staff in their work with students to the benefit of all.    

The update and examples in the paper of the communications approach for major projects was welcomed.


EUSA President’s Report

The Students’ Association President reported on recent developments including a student referendum on ceasing the sale of all beef products in Students’ Association venues. The motion was defeated, with 2,439 votes for and 3,378 against. Other recent developments included activities around National Student Money Week from 3-7 February, with many ideas received to make the city more affordable and a request from the Students’ Association that the University’s rent guarantor scheme is reviewed to improve flexibility. It was noted that rent guarantor scheme is sector-leading and is due for review having been in operation for four years


World Class Data Infrastructure IT Equipment Procurement

Procurement of Information Technology equipment for the City Region Deal’s World Class Data Infrastructure programme to be located at the newly named Edinburgh International Data Facility was approved.

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Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences

A funding request to deliver a new building for the Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences as one of the five innovation hubs funded by the City Region Deal was reviewed. Court approved funds from City Region Deal funding and University Resources to deliver the Usher Institute and noted the proposal to incorporate 1200sqm of shell space for future fit-out.

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Edinburgh BioQuarter: Route to Formalising Partnership Arrangements

A proposal to formalise the partnership between the University, Scottish Enterprise, the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian at the BioQuarter site at Little France was agreed.

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Queen’s Medical Research Institute (QMRI) 

Court approved funding from University Resources to deliver the QMRI Biomedical Research Facility refurbishment project at the BioQuarter campus.

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Peffermill Sports Village: Student Accommodation

Court approved funding from University Resources to deliver new student accommodation at Peffermill Sports Village and approved a request to the University of Edinburgh Estates Services Company to deliver the Peffermill Sports Village.

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41-45 Gilmore Place Student Accommodation

A refurbishment and new build opportunity on the site of a former nunnery and care home to form new student accommodation was considered. Noting that the local community council was supportive of the proposal and that a planning application would be bolstered by the University’s involvement, Court approved proceeding with the finalisation of Heads of Terms and Agreement to Lease documentation for entering into a lease for 41- 45 Gilmore Place.


Draft Ordinances: Academic Freedom; Removal of Court Members

Court considered the following draft Ordinances and approved their transmission for statutory consultation:

i) Ordinance No. 215: Amendment of Ordinance 208: Employment of Academic Staff; and,

ii) Ordinance No. 216: Removal of Members of the University Court.

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Other items

A regular update from the Director of Finance and reports from Court’s committees on activities being undertaken in support of Court were reviewed. Further information on the remit and work of Court and its Committees can be found online.

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