A Vision for higher education in 2030

We've developed a Vision for Scotland's higher education sector in 2030.

We want higher education to exceed expectations and play a central part in creating a better future. The Vision is centered around the contribution we want higher education to make to learners, to society, to the economy and to Scotland’s place in the world.

It considers some of the major drivers of change over the next ten years and sets out higher education’s role in shaping and responding to them.

Our goal, by 2030, is to ensure that Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions are:

1. A world leader in education, research and innovation.
2. A vital source of strength in a competitive, connected and collaborative world.
3. A core part of Scotland’s identity as a prosperous, inclusive and outward-looking nation.

Read our Vision & get involved

The Vision sets out a direction for what we can do for learners

Drivers of change include:

* Increased need for people to re-skill during their careers.
* Workers will need a wide variety of aptitudes that reach beyond subject knowledge.
* Technological advances in how learning can take place.

Building the future we want by 2030:

* Learning is highly individualised, with learners progressing through school, college & university at the pace and in the place that meets their needs.
* Learners routinely learn from multiple academic disciplines to develop the broad attributes and knowledge needed to succeed in multiple careers over their lives.
* Learners from every part of society have equal access to higher education.
* Every learner knows that their wellbeing is a priority for the university community.

Putting the Vision into action now.

Edinburgh Napier University is introducing data skills into its nursing degrees to ensure the next generation of nurses know how to make full use of data to support patients.

This is part of the Data Driven Innovation Skills Gateway’s goal to improve data skills across the workforce.

What we can do for society

Drivers of change include:

* The demographic challenge of growing our high-skill working-age population
* Accelerated progression to a low-carbon society
* Societal trends including worldwide migration patterns and the need to balance the population with available resources

Building the future we want by 2030:

* Higher education is at the heart of solutions to demographic challenges; upskilling our existing population and attracting new talent to Scotland.
* Universities are anchor institutions, regenerating communities through research expertise and the creation of jobs and opportunities.
* We are leading research and practice to tackle major challenges facing society from child development to healthy ageing.

Putting the Vision into action now.

“Our researchers are breaking new ground, looking at plastics in the ocean and the impact on the marine environment. The research we do influences policy and makes a real difference.”

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal at the University of Stirling

Read more.

What we can do for Scotland's economy

Drivers of change include:

* Increased global competition.
* Addressing Scotland’s productivity challenge.
* Enabling more SMEs to become innovative and scale up.
* Increased attraction of foreign direct investment.

Building the future economy we want by 2030:

* Universities have made Scotland the ‘go-to’ place for businesses who seek talent and creativity.
* Our business schools are deeply connected with SMEs to support their leadership and innovative capacity.
* Universities are fully agile in meeting the re-skilling needs of people in the workforce through degrees, work-based learning and bespoke professional development.

Putting the Vision into action now:

Four Scottish universities are closely involved in the Quantumn Technologies Programme and one of the four Quantum hubs, QuantIC, is based at the University of Glasgow. Quantum technology looks to take electronics beyond electrons to atoms and sub-atomic particles, making it smaller and faster and opening up a huge range of new opportunities.

Glasgow’s QuantIC hub puts a heavy emphasis on answering the “so what?” questions such as “What competitive edge will we gain?”. A £4 million fund is controlled by a Market Opportunities Panel of representatives from across industry to evaluate the project’s applications.

Read more.

What we can do for Scotland's place in the world

Drivers of change include:

* The UN Sustainable Development Goals on food security, health, elimination of poverty and living within the environmental capacity of our planet.
* Realignment of Scotland and the UK’s international relationships in the aftermath of Brexit.
* Changed patterns in the way people choose to study: a likely deceleration in the demand for UK-based education by international students.

Building the future we want by 2030:

* Our research and education has made a crucial contribution to addressing world-wide sustainability challenges.
* University research and education is a key export industry as synonymous with Scotland as it’s whisky and salmon already are.
* We are leaders in delivering our higher education in partner nations, based on our tradition of excellence and inclusion

Putting the Vision into action now:

International partnerships will always be important to higher education whatever happens with the UK’s future political relationships and it’s important we invest time in building such connections. June’s Going Global conference in Berlin was a great opportunity to develop links with universities and business in Germany and has already generated in some encouraging new research and innovation leads.

Read our Vision & get involved