Edinburgh earned as much as all Scots universities

EDINBURGH University earned roughly the same as every other institution in Scotland combined through investments and endowments last year, new figures show.
Edinburgh students benefit from income growth. Picture: Jane BarlowEdinburgh students benefit from income growth. Picture: Jane Barlow
Edinburgh students benefit from income growth. Picture: Jane Barlow

Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) obtained by The Scotsman show the university earned £17.5 million last year, compared to the £19.5m earned jointly by its 17 competitors.

The financial might of the university is further highlighted in a series of figures which show the institution earned roughly a third (£200m) of research grants and contracts in Scotland in 2012-13 and a fifth (£204m) of funding body grants.

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Net income was £737m, way ahead of its nearest competitor, Glasgow University with £468m.

Last week, Edinburgh was named as Scotland’s sole representative in the top 100 of the annual World Reputation Rankings, a league table based on the opinions of senior academics.

The HESA figures suggest there is a growing financial divide between the institution and its Scottish competitors and that the university’s ability to attract endowments is further strengthening its position.

The £17.5m in endowments and investments in 2012-13 represents a 39 per cent increase on the £12.7m received the previous year. Glasgow University, which is of similar size in terms of student numbers, made £7.5m, while St Andrews earned roughly £3m and Aberdeen £1m.

Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, said: “The University of Edinburgh is a large and highly successful institution attracting significant sums of competitively won income and making an important contribution to Scotland.

“But it is not Scotland’s only world-leading university nor does its size, income or achievements overshadow those of other institutions, all of whom excel in aspects of teaching and research.

“Scotland is fortunate to have a university sector that, whilst competitive on many fronts, also displays a strong sense of collegiality and collaboration which only serves to strengthen the sector as a whole.”

Last week figures showed Edinburgh received £174m in tuition fees and education contracts – the highest amount of any Scottish institution and up from around £150m the previous year.

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Glasgow University received the second highest amount (£110m), while the figures for Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews were £47m, £40m and £63m respectively.

Despite its wealth, Edinburgh was last year highlighted as the biggest user of zero-hours contracts among UK universities.

Research by the University and College Union (UCU), which represents lecturers, found universities were more likely than other workplaces to use the practice.

Of the universities that replied to a UK-wide Freedom of Information (FoI) request, Edinburgh was found to have 2,712 people on zero-hours contracts, 2,382 in teaching and research posts. Glasgow University employed 477 staff on the contracts.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh University said: “The university’s strong financial performance enables us to deliver world-leading research and to focus on the quality of the experience we provide for our students.”