Research & facilities

Glasgow is home to both world-class universities and further education colleges.

Glasgow has the highest student population in Scotland with nearly 133,000 studying at any given time.  It has the second-largest number of higher education students (undergraduate and postgraduate) in the UK. Glasgow universities graduate upwards of 20,000 annually.

Glasgow’s universities are:

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow, the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world, is among the top 1% of global research universities and sits in the top 75 in clinical medicine and pharma, according to the 2016 Shanghai Index. It is likewise highly respected and well-renowned in a broad base of diverse subject areas for being within the UK’s top 5 for accounting and finance, cancer studies and art history and in the top 10 for aerospace and aeronautical engineering, cardiovascular medicine, computer science, physics, dentistry, electrical and electronic engineering and infection and immunity. The veterinary school is jointly rated best in the UK, and the nanotechnology fabrication facility is rated as the best in Europe. Other accolades include QS World University Rankings 2018 stating that University of Glasgow is 65th in the world.

The university is a member of the Russell Group, a founding member of Universitas 21 and a member of IRUN (International Research Universities Network). Notable alumni include Lord Kelvin and Adam Smith.

For every £1 received from the Scottish public sector budget more than £8 is generated for the Scottish economy at the University of Glasgow.

More than 23,000 are studying at the university each year, graduating 7,000 annually.

Research at University of Glasgow

  • 11 research institutes
  • More than 2,000 active researchers and 75% of academic staff contributing to research rated as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • Research in cancer studies and accounting and finance rated in the UK top 5 (Research Assessment Exercise, 2008)
  • Ranked 14th in the Research Fortnight’s RAE 2008 Power Table

Facilities at University of Glasgow

  • James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (photonics, nanotechnology)
  • Kelvin Nanocharacterisation Centre

University of Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde, a leading technology university, has been active in offering teaching and research as well as partnerships with business and industry for more than 200 years. The university was named the 2012 University of the Year (in the UK) by the Times Higher Education Awards.

The university has 4 faculties – the Strathclyde Business School, engineering, science, and humanities and social sciences. All of these departments work in close cooperation with non-academic entities, such as business, industry and government, and the University leads the way in bringing technology and innovation from academia to more everyday applications. The business school is the only business school in Scotland to be triple-accredited (by the AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS).

For every £1 received from the Scottish public sector budget more than £8 was generated for the Scottish Economy at the University of Strathclyde. The economic impact of the University for 2012/13 was estimated at £276.5 million of GVA for Glasgow. This increases to £523.3 million of GVA for Glasgow when the future productivity of graduates is factored in to the calculation.

Almost 21,000 students are currently attending University of Strathclyde with about 6,000 graduates each year.

Research at University of Strathclyde

  • Strathclyde is home to several research centres and institutes that broadly support Glasgow’s key business sectors: energy & the environment, health technologies & new drugs, business innovation & efficiency, new technologies, devices, materials & systems, society & education.
  • Enjoys top honours in Scotland for engineering research power (RAE, 2008)
  • Design and Manufacturing and Engineering Management activities rated top in Scotland (RAE, 2008)
  • The Advanced Forming Research Centre is a leading partner in the Catapult Centre for High Value Manufacturing
  • Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
  • Power Networks Demonstration Centre
  • Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, a £36 million research centre focused on developing new medicines is located at University of Strathclyde.
  • In 2014, the university became the home to and responsible for the £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre.
  • The University of Strathclyde is home to the UK’s first Fraunhofer Centre and will serve as both the UK headquarters and the Centre for Applied Photonics, which will provide laser research and associated technologies for a variety of sectors, including security, healthcare, energy and transport.

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has campuses in Glasgow, London and New York, providing university education with a global reach. This global presence has enabled the university to build key strategic partnerships across the world, including in China, India, Bangladesh, Oman, South Africa, the US and South America. Glasgow Caledonian University consists of 3 separate schools – the School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow School for Business and Society and the School of Engineering and Built Environment. The university, combining the academic base and the institution’s research and partnership work, contributes an annual £444 million to the Scottish economy.

Several unique factors distinguish GCU from other Scottish universities. It is a Centre of Excellence with the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, for example. Also, the BA programme in multimedia journalism is accredited by both the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC).GCU also has the UK’s only Honours degree in risk management.

As a tangible example of GCU’s real-world partnerships and collaboration, the university facilitated the launch of Grameen in the UK, which is a microlending platform based on the Grameen Bank, founded by GCU’s Chancellor and Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Muhammad Yunus. This initiative has helped to alleviate poverty across the world with its microlending programmes.

GCU has more than 16,000 students enrolled with approximately 5,000 graduating each year.

Research at Glasgow Caledonian University

  • GCU is also home to 3 research institutes, focused on delivering applied research that have real-world impact in society.
  • GCU is ranked number one in Scotland and in the top ten in the UK for its allied health research.
  • In the top 20 for research in the built and natural environment.
  • World-leading expertise in condition monitoring and instrumentation as well as energy efficient materials and construction technologies.

Facilities at Glasgow Caledonian University

  • GCU has cutting-edge laboratories for the exploration of advanced 3D digital visualisation and interaction technologies.
  • The eMotion lab offers the ability to simulate operations in a virtual world, with user-centred interaction design research.
  • GCU is home to a specialist lab for the rapid detection and classification of bacteria, particularly as it pertains to food safety.

Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow School of Art is one of Europe’s leading creative arts institutions, offering education and research possibilities in fine art, design and architecture. The school is one of the UK’s oldest art institutions and has one of the largest international student communities. Part of its appeal is its studio-based, hands-on learning and teaching. The school is also well supported by the wider Glasgow creative community and initiatives that aim to capitalize on Glasgow’s artistic renown. The school has produced three Turner Prize winners in the past decade.

About 2,000 students are in attendance each year.

Research at Glasgow School of Art

  • Institute of Design Innovation
  • Digital Design Studio
  • Centre for Advanced Textiles
  • Glasgow Urban Lab
  • Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) is the only such UK institution offering music, drama and dance. The conservatory was founded in 1847 by Charles Dickens with the aim of training premiere artists in dance, drama, music, production and screen. The RCS has unparalleled quality in its facilities and offers more than 600 performances per year. The cultural offer is the most significant in the UK after that offered by London (Myerscough 2011).

Approximately 1,000 students are in attendance each year.

Research & facilities at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

  • National Centre for Research in the Performing Arts (NCRPA)
  • Centre for Voice in Performance

Further Education Colleges

The Glasgow Colleges are integral to developing the talent pool in Glasgow, reaching more than 60,000 students annually. This represents a staggering 22% of all further education taking place in Scotland.

Between 2010 and 2013, Glasgow merged 10 colleges into 3 ‘super’ college campuses. These are:

The City of Glasgow College has been renovated at a total cost of £228 million, creating two new state-of-the-art campuses, one in the city centre and the other on the banks of the River Clyde which accommodate 40,000 students and 1,200 staff.


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