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Strathclyde University

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Strathclyde University

University of Strathclyde
Latin: universitas de strathclyde
Motto The Place of Useful Learning

1796 as Andersonian Institute;

1964 granted University Status by Royal Charter
as University of Strathclyde
Type Public
Endowment £ 23.7 million[1]
Chancellor Lord Hope of Craighead
Principal Professor Jim McDonald
Convenor of the Court Richard Hunter
Admin. staff 3,200
Students 19,755[2]
Undergraduates 14,070[2]
Postgraduates 5,685[2]
Location Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Campus Urban
More than 500 acres
(202+ ha)[3]








Affiliations ACU
Universities UK
Universities Scotland

The University of Strathclyde is a Scottish public research university located in Glasgow, Scotland. It is Glasgow's second university by age, being founded in 1796 as the Andersonian Institute, and receiving its Royal Charter in 1964 as the UK's first technological university. It takes its name from the historic Kingdom of Strathclyde and is characterised today by its approach of innovative, flexible learning concentrated on practical subjects, striving to fulfill the vision of a "place of useful learning".[4] The University of Strathclyde is Scotland's third largest university by number of students carrying an international reputation and outlook, with students and staff from over 100 countries.[5] The institution was awarded University of the Year 2012 by Times Higher Education.[6] The university is highly competitive and selective thus making entry a not so easy option; applications for a place into many of the courses in the university run into double figures, and successful entrants have on average of almost 460 UCAS points. This places Strathclyde as the 15th highest ranked among UK higher education institutions ("Entry Standards" – CUG University League Table 2014).[7]


The university was founded in 1796 through the will of Professor John Anderson, professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow who left instructions and the majority of his estate to create a second university in Glasgow which would focus on "Useful Learning" – specialising in practical subjects – "for the good of mankind and the improvement of science, a place of useful learning". The University later named its city centre campus after him.

In 1828, the institution was renamed Anderson's University, partially fulfilling Anderson's vision of two universities in the city of Glasgow. The name was changed in 1887, to reflect the fact that there was no legal authority for the use of the title of 'university'.[8] As a result the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College was formed, becoming the Royal Technical College in 1912, and the Royal College of Science and Technology in 1956 concentrating on science and engineering teaching and research. Undergraduate students could qualify for degrees of the University of Glasgow or the equivalent Associate of the Royal College of Science and Technology (ARCST).

Under Principal Samuel Curran, internationally respected nuclear physicist (and inventor of the scintillation counter), the Royal College gained University Status, receiving its Royal Charter to become The University of Strathclyde in 1964, merging with the Scottish College of Commerce at the same time. Contrary to popular belief, The University of Strathclyde was not created as a result of the Robbins Report – the decision to grant the Royal College university status had been made earlier in the 1960s[9] but delayed as a result of Robbins Report. The University of Strathclyde was the UK's first technological university reflecting its history, teaching and research excellence in technological education. In 1993, the University incorporated Jordanhill College of Education.

The university has developed its reputation and grown from approximately 4,000 full-time students in 1964 to over 20,000 students in 2003, when it celebrated the 100th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the original Royal College building.


Due to the massive changes that the University has undergone since its inception, it is essential to have a good knowledge of the changes that the university has undergone since it was founded. The timeline below can help one to trace the roots of the now modern university to its rich ancient heritage.

A brief chronology:[10][11][12]·         

  • 1796 - Anderson’s Institution founded.
  • 1799 - Anderson’s Medical School established.   
  • 1819 - Chair of Botany established.         
  • 1823 - The Glasgow Mechanics’ Institution succeeded the Anderson’s Institution to become the first Mechanics’ Institution possessing that name and the first in the world.         
  • 1825 - Chair of Mathematics established.         
  • 1830 - Chairs of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy separated.         
  • 1830 - The first public laboratory for teaching chemistry in Britain opened at the Glasgow Mechanics’ Institution.         
  • 1840 - Chair of Theory of Medicine established.         
  • 1843 - Allan Glen’s School founded.         
  • 1870 - Chair of Technical Chemistry established.         
  • 1875 - Chair of Applied Mechanics established.         
  • 1877 - Name changed to Anderson’s College.         
  • 1877 - Technical College (Weaving Branch) opened.         
  • 1880 - Mechanics’ Institution reorganised as a Technical College.         
  • 1881 - Name changed to College of Science and Arts.         
  • 1886 - Merger of Institutions to form the Technical College.         
  • 1887 - Chair of Metallurgy established.         
  • 1889 - Anderson’s College Medical School, Partick, opened.         
  • 1891 - Chair of Agriculture opened. 

The university has undergone numerous name changes since its foundation for various reasons. The various titles that attached to the Andersonian Institution are as follows:    

  • Anderson’s Institution - 1798 to 1828        
  • Anderson’s College Medical School - 1800+       
  • Anderson’s University - 1828 to 1877         
  • Technical College Weaving Branch - 1877+         
  • Anderson’s College - 1877 to 1887         
  • Mechanics’ Institution and College of Science and Arts - 1823 to 1887         
  • Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College - 1887 to 1912
  • Royal Technical College - 1912 to 1956
  • Royal College of Science and Technology - 1956 to 1964
  • University of Strathclyde - 1964 to Present


 Since taking over the Jordanhill college in 1993, the University operated two campuses -  The John Anderson Campus and the Jordanhill campus until 2012 when the Jordanhill campus was closed and everything was moved to the John Anderson Campus.

The centrepiece building has long been the massive Royal College Building. Started in 1903 and completed in 1912, it was partially opened in 1910 and at the time was the largest educational building in Europe for technical education. Originally built as the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College Building, it now houses Bioscience, Chemistry, and Electronic and Electrical Engineering. The building is currently undergoing major internal renovation following the relocation of the Pharmacology and Bioscience departments to new accommodation in the John Arbuthnott (SIPBS) building, and the installation of a new heating system.

Meanwhile, a new biomedical sciences building was opened in early 2010. It was designed by Shepparrd Robson, and is a purpose-built centre which aims to bring the multi-faceted disciplines of the Institute together under one roof. The building is central to the Institute’s aims of delivering speedier, more efficient drug discovery in a pioneering, world-class centre for research and development. Sited on Cathedral Street in Glasgow, the 8,000m2 building is the gateway to the University campus and city centre from the motorway.

The James Weir Building is currently undergoing reconstruction after a serious fire resulted in many rooms being unusable.[13]

The Architecture Building, completed in 1967, is considered to be the best post-war building on campus. It was designed by Frank Fielden and Associates, Frank Fielden being the Professor of Architecture in the Architecture School at the time. The Architects Journal Magazine at the time highly praised this building for its restraint in the choice of materials and its organisational of the programe within the constraints of a difficult site. In 2012, Historic Scotland granted Listed Building Status (grade B) to it, along with the Wolfson Building designed by Morris and Steedman Architects. 2012 also saw the 20th Century Society select the Architecture Building as their 'Building of the Month' for September due to its cultural significance and enduring appeal.[14]

Faculties and departments

The university currently consists of four main faculties categorised based on subjects and academic fields that they deal with and each faculty is sub divided into several departments which deal with specific academic and research areas.[15] They are:

The university delivers teaching to over 25,000 full-time and part-time students: 15,000 undergraduates and 10,000 postgraduates. Another 34,000 people take part in continuing education and professional development programmes. The university's main campus, John Anderson Campus, is located in the centre of Glasgow, near George Square. Till 2012, the University operated an education campus in the suburb of Jordanhill, at the site of the previous Jordanhill Teacher Training College which it disposed off and relocated to a new building in the John Anderson Campus. In January 2012, The University’s Court also endorsed the recommendation of the Estates Steering Group that Strathclyde moves to a single campus by disposing of the entire Jordanhill site and constructing a new building for the Faculty of Educationon the John Anderson campus.[16]

Strathclyde is the only Scottish university that offers the IET Power Academy engineering scholarships to its engineering students.[17]

Rankings and reputation

(2013/14, national)
(2013/14, world)
(2013/14, world)
(2014, national)
The Guardian[21]
(2014, national)
Times/Sunday Times[22]
(2014, national)

The university ranks among the top 50 of the UK RAE league table published by the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES),[23] Although it did rank much higher in a number of areas in the same newspaper article – 8th in the UK for Pharmacy, 12th for Business and management studies, 17th for Chemistry, 13th for Law, 21st for Electrical and Electronic Engineering and 12th for Allied health professions and studies.

Strathclyde is recognised as one of the UK’s leading international technological universities, and prides itself on partnership with the public and private sectors. This vision is being realised through the University’s plans for an £89-million Technology and Innovation Centre, to transform the way academics, industry and the business community work together to solve global challenges from climate change to disease, and bring major employers to the University’s doorstep. The University of Strathclyde’s research power and its continuing growth in its areas of strategic importance were confirmed by the latest Research Assessment Exercise (2008). Strathclyde Business School has been rated top in Scotland by a wide margin, and rated in the top 10 UK-wide, with 65% of staff classed as world class (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). Other areas that performed impressively were Chemistry (joint submission with Glasgow University under the WestChem research pooling), Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Law, Mechanical Engineering (incorporating staff from Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management), Pharmacy (Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences). Overall, around 50% of Strathclyde staff were rated as world leading or internationally excellent in the RAE 2008. In 2011 the University’s Advanced Forming Research Centre was announced as a leading partner in the first UK-wide Technology Strategy Board Catapult Centre. The high value manufacturing centre will allow business and industry to commercialise the results of world-class research, and provide routes to new, high-tech markets. The Government also announced that the University is to lead the UK-wide EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation. The collaborative initiative involving leading academics and industrialists is seeking quicker, more effective and more sustainable methods of manufacturing products such as medicines, foodstuffs, dyes, pigments and nanomaterials. The University has become the base for the first Fraunhofer Centre to be established in the UK. Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest organisation for contract research, is creating the new Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in collaboration with Strathclyde, for research in sectors including healthcare, security, energy and transport. It will also base its UK headquarters at the University.Strathclyde was chosen in 2012 as the exclusive European partner university for South Korea’s global research and commercialisation programme – the Global Industry-Academia Cooperation Programme, funded by South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge and Economics. This year (2012) the University became a key partner in its second UK Catapult Centre. Plans for the Catapult Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy were announced at Strathclyde by Business Secretary Vince Cable. The University has also become a partner in the Industrial Doctorate Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy, which is one of 11 doctoral centres at Strathclyde. Engineers at the University are leading the €4 million, Europe-wide Stardust project, a research-based training network investigating the removal of space debris and the deflection of asteroids, and the first programme of its kind in the world. Strathclyde has become part of the new ESRC Enterprise Research Centre, a £2.9 million venture generating world-class research to help stimulate growth for small and medium sized enterprises.[5]

Entrepreneurship is a key aspect of the university's research, integrated into every discipline and at all levels of study. In specific areas, Strathclyde leads the way in renewable energy, pharmaceutical and biomedical research, government and politics, electrical and mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering.The University has pioneering centres in pharmacy, drug delivery and development, micro and ultrasonic engineering, biophotonics and photonics, biomedical engineering, medical devices, new therapies,prosthetics and orthotics, public health history, law,crime and justice and social work.The University is involved in 11 partnerships with other universities through the Scottish Funding Councils’ Research Pooling Programme, covering areas such as engineering, life sciences, energy, marine science and technology, physics, chemistry, computer sciences and economics. Several Strathclyde staff have been elected to Fellowships in the Royal Societies of Edinburgh and London, among the UK’s most prestigious honours.[24]

Notable academics and alumni

See also List of University of Strathclyde people

See also

Notes and references

External links

  • University of Strathclyde website
  • David Livingstone Center for Sustainability website
  • Livingstone Tower
  • Glasgow Digital Library at the University of Strathclyde
  • Strathclyde Students' Union website
  • University of Strathclyde Students' Association
  • EDWARD VII LAYS FOUNDATION STONE (1903) (archive film of King Edward VII laying the foundation stone for the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College (University of Strathclyde) – from the National Library of Scotland: SCOTTISH SCREEN ARCHIVE)

Coordinates: 55°51′42.18″N 04°14′30.1194″W / 55.8617167°N 4.241699833°W / 55.8617167; -4.241699833

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