Heriot-Watt University (Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Heriot-Watt) is a public research university based in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was established in 1821 as the School of Arts of Edinburgh, the world's first mechanics' institute, and subsequently granted university status by royal charter in 1966. It is the eighth oldest higher education institute in the UK. The name Heriot-Watt was taken from Scottish inventor James Watt and Scottish philanthropist and goldsmith George Heriot.Known for its focus on science and engineering, it is one of the 39 old universities in the UK comprising the second cluster of elite universities after Oxbridge.Our journeyFrom a pioneering institute born out of the Scottish Enlightenment, today we are shaping the world, a global university, a leader in transnational education. Echoing our founding principles of tailoring our curriculum to the needs of modern society, we are a powerful driver of the economy wherever we are in the world. In all of our communities we create a distinct university experience, a springboard for an international career.Heriot-Watt was established as the School of Arts of Edinburgh by Scottish businessman Leonard Horner on 16 October 1821. Having been inspired by Anderson's College in Glasgow, Horner established the School to provide practical knowledge of science and technology to Edinburgh's working men. The institution was initially of modest size, giving lectures two nights a week in rented rooms and boasting a small library of around 500 technical works. It was also oversubscribed, with admissions soon closing despite the cost of 15 shillings for a year's access to lectures and the library.The School was managed by a board of eighteen directors and primarily funded by sponsors from the middle and upper classes including Robert Stevenson and Walter Scott. It first became associated with the inventor and engineer James Watt in 1824, as a means of raising funds to secure permanent accommodation. Justifying the association, School Director Lord Cockburn said:"The building] shall be employed for the accommodation of the Edinburgh School of Arts; whereby the memory of Watt may forever be connected with the promotion, among a class of men to which he himself originally belonged, of those mechanical arts from which his own usefulness and glory arose. "In 1837, the School of Arts moved to leased accommodation on Adam Square, which it was able to purchase in 1851 thanks to funds raised in Watt's name. In honour of the purchase, the School changed its name to the Watt Institution and School of Arts in 1852.We are globalWe have five campuses across the world: Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia, as well as 53 Approved Learning Partners (ALPs) and educational collaborative partners in 150 countriesWe have over 29,000 students studying with us at our campuses and online through distance learning (year end 2017)One third of our on-campus students studying in Scotland are from outside the UK, making Heriot-Watt one of the most internationally diversified of any UK universityStrategic Plan 2019 – 2025Our strategy is based on our heritage, our expertise, our relevance, and our global presence. Inspired by hundreds of hours of engagement with our entire multi-campus community, our new strategy is the culmination of a global conversation about our future. Shaping Tomorrow Together is a values-led strategy seeking to embed our four guiding values – inspire, collaborate, belong and celebrate - into everything we do.Focused on our vision for excellence, our mission to benefit society, and our ethos and values, our strategy expresses what we intend to achieve over the next six years. It builds on our strengths and is organised around four related themes.
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Heriot-Watt University has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its pioneering research in the frontier science of photonics.Read more →
Heriot-Watt University's School of Textiles and Design is opening its virtual doors to the public as postgraduate students showcase their degree collections at the 2021 Degree Showcase.Read more →
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