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Press release

Royal opening for UK’s ‘greenest’ university

Calling on the spirit of its eponymous saint, Scotland’s newest university will today (Friday 4 July, 2008) invite The Queen to open its award-winning new campus at Craighall. On arrival, The Queen will unveil a plaque in the foyer of Queen Margaret University’s stunning new East Lothian campus before touring the new building, meeting staff and students.

The University’s Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Anthony Cohen, said:

“ Today will be remembered with pride by the entire University community, which has worked closely with the local community and its organisations to conceive a model new campus for the 21 st century. Craighall provides first-rate, purpose-built facilities – including those for learning and teaching, research, clinics, conferences, sport and leisure -- to the University’s staff and students, and to the people of East Lothian and Edinburgh. This campus was designed for a socially and environmentally responsible university, and to meet all the contemporary needs of a university. It will provide Queen Margaret with a successful and highly sustainable future in the decades to come.”

The Queen will gain a flavour of the University’s work through several demonstrations. The first will show how staff are helping a young school girl with Down’s Syndrome using an innovative form of speech therapy based on electropalatography technology developed at the University. In the second, physiotherapists will use a high-tech movement laboratory to assess and improve the gait of a child with Cerebral Palsy. There will also be some light entertainment in the form of a performance by local people involved in the Mussel-In Project, a community arts initiative devised by final year students to win over the hearts and minds of youngsters in the local area.

Craighall is the first entire university campus to be built in Scotland for more than 30 years. The £105 million RE:LOCATE project, which was led by Vice Principal Rosalyn Marshall, included building the new campus, disposing of several older sites and relocating the University’s 5,000 staff and students.

Spread over 35 acres of low grade farmland bordering the A1, Craighall comprises academic buildings completed by construction giant Carillion, plus residences with 800 en-suite student rooms. These were built by Miller construction for Sanctuary Housing Association, one of the UK's leading not-for-profit housing providers, under a public/private partnership funded by Bank of Scotland Corporate.


Rosalyn Marshall said:

“From the start, Craighall was conceived by staff and students as a vibrant academic village centred on high-tech buildings set within attractive parkland spaces. The buildings are laid out to encourage collaborative working, with contemporary teaching spaces, and flexible laboratories and clinics all drawing on the most modern IT system - thin client technology. The new learning resource centre boasts 1,000 study spaces, and students and staff enjoy excellent on-site sports facilities.”

Designed by Dyer Architects Craighall has received national and international acclaim for attaining exceptional standards of sustainability, smart space management, and the development of a whole new concept in modern higher education design.

At Craighall, sustainability has been built into every aspect of design and construction – from drainage to communication systems. This has been lauded by the campus’s many visitors, including t he Scottish section of the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges which recently held its annual conference at QMU.

Also, and under the property sector’s top method of measuring buildings’ environmental performance, the Building Research Establishment environmental assessment (BREAM), the campus has achieved an excellent rating, resulting in the highest ever score for a UK university.

Craighall is currently projected by Mechanical and Electrical Building Services Engineers K J Tait to have the lowest carbon footprint of any HEI in Scotland - and possibly the UK - through its energy efficiency and use of the country’s largest biomass (woodchip) boiler. The performance of this is being tracked by the Scottish Government, as is the University’s innovative green travel plan for the campus. This is already considered to be an exemplar of major institutional travel planning.

QMU’s relocation from three sites to one has allowed the University to reduce the floor area of its built estate by around 40%. Its efficiencies of design and operation have now set a new UK benchmark for the rationalisation, planning and versatility of new and existing learning and teaching spaces.

The university’s use of sustainable IT and the emphasis QMU has put on new ways of working has received recognition in the national media and on the conference circuit. One of the key figures reporting to Vice Principal Rosalyn Marshall in the RE:LOCATE project, Director of Estates and Facilities Steve Scott, has received perhaps the most telling kind of endorsement of Craighall: in June 2006, he was appointed by the University’s Cairo partner, the Maghrabi Foundation, to develop a design brief for its new nursing college in Cairo based on the Craighall model. Now, following construction of the Cairo college to this brief, similar nursing colleges are being proposed in several other locations in the Middle East.

QMU principal meets Queen

Above: The Queen shakes hands with QMU principal, Professor Anthony Cohen

Tom Farmer meets Queen

Above: The Queen shakes hands with QMU chancellorl, Sir Tom Farmer

Rosalyn Marshall and Queen

Above: QMU vice principal, Rosalyn Marshall, talks to the Queen about QMU's new campus

- ends -


For more information, please call:


Maggie Wright (for QMU) on 0131 226 3622 or 07801 710360



Notes for editors

  1. Queen Margaret University was granted full university title on 16 January 2007.
  2. As a former higher education college, Queen Margaret was ranked top amongst UK colleges by The Sunday Times University Guide in 2006, and joint top Scottish modern university in 2007
  3. Inspired by the great tradition of Scottish education, Queen Margaret University is dedicated to delivering professional learning and specialises in research which is of value to the community and enhances people’s lives. We have expertise in health; drama and the creative industries; media and social science; and business, enterprise and management. We welcome all in society, from home and abroad, who wish to realise their full potential.
  • Through its employment and education opportunities and joint activities with businesses and healthcare providers, the University has the potential - estimated by the Fraser of Allander Institute - to boost the local economy by £32 million, and the Scottish economy by some £90 million.
  1. The new campus opened in autumn 2007 following the relocation of the University’s students and staff from existing sites at Corstorphine and Leith.
  2. Matt MacDonald (8) has Cerebral Palsy. He cannot coordinate or move his lower limbs smoothly, although the QMU team has been able to use advanced tools to help him walk better using splints and highly modified shoes.
  3. Galina MacNeacail (10) has Down's Syndrome. She attends a mainstream primary school and integrates well but her speech is holding her back. Galina is completing three months of therapy using traditional speech therapy methods, and will begin to receive EPG therapy in January to try to resolve her remaining speech difficulties.
  4. The Mussel-in Project was devised by four final year arts students concerned about the impact that the University would have when it descended on a quiet part of East Lothian. The group created the project to help celebrate the students’ arrival and communicate the positive impact that the University can have on the town. Youth drama workshops, film-making projects, and an art forum culminated in a community arts event in April. This involved local youngsters in drama, helping them to explore their local area and giving them an insight into the new University and its people.





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