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Edinburgh Napier University
Motto Latin: Nisi sapientia frustra[1]
Motto in English "Everything is in vain without knowledge" (echoing the motto of the City of Edinburgh, Nisi Dominus frustra "Everything is in vain without the Lord").
Established 1992 - granted University Status
1964 - Napier Technical College
Type Public
Chancellor Tim Waterstone
Principal Prof. Dame Joan Stringer DBE
Staff 1,648[2]
Students 14,850[3]
Undergraduates 11,685[3]
Postgraduates 3,165[3]
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Turnover £70 million (GBP, 2003)[2]
Edinburgh Napier University logo.png

Edinburgh Napier University is a university in Edinburgh, Scotland.



Edinburgh Napier University was opened as Napier Technical College in 1964, taking its name from John Napier, the inventor of logarithms, who was born at Merchiston Castle — the site of the University's Merchiston campus. In 1966, it was renamed Napier College of Science and Technology. Since 1971, it has offered degree-level education. Three years later, it merged with the Sighthill-based Edinburgh College of Commerce to form Napier College of Commerce and Technology, which became a Central Institution in 1985.

The college was renamed Napier Polytechnic in 1986 and in the same year acquired the former Hydropathic hospital buildings at Craiglockhart. It gained full university status in June 1992 as Napier University. In 1994, Napier University acquired its Craighouse campus.

In 1996, the university gained a new Faculty of Health Studies through a merger between the Scottish Borders College of Nursing and Lothian College of Health Studies.

In early 2008 Napier University was ranked as the best modern university in Scotland by the Guardian University Guide 2009. The University currently has in place a Strategic Plan vision to be widely regarded as the "best modern University in Scotland" by 2010.[4] On 25 February 2009, Napier University changed its name to Edinburgh Napier University to increase the awareness of the University outside of the Lothians area. At the time, this left students stunned why the name was changed, given the little consultation the students got from the university.

Edinburgh Napier University Tartan

Research had shown that outside Scotland there was low awareness of the University, specifically that it is based in Edinburgh. The city of Edinburgh is a key motivating factor which the University believes will further enhance its strength and reputation for staff, students, businesses and the local community.[5]

An Edinburgh Napier University Tartan has been designed to match the new brand identity and colour palette. It is primarily red and uses most of the secondary colours, with its design reflecting the elements of the Edinburgh Napier crest. Previously the University used the Clan Napier Tartan; the Chief of Clan Napier has welcomed the new University tartan.

The motto of the University, Nisi sapientia frustra (meaning "Everything is in vain without knowledge") echoes the motto of the City of Edinburgh, Nisi Dominus frustra (meaning "Everything is in vain without the LORD").

The university currently operates several campuses including Merchiston, Craiglockhart, Craighouse, Comely Bank, and Canaan Lane, all within the city of Edinburgh; and has several international partner institutions notably in Hong Kong and India.


Edinburgh Napier is especially noted for a range of subject areas including timber engineering and transport studies. In addition its journalism courses - recently becoming Scotland's only BJTC accredited courses - are considered to be of a high standard, with some lecturers giving expert testimony to the Scottish Parliament. In 2002 Edinburgh Napier achieved top grades in Accounting, Computing and Law in the Quality Assessment Agency's new Subject Reviews, outperforming all other new Scottish universities as well as a number of traditional ones.

During the last 2 years, Edinburgh Napier's Business School has proved to be the strongest part of the University, achieving the rare Chartered Management Institute (CMI) certification and was rated best new business school in the United Kingdom by the Guardian in 2007. The University has also achieved good marks in the Times University ranking, being named the best University in Scotland for graduate level employment according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2007.

Napier also tries to strengthen its international activities by having several campuses around the world and the 4th largest percentage of foreign students in the UK.

The University has one of the largest business schools of any university in Scotland. The School of Computing at Napier University is also the largest computing department in Scotland.

Edinburgh Napier also founded the Screen Academy Scotland in 2005 together with Edinburgh College of Art, establishing a powerhouse in the UK film industry with Sean Connery and Dame Judi Dench as patrons of the academy, and ambassadors including Tilda Swinton and Brian Cox.

Future developments will include an expensive area development of the old Sighthill campus, investing around ₤80m for the renovation of the old building as well as for several new ones in order to enhance not only the University but also the surrounding area of Sighthill. Completion of the project is scheduled for 2010. Edinburgh Napier is also trying to strengthen the Business School even further by enhancing the international reputation - with Edinburgh Napier being one of the Top 5 Universities for Chinese students in the United Kingdom.


Merchiston Castle in the early 1800s, now at the centre of the present-day Merchiston Campus, was home to John Napier

The university is based around its Merchiston, Craighouse, Craiglockhart and Sighthill campuses. There are also smaller medical campuses at Canaan Lane's Astley Ainslie Hospital and Comely Bank in Edinburgh, as well as in Melrose and Livingston's St John's Hospital at Howden. Other notable Edinburgh buildings have been incorporated, including the former Parish Church at Morningside.

The Merchiston Campus is built around the refurbished shell of Merchiston Castle, the family home of John Napier, after whom the University is named. Merchiston Castle is also the ancient seat of Clan Napier. This campus plays host to the sports, science, mathematics, engineering and computing courses. It also incorporates the 500-seat Jack Kilby Computing Centre, an award-winning computing computing suite open 24/7, named after the inventor of integrated circuits and the handheld calculator. Students are free to make use of this any time, and it is also where many tutorials take place, especially by the School Of Computing.

Napier Students' Association (NSA) is located nearby on Merchiston Place in a converted house. It houses the student bar for Merchiston Campus - which was closed for the 05-06 session, but has recently been reopened. Its hours of business are 12 noon-11pm, Monday-Friday, with food being served 12-2:30. The union building also contains the office of the sabbatical officers and ISAS (Independent Student Advice Service) advisors.

Merchiston campus (2004)
Craighouse Learning Centre which has views right over the city

The Craiglockhart Campus incorporates the Craiglockhart Hydropathic Hospital buildings which were for a time known as Craiglockhart War Hospital, where First World War poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were treated. This campus is the home of the law and business courses and is also available as a conference centre. Tony Blair gave a speech there in 2004. The campus has recently benefited from a £24m development for the Business School at Craiglockhart. The Business School at Edinburgh Napier University is currently seeking EQUIS accredidation and is already certified by the Chartered Management Institute. The campus is seen as one of the leading campuses in Europe, offering an open-space environment and most up-to-date technology including touchscreen computers in each room. As the Business School offers a real-world business approach based around group activities and simulations, the campus offers a unique space to work outside the lectures - e.g. by offering over 200 computers, a modern on-campus library and three different cafés and restaurants including meeting space and complete wireless Internet access coverage.

The Craighouse Campus is based around the former Thomas Clouston Clinic which was a private mental hospital until 1990. Its position allows for panoramic views over the entire city. This campus is home to the social science and communication arts courses as well as the Ian Tomlin School of Music.

A panorama north and west from vantage point at Craighouse campus

The University has ties both nationally (with colleges such as Carnegie College) and globally. Edinburgh Napier University was the first Scottish institution to allow Chinese students to study for a Scottish degree without leaving their home country in 2004 via links with Zhengzhou University of Light Industry(ZZULI)(Simplified Chinese:郑州轻工业学院). The University also operates an office in Beijing, China and operates through articulation agreements and partnerships to deliver courses with higher education institutions in Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Student organisation and media

Edinburgh Napier University's students' union is called Napier Students' Association (NSA).

The NSA President is Kasia Bylinska (2009/10). Recent past NSA presidents include Carys Evans (08-09), Aran Simm (06-08), Peter Marshall (2005-06) and Christian Poziemski (2004-05). Similarly Mike "Shockers" Wallace has been replaced as Student Activities and Treasurer by Ollie Cruickshank; and Yvette Brough being replaced as Campaigns and Representation Officer by Stuart Campbell, with great ideas for the year.

The student newspaper is Veritas and comes out approximately monthly. It was founded as a tabloid newspaper in 1993 by Neil McIntosh, then Depute President (Communications). Past Veritas editors include Alan 'GTB' Brown (1995-96), Robin D Wynn (1996-97), Gareth Mackie (1999), Laura Brown (2005-06), Jesse Karjalainen (2004-05), co-editors David Lewis and Adam Morris (2003-04) and Craig McGill (1994-1995) )

Sports clubs include American Football, Archery, Badminton, Basketball (Men's and Women's), Boxing, Cricket, Dance, Football (Men's and Women's), Gaelic Football, Golf, Hockey, Hurling, Jitsu, Kayak, Netball, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Snowsports, Sub Aqua, Swimming, Tennis and Volleyball.

Societies include African, Celtic Cultural, Christian Union, Discover China, Drama, NapierTV, Friends of Nepal, Gaming, Gospel Choir, Indian Culture, Law Society, Morningside Music, Music Society, Nurses and Midwives International Society, Postgraduates, Support 4 Females, Student 4 Change, Students 4 Palestine and Whisky.

Academic structure

Edinburgh Napier University comprises three main faculties each with three constituent schools.

  • The Business School comprises:
    • School of Management & Law
    • School of Accounting, Economics & Statistics, and
    • School of Marketing, Tourism & Languages.
  • The Faculty of Engineering, Computing & Creative Industries comprises:
    • School of Arts & Creative Industries
    • School of Engineering & the Built Environment, and
    • School of Computing.
  • The Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences comprises:
    • School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Care
    • School of Health & Social Sciences, and
    • School of Life Sciences.

Edinburgh Napier also founded the Scottish Screen Academy together with Edinburgh College of Art, establishing a powerhouse in the UK film industry with Sean Connery as the Chancellor of the academy.

Research Centres

Napier has over 40 research teams operating across the University.

The Centre for Timber Engineering is a focus for excellence in providing research, consultancy, information, education and training in the use of timber in construction.

The Employment Research Institute, led by Professor Ron McQuaid carries out applied and theoretical research into the changing nature of work and employment.

The International Teledemocracy Centre remit is to research and apply information and communication technologies to enhance and support the democratic decision-making processes.

The Transport Research Institute is a distributed organisation, promoting cross-disciplinarily research in transport.

The University is home to the Screen Academy Scotland, a collaboration with the Edinburgh College of Art which is one of six recognised centres of excellence in film practice education

The Centre for Distributed Computing and Security (CDCS)[6] at Edinburgh Napier University focuses on the key issues in distributed computing and security, including: enhanced security and forensic computing systems; ad-hoc routing over wireless networks; mobile IP; intelligent intrusion detection systems; the usage of mobile agents; location-tracking of mobile devices; multicast and broadcast communications; and on device emulation. At the core of its work is the successful transfer of knowledge between the research group and professionals, along with its excellent reputation for: its depth of skills; its links with industry and in enterprise; and, in its record on dissemination. It has extensive links with industry, and has developed a novel system for an agent-based system for ad-hoc routing over wireless networks, in mobile IP systems, health care systems, and innovative methods for device tracking and in content generation. At present it is working with several organisations including the FSA.[7] The group is led by Prof Bill Buchanan[8] who has won several awards for excellence, and was also an award winner at the KTP (Knowledge Transfer Programme) Awards 2003 and in 2004. He is part of the Research Network for Applied Policing Research, which is an SFC/Police-funded initiative building on digital forensics work and runs from 2006 to 2011 (total proposed expenditure: £8million). Other researchers in the group include: Dr Ahmed Al-Dubia,[9] Alistair Lawson,[10] Dr Jose Munoz,[11] Dr John Old,[12] Dr Imed Romdhani,[13] Dr Gordon Russell,[14] and Dr Christoph Thuemmler (MD).

The Centre for Applied eHealth at Edinburgh Napier University looks into the interactions and interdependencies between health in a wider context and information communication technologies and their direct and indirect effects on individuals, health care providers and society as a whole. The Institute is involved in the development, evaluation and validation of novel technologies, strategies and policies related to the field of e-health on a national and international level. Currently research has been focusing on auto-identification technologies, such as passive and active radio frequency identification (RFID) in clinical environments, comparative analysis of RFID legislation and regulations in an international context, smart device system integration in health care including security issues, cross-domain multi modal data integration and [pervasive adaptation]. Infection control, hospital controlling , patient flow real time monitoring and automated pharmacy dispensary are areas of special interest in the clinical context.

The Centre for Applied eHealth is led by Dr. Christoph Thuemmler, MD who is a Consultant Physician and a General Practitioner with the National Health Service (NHS) and a Visiting Reader with the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. The Centre for Applied eHealth maintains close links with the Centre of Distributed Computing and Security and the Faculty of Health, Life & Social Science and is well connected with the Industry and national and international academic, research and health care institutions.

Edinburgh Napier is also host to:

  • Building Performance Centre (BPC)
  • Centre for Cultural & Creative Industries (CCCI)
  • Centre for Informatics Research (CIR)
  • Centre for Infrastructure Research (CISR)
  • Scottish Energy Centre (SEC)
  • Scottish Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Applied Psychology Research Group
  • Biofuels Research Centre
  • Biomedicine and Sports Science
  • Centre for Integrated Healthcare Research
  • Clinical Nursing and Midwifery
  • Communities in Society
  • Environmental Biology
  • Microbiology & Biotechnology
  • Accounting and Finance
    • including EU China DRC
  • Business and Management Learning Pedagogy
  • Centre for Law
  • Consumer Research
    • including Centre for Festival & Events Management
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership and Management Practice
    • including Edinburgh Human Resource Academy (EHRA)
  • Centre for Learning Communities

Commercially, Edinburgh Napier has developed a number of spin out companies. These include Cardiodigital, Micro Emissive Displays, Surfactant Solutions and Freelight Systems.

Office holders

Edinburgh Napier University's Principal and Vice-Chancellor is Professor Dame Joan Stringer DBE.

The Chancellor is Tim Waterstone, founder of Waterstone's bookshop and chairman of HMV Media Group. He succeeded Napier's first chancellor, the late Viscount Younger of Leckie in August 2007, following his death in January 2003.

Dr Andrew Cubie CBE is chairman of the University Court, Dr Gerry Webber holds the position of University Secretary & Registrar, and Mr Colin Bryce is Special Advisor to the Vice-Principals.

Napier has three Vice Principals:

  • Vice Principal of Academic Development - Dr Peter Easy
  • Vice Principal of Research & Knowledge Transfer - Professor Robin Mackenzie
  • Vice Principal of Academic Quality & Customer Service - Dr Jenny Rees.

Faculty Deans:

  • Dean of the Business School[15] - Professor George Stonehouse
  • Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Computing & Creative Industries[16] - Sandra Cairncross
  • Dean of the Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences[17] - Professor Morag Prowse

Mr Jack Worden is Dean of International Strategy & Operations.

The Directors of Napier's service departments are as follows:

  • Academic Development - Rowena Pelik
  • C&IT Services - Paul Dean
  • Development Office - Karen Cairney
  • Facilities Services - Patrick Hughes
  • Finance Services - Eric Gibson
  • Graduate School and Research Office - Diana Woodward
  • Human Resources - Margaret Cook
  • International College - Jack Worden
  • Knowledge Transfer & Commercialisation Services - Brendan McGuckin
  • Learning Information Services - Chris Pinder
  • Policy & Communications - Louise MacDonald
  • Student Affairs - Cathy Lambert


Honorary Graduates



  • Giovanni Benedetti, Doctor of Business Administration
  • Ann Budge, Doctor of Technology
  • John Calder, Doctor of Letters
  • Brian Cox, Doctor of the University
  • Baroness Ford of Cunninghame, Doctor of Business Administration
  • Professor Anne Glover, Doctor of Science
  • Catherine Lockerbie, Doctor of Letters
  • David Quarmby CBE, Doctor of Engineering
  • Wilf Stevenson, Doctor of the Arts
  • Brian Taylor, Doctor of Letters


  • Dr Ming Chen, Doctor of Business Administration
  • Baroness Clark of Calton, Doctor of Laws
  • Professor Peter Grant, Doctor of Engineering
  • Professor William Hardcastle, Doctor of Science
  • Bert Jansch, Doctor of Music
  • Sir David K P Li, Doctor of Business Administration
  • Stewart Milne, Doctor of Technology
  • Allan Shiach, Doctor of Arts
  • Dr Wali Tasar Uddin MBE, Doctor of the University
  • Gerald Weisfeld, Doctor of Business Administration
  • Vera Weisfeld OBE, Doctor of Business Administration


  • George Cautherley, Doctor of Business Administration
  • Dr Stuart Cosgrove, Doctor of Arts
  • The Very Revd Graham Forbes CBE, Doctor of the University
  • Dr Peter Hughes OBE, Doctor of Engineering
  • John Kissock OBE, Doctor of Engineering
  • Jamie Moffat, Doctor of Business Administration
  • Lynne Ramsay, Doctor of Arts
  • Tilda Swinton, Doctor of Arts
  • James Thomson, Doctor of the University
  • Professor Patricia Peattie OBE, Honorary Fellow
  • John Gray, Doctor of Arts




See also



External links



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