Press release

Investment in modern universities is investing in Scotland’s future, says MillionPlus Principal

26 Nov 2021

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal of the University of the West of Scotland, will today (26 November) speak on behalf of MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, at a fringe event at the virtual 2021 Scottish National Party conference.

Professor Mahoney will share the platform with Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Higher Education and Further Education; Professor Sir Peter Scott, Commissioner for Fair Access; Lydia Rohmer, Principal and Chief Executive, West Highland College UHI; and Rachel Hewitt, Chief Executive, MillionPlus.

The event is being held to further underline the importance of modern universities to Scotland, and to discuss what more can be done to ensure clear pathways to success exist for both young people looking to build their careers and others who may wish to upskill and reskill to meet the needs of the future.

Investing in modern universities is an investment in the future of Scotland, he is expected to say. A third of all graduate start-ups and social enterprises are initiated by modern university graduates. Moderns also generate £2bn to their regional economies per year, and are responsible for over 30,000 jobs.

In addition to economic impact, modern universities are key contributors to Scotland’s social infrastructure, namely its public service professionals who have been so crucial since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly a third of modern university students in Scotland are in education that leads to a position as a public service ‘key worker’. This includes 72% of nursing and midwifery students, 65% studying social work, and 68% on subjects allied to medicine.

Professor Mahoney is expected to highlight the world-class education modern universities continue to deliver to their students in the face of a real-terms funding freeze. He will urge the Scottish government to fund universities sufficiently for that world-class delivery to remain sustainable.

Professor Mahoney will give his address at the SNP fringe event on the same day MillionPlus publishes its newly updated Facts and Stats: Modern Universities in Scotland document, which highlights the contribution of Scotland’s seven modern universities, each one a MillionPlus member institution.


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  3. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  4. Facts and stats: modern universities in Scotland 2021