Drawing from 1800s

Key dates

1991 - 1994 content

1991 - 1994

1991 - 1994


Highland Regional Council sets up a steering group, chaired by councillor and education committee convener, Val MacIver, to examine the case for a University of the Highlands and Islands.

The Highlands and Islands Development Board commissions Professor Sir Graham Hills (formerly principal and vice-chancellor of Strathclyde University) to report on the best way forward.

Highland University Advisory Group meets for the first time.


A conference organised by Barail, the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig-based Centre for Highlands and Islands Policy Studies, explores the ‘prospects and possibilities’ for a University of the Highlands and Islands.

Sir Graham Hills publishes his report confirming the scope for a federal, collegiate university based on existing further education colleges.

The University of the Highlands and Islands Project is born.


The academic advisory committee of the project formalises its structure into an
academic board and holds its first meeting.

A dedicated University of the Highlands and Islands Project Office, led by Robin Lingard, is created by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

UHI Limited is incorporated.


Highlands and Islands Enterprise forms a small team of full-time staff dedicated solely to furthering the project.

1995 - 1999 content

1995 - 1999

1995 - 1999


Patrick Dark officially takes up employment as the first member of staff as IT co-ordination manager.

UHI Limited awards its first 12 research projects, with a total value of £44,000.

First research seminar (in Inverness)


The Millennium Commission awards a project grant of £33.35 million


Professor Brian Duffield is appointed chief executive of UHI Limited.

UHI Limited signs an academic partnership agreement with the Open University.

The executive office is created.

Fraser Morrison CBE succeeds Val MacIver as chair of the UHI board.  Val MacIver becomes president of the UHI Foundation.

The Scottish Office pledges £3.6 million to the University of the Highlands and Islands Project.

The Garrick Report on Scottish Education calls the University of the Highlands and Islands Project "an exciting and challenging development”.


The Open University Validation Service accreditation is confirmed.

The first annual staff conference is held in Inverness.

After a governmental review into quality and educational experience, UHI is praised in the Scottish Grand Committee.

Four research schools are established.

The student council is formed.

The development of a University of the Highlands and Islands is announced as one of the government's ten key targets in their "Opportunity Scotland" green paper. UHI Foundation takes a decision to reconstitute UHI with new structures of governance.

Donnie Munro is elected as the first rector.

The first prospectus is launched.

UHI Limited formally applies to the secretary of state for Scotland to receive higher education institution status.

2000 - 2005 content

2000 - 2005

2000 - 2005


Professor Alistair MacFarlane succeeds Professor Brian Duffield as director and chief executive of UHI Limited on an interim basis.

UHI Limited is confirmed as a higher education institution.


UHI Millennium Institute is officially created a higher education institution by statutory instrument of the Scottish Parliament.

Professor Robert Cormack succeeds Professor Alistair MacFarlane.

Colin MacKay CBE is appointed chair of the board of governors.

Research in environmental and marine sciences is recognised as being of "international significance" in the UK-wide research assessment exercise (RAE).


Research funding secured following participation in the 2001 RAE.

Professor Robert Cormack is re-designated as principal.


Application for taught degree awarding powers and university title are lodged with the Privy Council.

2006 - present day content

2006 - present day

2006 - present day


Announcement that taught degree awarding powers and university title would not be achieved in 2007, as had been widely anticipated.


The Privy Council awards taught degree awarding powers to UHI Millennium Institute.


James Fraser,  secretary and deputy principal, becomes principal on the retirement of Professor Robert Cormack.

Colin MacKay CBE retires as chair of the board of governors and is replaced by Professor Matthew MacIver CBE.


Second application for university title lodged with Privy Council.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education recommends UHI Millennium Institute for university title.


1 February – University of the Highlands and Islands.