European and International Development


The European and International Development Team (also known as EU Development) is in constant dialogue with EC representatives in Brussels, and further afield across Europe, ensuring our university maintains it's position as a key participant in EU funding programmes and inititives. The team has nurtured a wide network of contacts for many years to ensure we are at the centre of Scottish/EU policy decisions that affect the Highlands and Islands, and can help researchers connect with this funding and collaboration network.

Up-to-date information on EU research funding and Brexit implications for universities can be found at:

Contact the department

If you have any queries on either Arctic developments or Brexit preparation, please contact me directly at, Director of European and International Development at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

For more information on Scotland Europa, who are a small team based in Brussels working to raise the profile of Scotland within Europe, go direct to;

Live searching for the latest collaboration opportunities

Enterprise Europe provide a live listing of collaboration opportunities posted from across Europe - you can adjust the search terms according to your own requirements to filter the results according to your speciality:

Scottish EU Funding Portal

Scotland Europa have now also launched an EU funding portal bringing together in one place all programmes and calls in a searchable tool - search and view at the portal and then please contact one of the team if you find a fund you think fits your needs:

European and International Research projects at the University of the Highlands and Islands content

European and International Research projects at the University of the Highlands and Islands

European and International Research projects at the University of the Highlands and Islands

Arctic sea

Since the very early days, research and innovation has played a crucial role in the development of the University of the Highlands and Islands – and within that, the range and depth of our European and international partnerships have helped to shape our new institution.

Of course, links beyond our own boundaries have a much longer impressive history at many of our Academic Partners, from forestry student and staff exchanges at Inverness College UHI to marine science research at SAMS UHI – with lots in between!

At the moment, there is a Scottish focus on Arctic policy and collaboration.

Over the past year, Scottish Government have been working with a wide range of Scottish and Arctic organisations to develop their new Arctic Policy Framework – Arctic Connections .  This was launched by Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP in Orkney.  The document states ‘by building a new platform for policy and knowledge exchange, the Scottish Government intends to strengthen the foundations of a long-standing two-way discussion with its Arctic partners’.

University staff have been heavily involved in the preparation of the policy framework, including input from EO, SAMS UHI, Orkney College UHI and the North Highland College UHI Environmental Research Institute.  The result is positive reference to the role and relevance of our university.  Our distinction as ‘the UK’s most northern university’ is quoted (p15) and the Scottish Government proposals going forward under Education, Research and Innovation all present significant opportunities for further engagement (p15).

Our membership of the University of the Arctic (UArctic) is another very effective platform for us in this debate.

At the UArctic Council August 2019 in Stockholm, 11 new members were admitted, taking the total to 211 – now one of the world’s largest and most influential research networks.  In discussion of the future direction of the organisation, UHI’s role as a founder member was mentioned – and it was also noted that we were the only non-Arctic founder member.  This status is important, as there is now a formal split between ‘Arctic’ and ‘non-Arctic’ members.  Scotland and UHI, although technically ‘non-Arctic’ are viewed as ‘near-Arctic’ – which has made a difference to the development of the Policy Framework and gives us a very useful role.

There was also early discussion of the next UArctic Strategic Plan, some of which are areas of UHI interest and expertise.  There are many of these, from marine energy to minority languages – but one of the most common areas of interest is in our dispersed model of HE delivery.

Educational Development Unit staff are joining the UArctic Thematic Network (grouping of members with a common interest) on Teacher Education and Diversity in Education in the first instance, however there is an opportunity to establish and lead a new and more targeted Thematic Network if required.

Archaeology staff at Orkney College UHI are setting up a new Thematic Network on Archaeology, based on the extensive collaboration they already have with several Arctic universities.

UArctic also run a very popular mobility programme, north2north, for students to experience different northern regions first-hand and learn from the experience of other UArctic members.

For further information on UArctic, the north2north programme and research Thematic Networks, see –

Internally, we have numerous research projects with Arctic partners across our university partnership, many supported by EU Northern Periphery and Arctic programme funding, but including other EU funding streams as well.

These and many other activities add up to considerable collaboration between Academic Partners and Arctic institutions. We watch with interest for new opportunities through the Scottish Government Arctic Policy Framework and UArctic to develop them further.

Of course, Brexit brings concerns about access to our research collaborations and EU funding.

Much of our research capacity over the past 20 years has been supported through EU structural funds (ERDF and ESF) investment, which has funded buildings, IT connectivity, equipment, research staff and studentships.  Post Brexit, the structural funds will be replaced by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Horizon 2020 and INTERREG funding have also made a significant contribution towards our research activities.

At this stage, there are guarantees in place to protect existing EU project funds and work is being done to secure access to future EU research programmes, however uncertainty remains until we know the outcome – deal, no-deal, or continued membership of the EU!

In summary, EU programme funding and collaboration have been of great value to the university – and have provided a lasting legacy to the Highlands and Islands.  They have taken the new university to its current position of regional relevance and strength – however there is so much more potential for regional growth with real impact in health, energy, Gaelic, culture and heritage and other key sectors for the Highlands and Islands.  This potential would have been exploited through the new EU programmes for 2020-27, synergising with other funding streams, such as the regional growth deals – building on success and contributing towards the future economic well-being of the region.

We are, therefore, working closely with the university sector and our Highlands and Islands partners to ensure that our very distinct perspective on the impact of Brexit is included in the debate.

Contact the department

If you have any queries on either Arctic developments or Brexit preparation, please contact me directly at, Director of European and International Development at the University of the Highlands and Islands.