Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University
Motto Latin: Nisi sapientia frustra[1]
Motto in English
Without knowledge, everything is in vain
Type Public
Established 1992 – granted University Status
1964 – Napier Technical College
Budget £123 million (GBP, 2015/16)[2]
Chancellor David Eustace
Principal Professor Andrea Nolan OBE
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 13,125 (2014/15)[3]
Undergraduates 10,805 (2014/15)[3]
Postgraduates 2,320 (2014/15)[3]
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Campus Urban
Affiliations Million+
Universities UK
Universities Scotland
Website www.napier.ac.uk

Edinburgh Napier University is a public university in Edinburgh, Scotland. It has over 19,500 students, including those on-campus in Scotland and others studying on transnational programmes abroad and online.[4] In 2016 this included nearly 9,500 international and EU students, from more than 140 nations worldwide.[5]


Napier Technical College was founded in 1964, taking its name from John Napier, the inventor of logarithms and the decimal point, who was born in 1550 in the medieval tower house of Merchiston Castle (the site of the University's Merchiston campus). His statue stands in the tower of Merchiston Castle today. In 1966, it was renamed Napier College of Science and Technology. In 1974, 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. In June 1992 the institution officially became Napier University. At a ceremony witnessed by over 700 staff and students, Lord James Douglas Hamilton and the then Principal, Professor William Turmeau, unveiled the new University sign at Merchiston. 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 February 2009 it became Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier has been awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize twice. Its most recent win came in 2015, when it was recognised for its work in timber engineering, sustainable construction and wood science.[6] Edinburgh Napier was previously awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2009 when the award was made for 'Innovative housing construction for environmental benefit and quality of life'. This recognised the contribution made by the University's Building Performance Centre towards improving sound insulation between attached dwellings.

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"). Edinburgh Napier's Tartan was launched at the same time as the name change in February 2009. Previously the university used the Clan Napier Tartan; the Chief of Clan Napier welcomed the new University tartan.


The university is based around its three main campuses at Merchiston, Craiglockhart and Sighthill.

Sighthill Campus

Exterior of Edinburgh Napier University's Sighthill Campus

The Sighthill Campus opened to students in the School of Health & Social Care and School of Applied Sciences in January 2011. The campus includes a five storey learning resource centre, 25 specialised teaching rooms including clinical skills laboratories, three IT-enabled lecture theatres and seminar rooms, a clinical skills suite and integrated sports facilities. The campus has received the BREEAM excellence rating. This sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design.

The Sighthill campus is also home to a new sports facility which includes a biomechanics laboratory and an environmental chamber which can recreate high altitude conditions with controllable temperature and humidity levels to simulate varying climatic conditions. In 2016, the gym facilities at Sighthill became home to the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy Edinburgh.[7]

Craiglockhart Campus

Exterior of Edinburgh Napier University's Craiglockhart Campus

The Craiglockhart Campus is home to The Business School. It 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. The Craiglockhart Campus exhibits photography, writing, film and memorabilia to provide a glimpse into the minds of the poets, patients and medical staff at Craiglockhart. The exhibition also provides War Poets Collection based on the work of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and selected contemporary poets. The exhibition was officially opened on 11 November 2005 by BBC's World Affairs Correspondent, Allan Little.[8] This campus is the home of the law and business courses and is also operates as a conference centre. The Craiglockhart Campus was refurbished in 2004 and contains two lecture theatres, language labs and computing facilities.

Merchiston Campus

Merchiston Castle in the centre of Merchiston Campus

The Merchiston Campus is home to the Schools of Art & Creative Industries, Computing and Engineering & the Built Environment. It 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. Merchiston Castle is currently a "Category A" listed building in Scotland due to its national significance.[9] The campus also includes the 500-seat, 24-hour Jack Kilby Computing Centre, named after the inventor of integrated circuits and the handheld calculator. Facilities for students include a computer game laboratory, professional music studios and in 2016, TV presenter and University alumna Lorraine Kelly officially opened a new integrated broadcast journalism newsroom.[10]

Edinburgh Napier Students' Association (ENSA) is located at the Merchiston Campus .[11]


Edinburgh Napier has student accommodation located at four sites in the city: Morrison Circus, Bainfield in Fountainbridge (opened 2014), Slateford Road (opened 2015) and Orwell Terrace (opened 2016).

Edinburgh Napier also provides assistance to students looking to rent in the private sector.

Organisation and governance

Edinburgh Napier University comprises six specialist schools:


Edinburgh Napier University's Principal and Vice-Chancellor is Professor Andrea Nolan OBE.

The Chancellor is Edinburgh Napier alumnus David Eustace. He studied photography at the university before going on to become a renowned fashion, celebrity and art photographer. He succeeded Tim Waterstone, founder of Waterstone's Booksellers, who served from 2007 to 2015. Edinburgh Napier's first chancellor was Viscount Younger of Leckie, who died in January 2003.

Academic profile

Edinburgh Napier offers subjects including engineering, computing, nursing and midwifery, science, business courses, timber engineering and transport studies. It offers a range of creative courses, including film, graphic design, music, acting, publishing and product design.

Edinburgh Napier's Business School has achieved Chartered Management Institute (CMI) certification. The Business School runs programmes in conjunction with its many overseas partners including, most recently, the Master of Science in International Hospitality and Tourism Management, with HTMi, the Hotel and Tourism Management Institute Switzerland.

Screen Academy Scotland is one of only two dual-status Skillset Film & Media Academies in the UK.[12] and is a collaboration between Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh College of Art (eca). Patrons of the Academy include Sir Sean Connery, Dame Judi Dench and Brian Cox, with Tilda Swinton an ambassador.


(2016/17, national)
(2016/17, world)
(2017, national)
The Guardian[16]
(2017, national)
Times/Sunday Times[17]
(2017, national)

Edinburgh Napier is in the top five per cent of universities worldwide, according to the THE World University Rankings in 2016.[18] It is also rated five stars for teaching, internationalisation and employability by the QS Stars international university rankings.[19] In the Guardian University Guide 2017, the University was ranked top in the UK for adding value to students.[20] This score is calculated by tracking students from enrolment to graduation and compares their final degree award with their qualifications upon entry.[21]

Research and knowledge transfer

Edinburgh Napier has nine Institutes of Research and Innovation:


The Edinburgh, Lothians, Fife and Borders Regional Articulation Hub (ELRAH),[22] led by Edinburgh Napier, comprises 10 university and college partners. The project was established in early 2009 and funded by the Scottish Funding Council. Its aim is to increase the number of college students who progress from a Higher National Certificate (HNC) into year two of a university degree programme, or students with a Higher National Diploma (HND) who progress into year three of a university degree programme.

Transnational Education (TNE)

Edinburgh Napier has partnerships to deliver courses with higher education institutions around the world and is the biggest UK provider of higher education in Hong Kong. TNE partnerships are currently in place with institutions in:

The university also has offices in Beijing and Hyderabad.

Edinburgh International College

In 2010, the University announced a collaboration with global education provider Navitas to found Edinburgh International College (EIC), an on-campus associate college. EIC provides degree level and Pre-Masters pathways in a range of subject areas, including Accounting and Finance, Business, Tourism and Computing.

Student life

Edinburgh Napier University's students' union is Edinburgh Napier Students' Association. The current Student President is Rojan Kumar Subramani.[23]

Following a student referendum in 2014, the association changed its name from Napier Students' Association (NSA) to Edinburgh Napier Students' Association (ENSA).

The Students' Association is a fully constituted, independent association providing student representation and confidential welfare advice, as well as supporting a variety of sporting and cultural societies, under the banner 'Team Napier'.

The Union Bar is located above the Three Sisters bar in the Cowgate, Edinburgh.

The student newspaper, Veritas, is no longer published. It had been founded as a tabloid newspaper in 1993 by Neil McIntosh. Past Veritas editors include Craig McGill, Alan 'GtB' Brown, Robin Wynn and Gareth Mackie.

As an Edinburgh Napier student, the opportunity is presented to apply for paid employment as a Student Ambassador on a zero hour contract as long as you have at least one year left on your degree.

Notable people

See also


  1. "The Napier Estate: past and present" (PDF). Napier University. 2007. p. 28. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
  2. Napier University. "Edinburgh Napier University Accounts for the Year to 31 July 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 14 Feb 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 "2014/15 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  4. "Facts & Figures". Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  5. "Edinburgh Napier University Corporate Key Facts".
  6. "Napier University honoured with Queen's Anniversary Prize". www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  7. "BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy | Scottish Rugby Union". www.scottishrugby.org. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  8. War Poets Collection Craiglockhart Campus. http://www2.napier.ac.uk/warpoets/index.htm
  9. http://data.historic-scotland.gov.uk/pls/htmldb/f?p=2200:15:0::::BUILDING,HL:26828,merchiston%20castle
  10. "TV star back at university for grilling from students". STV News. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  11. "Where is ENSA based?". Edinburgh Napier Students' Association (ENSA). Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  12. http://courses.skillset.org/pick_the_tick/skillset_academy_network/skillset_film_academies
  13. "World University Rankings 2016-17 - United Kingdom". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  14. "World University Rankings 2016-17". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  15. "University League Table 2017". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  16. "University league tables 2017". The Guardian. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  17. "The Times and Sunday Times University Good University Guide 2017". Times Newspapers. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  18. "Edinburgh Napier University". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  19. "Edinburgh Napier University". Top Universities. 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  20. "University guide 2017: Edinburgh Napier University". The Guardian. 2015-05-24. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  21. Hiely-Rayner, Matt (2016-05-23). "Methodology behind the Guardian University Guide 2017". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  22. "Home ELRAH". www.elrah.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  23. "ENSA Executive Committee". Napier Students' Association. Retrieved 23 August 2015.

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