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 - 2010 content

2006 - 2010

2006 - 2010


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.

West Highland College UHI is established with the merger of Skye and Wester Ross, and Lochaber Colleges.

2011 - 2015 content

2011 - 2015

2011 - 2015


1 February - The University of the Highlands and Islands is established following the award of university title by the Privy Council.

July - The Scottish Funding Council grants the university partnership over 1000 additional places for Scottish students.

August - Details of the ceremonial mace are revealed. Designed by silversmiths Hamilton and Inches, the mace symbolises the landscape and natural elements of the Highlands and Islands.

August - An event is held in Inverness to celebrate the creation of the University of the Highlands and Islands. The event includes the robing of the university’s first principal and vice-chancellor, James Fraser.

November - The university announces that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will be appointed as the university’s first Chancellor.


April - GreenspaceLive Ltd, which provides energy engineering, consulting and software services, becomes the university’s first commercial spin-out company.

May - The university launches an MLitt in Highlands and Islands culture, the first postgraduate qualification of its kind.

May - The university launches its first international undergraduate degree, BSc (Hons) in sustainable development. The online course was developed by Lews Castle College UHI.

June - HRH The Princess Royal is installed as the university’s first Chancellor of at a ceremony in Inverness Cathedral.

August - The Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre and Centre for Energy and Environment are officially opened at North Highland College UHI.

September - The university unveils its coat of arms. Granted by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, its design reflects important aspects of the university.


February - The university launches a diploma in dental technology. The course was developed in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen Dental School and Hospital, NHS Grampian and NHS Education for Scotland.

February - Perth College UHI welcomes HRH The Princess Royal for the first time in her capacity as Chancellor of the university. HRH visited the Crieff Road campus and a hangar at Scone Airport.

May - The University launches an MLitt in islands studies, the first course of its kind in Scotland.

July - The university becomes the first in Scotland to launch a student partnership agreement. The document sets out how students and staff will work together to improve the student experience.

July - HRH The Princess Royal officially opens North Highland College UHI’s new equestrian centre in Caithness.

August - The Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013 designates the university as the regional strategic body responsible for the co-ordinated planning, funding and monitoring of further education across the Highlands and Islands.

August - The university launches the first ever professional graduate diploma in (primary) education to be delivered in the region, enabling aspiring primarily teachers to train in the Highlands and Islands.

September - HRH The Princess Royal officially opens West Highland College UHI’s Portree learning centre.


June - Professor Clive Mulholland becomes the university’s second principal and vice-chancellor following the retirement of James Fraser.

June - Anton Edwards is elected as the university’s fifth rector.

June - The first cohort of students graduate from the university’s professional graduate diploma in (primary) education.

June - HRH The Princess Royal officially opens the Alexander Graham Bell centre at Moray College UHI.

September - HRH The Princess Royal officially opens Shetland College UHI’s new extension.

October - The University launches its second Gaelic language plan.

December - Over 69% of the university’s research is classified as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework, a UK-wide review of research in higher education institutions.


January - North Highland College UHI launches Scotland’s first BA (Hons) professional golf degree.

June - Highland Theological College UHI announces plans to open a new base in the central belt.

October - Ionad Iain Nobail (the Iain Noble Centre) is officially opened by the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI.

November - HRH The Princess Royal officially opens Inverness College UHI’s new building on Inverness Campus.

2016 - present day content

2016 - present day

2016 - present day


June - The university is selected to join the universities of Dundee and St Andrews in delivering Scotland’s first Graduate Medical Programme.

July and August - Work is completed on new student residencies in Inverness and Fort William.

August - Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, officially opens the An Lòchran facility on Inverness Campus. The building is shared by university, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scotland’s Rural College.

September - The university gains approval to take over delivery of the pre-registration nurse education programme in Inverness and Stornoway.

November - Principal and vice-chancellor Professor Clive Mulholland highlights the university partnership’s commitment to continued collaboration following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.


January - The Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal is formally signed, with the university being awarded £9 million from the UK Government to establish commercialisation, academic and clinical capacity to deliver projects in health, social care and life sciences.

March - Perth College UHI's Academy of Sport and Wellbeing is officially opened by Scotland's Deputy First Minister, John Swinney.

May - The university partnership is recognised for its commitment to gender equality by achieving an Institutional Bronze Award as part of the Athena Scientific Women’s Academic Network Charter.

June - The Privy Council grants research degree awarding powers, allowing the university to award its own doctoral qualifications.


April - Students at Inverness College UHI become the first in Scotland to complete a civil engineering graduate apprenticeship.

November - The university opens a micro campus at the Hunan Institute of Engineering in China.


January - The first cohort of students the start the university’s new shortened midwifery programme.

May - The university publishes its third Gaelic language plan.

August - The university purchases the Centre for Health Science in Inverness from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

September - The university joins forces with IBM to launch a BSc (Hons) degree in applied software development.

September - Winnie Courtene-Jones becomes the first person to graduate with a doctorate from the University of the Highlands and Islands. Winnie was presented with the qualification at the Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI graduation ceremony.

October - The partnership celebrates the tenth anniversary of the student development fund, which supports students to take advantage of personal development opportunities.

November - The General Optical Council grants provisional approval for the university to deliver a BSc (Hons) optometry degree in Inverness and Moray.


April - The university partnership launches a fund to support students affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

June - The partnership receives Carers Trust Scotland’s Going Higher Award in recognition of its work to support student carers.

August - The partnership publishes its first islands strategy and its first regional carbon management and sustainability plan.

September - Sixteen nurses become the first cohort to graduate from the shortened midwifery programme.

October - An independent economic impact assessment reports that the university partnership contributes £560 million to the Highlands and Islands, Moray and Perthshire economies every year and supports 6,200 jobs.

October - The university partnership announces that Professor Todd Walker, its new principal and vice-chancellor, will start on the university partnership’s tenth birthday on 1 February 2021.

December - Planning consent is granted for a new life sciences innovation centre on Inverness Campus, a joint project between the university and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.