Professor Neil Simco
Deputy Principal Academic and Research
Neil is UHI’s Deputy Principal Academic and Research and holds corporate leadership responsibility for all aspects of tertiary education, including both further and higher education, together with research and knowledge exchange activity in the university. This includes the development and implementation of the university’s research and tertiary education strategies and executive oversight of a wide range of academic functions across the university.
As part of his corporate responsibilities and as an advanced Gaelic learner, Neil oversees the development and delivery of the university’s Gaelic language plan.
Neil has substantial leadership experience within the university sector, specialising in innovative new universities, and he holds a Chair in Higher Education from the University of the Highlands and Islands. During his leadership career, he has overseen the largest teacher education provision in the UK, has been part of the senior teams which created two new universities; UHI and the University of Cumbria. He has a particular interest and expertise in innovative approaches to tertiary education, research and knowledge exchange within remote and rural areas. A teacher and teacher educator by background, Neil was involved in the governance of the General Teaching Council for Scotland for many years and had significant national profile within English teacher education prior to moving to UHI. He is currently also involved in a range of leadership activities outwith the university, including Scotland’s research pools, two of which he currently Chairs.
Prior to his current position at UHI, Neil fulfilled several roles within UHI, including as dean of business and leisure, dean of arts, humanities and business, assistant principal for curriculum growth and acting principal and vice-chancellor. Before joining the university in 2009, Neil was dean of education and dean for research at the University of Cumbria. As interim assistant principal at St Martin’s College and subsequently interim pro-vice chancellor at the University of Cumbria and, he made a substantial leadership contribution to the formation of the then new university in 2007.
Neil began his career as a primary school teacher in schools in the north west and south west of England. He moved into teacher education in the early 1990s, where he worked in various lecturing posts in education prior to becoming dean of education at St Martin’s College in 2002.
He holds a first class degree in Applied Education, and a PhD in Education. He has published widely in his specialist field of teacher education.