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RGU announces a Vice-Principal for Economic Development

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Donella Beaton
RGU has appointed Donella Beaton as Vice-Principal Economic Development, a new role which will see the University further develop its strategic commitment to stimulating and supporting economic development regionally and further afield.

The new role illustrates the University’s ongoing commitment to the region, particularly important as communities and businesses start to recover post-pandemic while considering the implications of a low carbon future. An important part of the Vice-Principal’s role will be to help ensure the University is aligned to support organisations as they respond to these challenges and opportunities. 
RGU’s Principal & Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve Olivier, said: “Supporting organisations and stimulating economic development is firmly embedded in our strategy. We have a long, strong history in this area, led in the last few years by Donella, and this is the latest stride in our journey, paving the way for new and exciting developments.

“Donella brings a strong business background to this new position and is deeply passionate about the University’s role in the region, working with business and organisations to help grow the economy and thereby providing opportunity to enhance the prosperity and quality of life for all”. 

Donella started at RGU in 2012, originally focussed on supporting the University to grow its own commercial portfolio and in more recent years expanding her role to include the development of partnerships and initiatives to support wider economic development. During that time, and despite the pandemic, RGU has seen the introduction and growth of a number of initiatives developed to support organisations to succeed including, Graduate Apprenticeships, online upskilling courses, RGU Knowledge Bites for Business (free online resources from the RGU community), the expansion of the role of RGU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group, and a significant increase in the RGU provision of government-funded support for businesses.  

Not all Donella’s activities have been in the region as she has also developed existing and built new strategic partnerships with governments, businesses and other institutions in countries including Mexico, Japan, Switzerland, and Algeria. 

Prior to joining RGU, Donella was Managing Director of an award-winning communications and training company, originally a Sabhal Mòr Ostaig start-up on the Isle of Skye. 

Donella adds: “By appointing a Vice Principal Economic Development, RGU really demonstrates its long-standing commitment and ambition for the region as well as to growing its international presence. With a great team around me, I’m excited to be in a position where we can enhance and expand our strategic partnerships, which are key to supporting economic growth and to ensuring that the recovery benefits all.  

“In the years ahead, being responsive and maintaining and growing these collaborations, while ensuring that the University’s own strategic developments are informed by industry and other key organisations, will be paramount. This will be even more important in this region, which will have a key role to play in the country’s response to the climate emergency.

“I look forward to the challenge and the exciting opportunity afforded to me and am very pleased to do that working with my colleagues here at RGU”

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