Edinburgh Napier University chief may be youngest

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Scotland’s youngest university chief is determined not to let his tender years get in the way of growth at one of the Capital’s top colleges.

Nano-technology whizz Dr Gary Hutchison, 35, is the new head of Edinburgh Napier University’s school of life, sport and social sciences.

Although much younger than counterparts at other institutions, he’s determined that won’t stop him providing strong leadership – and he has ambitious expansion plans for the school.

He said: “I know there was a head of school at Glasgow University who was 36 when he was taken on but that was many moons ago.

“You get a bit fixated on your age and I was thinking, will I be taken seriously? But I’ve had massive support from the team here when I was acting head and I decided there was no reason to think that age would be a barrier to doing a good job for the university.”

Dr Hutchison – also leader of Napier’s centre of safety in the use of nano materials and a member of Westminster’s advisory committee in the same area – said boosting staff numbers, introducing new courses and increasing student satisfaction would be hallmarks of his tenure.

“Our plan is to increase staff numbers and increase resources allocated to staff – in all quarters of the school,” he said. “We’re launching a brand new master’s degree in biotechnology for environmental sustainability, and we’ll be looking to expand in future in the areas of biomedicine and psychology.”

University chiefs welcomed the appointment, adding that Dr Hutchison’s youth and energy would be an asset to the school he leads.

Iain McIntosh, dean of the faculty of health, life and social sciences, said: “Gary has a real enthusiasm and passion for his work and I’m delighted to see him take on the role.

“It is a remarkable achievement for someone of his age and I am certain Gary’s energy and determination will contribute strongly to the school’s continuing successes and future growth.”