Planning plugged in Dundee restructure

Planning and architecture have been identified as key areas of excellence in a restructuring by the University of Dundee.

They will join geography and environmental science in a new school of the environment which is being earmarked for future growth. However, in the short term four jobs will be lost across the merging disciplines.

The change comes amid cutbacks in other departments and has been welcomed by senior staff. School of social and environmental sciences dean Professor Rob Duck described it as "a bold and exciting move".

The university could be "uniquely placed in Scotland to position itself as an international leader in addressing the social dimensions of the sustainability agenda", maintained school of architecture head Graeme Hutton.

According to university vice-chancellor Professor Pete Downes, the aim is to increase the focus on areas of excellence. "This is about reprioritising our activities to enable us to invest in those areas," he maintained. "At the same time we have to establish the financial future of the university."

The new school will concentrate on sustainability in both the natural and built environments and provide more opportunities for interdisciplinary research.

Overall 195 posts are to be axed at the university in a bid to save money and union members have voted to stage a strike ballot. Dundee is one of four RTPI-accredited schools of planning in Scotland. The others are at the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow and Heriot-Watt University.

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