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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
University in 350m funding drive
Edinburgh University
The university plans to spend 350m on 33 projects
One of the biggest funding appeals ever undertaken by a British university is set to be launched.

The University of Edinburgh is hoping to raise 350m from supporters and benefactors by 2011. Almost 150m has already been secured for the appeal.

It is said to be the biggest ever private funding drive by a higher education establishment in Scotland.

It is thought to be second only to Cambridge University's current goal of attracting 1bn of extra funds by 2012.

The fundraising effort will target former students, funding councils, major trusts, corporations and research centres.

We have been able to put together 149m over the last five years without having a really focused campaign
Young Dawkins
Edinburgh University

The university said the sum, which is marginally less than the 400m total annual turnover for the 400-year-old institution, was needed to ensure Edinburgh keeps its place among the world's leading centres of learning.

It is currently ranked in the top 35 of the 2006 World University Rankings, published by the Times Higher Education Supplement.

The 350m target has been earmarked for 33 projects.

These include providing 35m of scholarships for disadvantaged students, building a new Centre for Regenerative Medicine, a 40m university library redevelopment and a new teaching facility for the Royal School of Veterinary Studies.

Young Dawkins, vice principal of development at the university, said the appeal figure was a realistic target.

'Margin of excellence'

"We have been able to put together 149m over the last five years without having a really focused campaign," he said.

"Now we have 33 very strategic projects.

"It's not known that every single goal will be fully subscribed, but some will be over-subscribed."

Edinburgh is to get a grant of more than 136m from the Scottish Funding Council for the coming academic year.

Mr Dawkins said: "We want the public investment and private investment to come together to give us an extra margin of excellence."

An SFC spokesman said it would not comment on individual institutions, but that it was happy for the university to pursue private funding.

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