Edinburgh Napier University - Members of Court

Edinburgh Napier University is seeking new Members of Court who will have senior leadership experience in a wide range of backgrounds including digital technology, strategic academic leadership or human resources and organisational development. The ideal candidates will be able to advise the University leadership and act as a critical friend to the Court and Executive Team. (Deadline: 8 July)

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Edinburgh Napier University nurtures talent and creates knowledge that shapes communities all around the world. Its innovative research provides solutions to society’s challenges, its graduates leave ready for the workplace, and it has wide-ranging links with employers and businesses across the globe. The University is proud to be the #1 modern university in Scotland (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023), the #1 university in Edinburgh for student satisfaction (NSS 2020, 2021 & 2022), a top 10 UK modern university (Times / Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023), and the top Scottish modern university for research power and impact (Research Excellence Framework 2021).

In addition to these prestigious accolades, Edinburgh Napier have been named the top university in Scotland for environmental sustainability and ethics for two years running by the People and Planet University League. Its overall university strategy is underpinned by a commitment to sustainability and achieving net zero carbon by 2030, while seeking to minimise both its wider and legacy carbon footprint and influence innovative sustainable practices within and beyond its campuses.

Since its establishment as Napier Technical College in 1964, Edinburgh Napier has evolved into a bold, progressive university with a reputation and impact that stretches far beyond its shores. But while the University has risen in rankings and grown in scope over the years, it has stayed true to its heritage as a technical institution.  For its students and researchers, this means that  learning and discovery doesn’t just take place in the lab or the classroom—it happens in the real world. That’s what makes the University different. Year on year, Edinburgh Napier deliver personalised education, work-related learning and innovative research that matters, making positive change not just a distant goal but a daily reality.

Its three state-of-the-art Edinburgh campus locations at Sighthill, Merchiston and Craiglockhart provide a diverse yet interrelated network that underpins the rich sense of belonging and identity shared by its community. With more than 300 courses on offer and nearly 20,000 students from over 140 countries studying on campus, online and at partner universities worldwide, Edinburgh Napier is carving out a distinct position as an enterprising and innovative institution with an unrivalled student learning experience.

From its award-winning international campaign to tackle period poverty, to its pioneering cardiovascular research on the global detection of abnormal heart rhythms, and its nationally recognised cyber security programs, Edinburgh Napier make positive change happen. Guided by its future-focussed strategy and strong leadership, the coming years will see the University continue to make significant positive differences to people’s lives, the economy, the climate, and Scotland’s place on the global stage.

Role specification

The University Court is Edinburgh Napier University’s governing body. Working with the Principal and Vice-Chancellor and her executive team, the Court, along with its Committees, helps shape the University’s strategic direction and oversees its performance to ensure it delivers its vision, values and strategic objectives and meets its statutory obligations.    

Court members have a strong commitment to higher education and bring significant experience of operating at a senior level in any business or organisation in the private, public or not-for-profit environments. They bring an outside perspective, diversity of thought and help facilitate opportunities for the University.

In addition to filling its immediate vacancy, the University is keen to identify individuals at the current time who would be willing to accept full appointment to the Court when future vacancies arise and would engage with Court on an informal basis until that point.

Person specification

Member of Court (Senior Academic Leadership)

The successful candidate will bring strong knowledge of the Higher Education space from having worked in the sector at a senior level and they will be aware of current sector trends. The successful candidate could be, for example, a current or recently-retired Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor, a Dean or Head of School. Previous Board experience is welcome, but not essential. More importantly, they will understand the distinction between executive and non-executive functions.

Member of Court (Digital Technology or AI)

With the world constantly evolving around us and the educational landscape changing, the successful candidate will be able to advise the University leadership on issues relating to digital innovation, cyber-security, the increasing use of AI amongst other trends and issues relating to technology. The successful candidate could come from a range of sectors and could be, for example, a Digital Director, CIO, CTO, Tech Entrepreneur or CEO of a technology/digital company.  Previous Board experience is welcome, but not essential. More importantly, they will understand the distinction between executive and non-executive functions. Individuals will be forward-thinking and creative in their approach.

Member of Court (People, Organisational Development or EDI)

The successful candidate will be able to advise the University leadership on various HR matters from talent strategy and organisational design to change management and EDI programme development. The successful applicant will have experience of aligning organisational design with strategy; developing and improving key performance indicators (KPIs) for HR; overseeing complex employee relation case management and performance management. Previous Board experience is welcome, but not essential. More importantly, they will understand the distinction between executive and non-executive functions. 

Candidates will need to be committed, collaborative, and above all will be passionate about the life-changing impact of a university education, and share Edinburgh Napier's commitment to building a diverse and inclusive community in the years ahead.

Please be aware that the University is recruiting for external membership vacancies only and these roles are not open to students and staff of the University.

Board Composition

To view a full list of Members of Court, please click here


The University is committed to achieving a diverse governing body and welcomes applications from all suitably experienced individuals, particularly those who would further enhance its diversity. In view of the Court’s current lay member gender balance, applications from women are particularly welcome. All appointments will be made on merit, following a fair and transparent process.

Terms of appointment

This role is unremunerated, but reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed. There are four Court meetings, two to three Court/Senior Executive strategy events and an annual Court dinner each year. There are five Sub-Committee meetings throughout the year. These meetings will follow a hybrid approach.

Members are also expected to be available for ad hoc communication and are encouraged to attend University graduations and participate in other ad hoc University events wherever possible. They may also be asked to support the work of the University in other ways including sitting on advisory panels, steering groups, interview panels and acting as a mentor to senior staff members. It is important that members are able to offer the time and dedication necessary to make this contribution.

The appointment is for a four year term, which can be renewed for a second four year term. Edinburgh Napier University is open to applications from international candidates.

The deadline for consideration is 8 July 2023.

If you would like to register your interest, please fill in the form below. A member of the Nurole team will be in touch ahead of the deadline to let you know whether it would be worth submitting an application and to discuss the process further.