In 1969 Midlothian Council bought a 248 acre parkland estate at Riccarton, six miles south west of the city centre and gifted it to the University. This became the University's Edinburgh campus. By 1974 the first phase of academic buildings had opened, together with much needed student residences and sports facilities. But money was tight, and it was to be nearly 20 years before the move to Riccarton was complete in 1992.
Heriot-Watt's links with industry entered a new era in 1971 when it established the first University Research Park in Europe as an integral part of its campus. Companies could now build their own research and development laboratories and harness the commercial potential of academic research. 2000 jobs have been created at the Research Park, which has a turnover of £63 million.
The University continued to change the curriculum to react to the changing economy. The teaching of mining engineering was phased out from 1971 but petroleum and offshore engineering were taught from 1973. Today Heriot-Watt University has more than 7000 students - from 80 countries - on its five campuses in Scotland, Dubai and Malaysia. The University is a pioneer in educational technology and distance learning with a further 10,500 students in 140 countries worldwide. The SCHOLAR programme provides online courses for schools and colleges across Scotland, giving a flying start to the professionals of tomorrow.
Heriot-Watt University has an international reputation for research. It is the leading UK academic centre for petroleum engineering and for actuarial mathematics. Its other strengths range from the built environment, food science and technology, robotics, engineering and physical sciences, to mathematics and computer science, management, languages, and fashion and textile design.