External Relations

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News Archive

December 2005

Gold Medal for University Institute

Monkeys Ape a Yawn

University Helps Develop Website for Stroke Survivors

Celebrating a Unique Scottish Success Story

University of Stirling Golfers Florida Bound

 

Gold Medal for University Institute

Date released: Thursday 1 December 2005

The University of Stirling has been bequeathed a Victorian gold medal, first awarded to Sir James Maitland – founder of Howietoun fishery – in 1883 for services to fish breeding, in the will of his great granddaughter, Gay Stafford.

Howietoun, which lies to the west of Bannockburn, has been operating as a fishery since 1873 and once contributed significantly to the Stirling economy. It is used today by the University’s Institute of Aquaculture as a commercial salmon smolt and brown trout farm.

Fishery Manager, Iain Semple said: “When Sir James Maitland founded Howietoun in 1873, the hatching houses he designed were unique and innovative and have been used as a model for fish enterprising worldwide. The University acquired Howietoun in 1979 and it still operates as a commercial enterprise, exporting fish eggs as far a field as Chile, Kenya and South Africa to restock over fished areas. Today’s methods are a far cry from Victorian times, when the fish were transported in churns by horse and cart to Stirling station.”


Maitland was a real pioneer – he was the first person to export brown trout fish eggs to New Zealand – and received many awards for services to fisheries. The University has emulated Maitland’s success and today the hatchery produces 1 million eggs annually. A new fishery advisory service has also been recently launched at Howietoun to share the Institute’s expertise with the fishing community and industry.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

 

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Mr Iain Semple

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 812473


Monkeys Ape a Yawn

Date released: Wednesday 7 December 2005

Researchers from the University of Stirling have proved that macaques, like apes and humans, can catch a yawn from each other.

“Almost all animals yawn, but we don’t know why they yawn” said Annika Paukner, a psychologist at Stirling. “One hypothesis is related to empathy. Humans and chimpanzees catch yawns from each other and the idea is that because they emphasise with the yawning individual that, in turn, will trigger them to yawn.”

In the experiment, stumptail macaques were shown video clips of other yawning macaques or video clips of other macaques making non-specific mouth movements. As a group, the monkeys yawned more during and just after the yawn video.

The results were a surprise to the researchers, as they had not previously observed monkeys showing signs of empathic behaviour.

However, the video also made the macaques scratch themselves more indicating that the increase in yawning may have been linked to tension.

Annika Paukner said: “In the wild, adult male macaques use yawns as a threat signal in male-male displays, almost to show off their canines. Monkeys might also scratch and yawn when they are nervous to relief tension. So at present we have established that monkeys yawn when they see others yawn, but we don’t know if that’s related to true contagion and empathy, or to yawns as a threat signal.”

The research took place at the MRC Human Reproductive Science Unit.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058


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Ms Annika Paukner

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466373


University Helps Develop Website for Stroke Survivors

Date released: Monday 19 December 2005

Have you experienced a stroke? If so, researchers from the Alliance for Self Care Research at the University of Stirling would like to hear from you. Your experiences could help other people understand and come to terms with having a stroke and what it might mean for them and their families. The University is interviewing people from all over the UK about their experience of stroke to be included on a website of people’s experiences of health and illness (www.dipex.org).

DIPEx is a national charity which produces an award winning website which features interviews with ordinary people, of all ages and backgrounds, who have faced the challenges of living with different illnesses or health problems. The site also includes reliable information about each illness and its treatment, frequently asked questions and answers and links to other sources of support including websites, books and videos.

DIPEx was co-founded by Dr Ann McPherson an Oxford based GP and Dr Andrew Herxheimer, after their own experiences of illness. They realised how helpful it can be to share experiences with others who are going through the same thing and wanted to create a website that provided this support to people 24 hours a day.

The website on stroke is being produced with the aid of a grant from the NHS Scotland Managed Clinical Networks on the Web and funding from Scottish Funding Council (SFC), The Scottish Executive Health Department (SEHD) and NHS Education for Scotland (NES).

The section on stroke will help provide information and support to people who have had a stroke and their families and friends. It will also be used in the training of health professionals to help them understand more about the experiences of having a stroke and how a stroke can affect peoples’ lives.

Taking part in this research would involve talking to a researcher about your stroke and about your experiences of health care and life after a stroke. The interviews are carried out at home and there are different options for how the interview is recorded (either video or audio).

If you think you might be interested in participating and would like some more information then please contact Dr Clare Dow on telephone: (01786) 466106 or e-mail: clare.dow@stir.ac.uk You can view other conditions that have been covered on the DIPEx website at www.dipex.org

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

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Dr Clare Dow

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466106


Celebrating a Unique Scottish Success Story

Date released: Tuesday 20 December 2005

The macrobert is “a pioneer and true centre of excellence in terms of serving the needs of young people and families”, according to an independent review of the arts centre.

The report by Morton Smyth also praises the macrobert for contributing significantly to Stirling’s entertainment scene – “bringing high quality artistic productions to the local area would otherwise not be seen outside Glasgow and Edinburgh” – thus boosting the area’s profile and the local economy. The report indicates that the direct and indirect contributions that macrobert makes to the local economy to be around £6,000,000 annually. In addition to this, it supports directly and indirectly the equivalent of 80 jobs in and around Stirling.

The consultancy also commends the macrobert’s success in attracting audiences. With an average of 62 percent capacity it outperforms other similar live performance venues. It is good at generating its own income; it again exceeds similar organisations in terms of earned income from the box office, and other key areas such as catering and conferencing. A significant proportion of this income (29 percent) is from ticket sales. The report also highlights an unusually high penetration of households in Stirling at just over 30 percent.

Artistic Director Liz Moran said: “In October 2002 the macrobert re-opened following a radical refurbishment made possible with Scottish Arts Council and National Lottery funding and has become a benchmark for other arts buildings in terms of its unique facilities and appeal to all ages. Our facilities have enabled us to increase our audiences by 70 percent, including a 46 percent increase in use by young people. Indeed 20 per cent of tickets are sold to children.”

The macrobert is also making an impact internationally. Its production of Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince toured America including Broadway in 2002 and 2005, with plans for a further tour in 2006. While in 2004 it launched Scotland’s first International Festival for Children and Young People – Discovery in partnership with Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre. The festival attracted big names such as English Patient Director Anthony Minghella, Lord of the Rings star Billy Boyd and actress Dame Diana Rigg.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

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Liz Moran

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467152


University of Stirling Golfers Florida Bound

Date released: Thursday 22 December 2005

The University of Stirling is to send its six top female golfers to the USA in January to compete in two events on the prestigious Orange Blossom Tour. The players will spend almost three weeks in Florida preparing for and competing in the Jones/Doherty Amateur Championship at Coral Ridge Country Club and the Women’s International Four-ball event hosted by Orangebrook Country Club.

It is almost 14 years since Catriona Matthew, then a Stirling golf scholarship student, made the same trip and brought home the Jones/Doherty Cup. Matthew has gone on to become Scotland’s most successful female professional golfer, competing in two Solheim Cups and winning numerous events on the US and European Women’s’ tours.

The Stirling team, consisting of GB squad member Kylie Walker, Scottish girls’ internationalists Dawn Dewar and Clare-Marie Carlton, England senior internationalists Alex Marshall and Olivia Briggs, and Cheshire County player Emma Tipping, are excited about the trip. Team captain, Olivia Briggs said:

“This is a great opportunity to play competitive golf during the winter period and test our skills against the best that America has to offer. We are extremely thankful for the financial support offered by the University to fund this trip.”

The Orange Blossom Tour consists of four events staged at high quality venues throughout Florida during January. The tour has attracted a number of famous players in the past. Catriona Matthew’s name is engraved on the Doherty/Jones Cup alongside a number of other famous winners including American favourite Patty Berg, Nancy Rubin, Leslie Shannon, Michelle McGann, Vicki Goetze and Natalie Gulbis.

The Stirling players are supported at the University of Stirling through its International Golf Scholarship Programme. Over the past 25 years, more than 150 golf scholarships have been awarded with more than 85 players going on to gain international honours. Previous scholarship holders include recent Walker Cup player Richard Ramsay, former European Tour professional Gordon Sherry, Solheim Cup player Maria Hjorth and European Ladies Tour professional Lyn Kenny. Colin Dalgleish, appointed yesterday as Great Britain’s Team Captain for the 2007 Walker Cup, was the first student to gain a golf scholarship at Stirling University back in 1981.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

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Raleigh Gowrie

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466906