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News Archive

November 2005

Reducing Poverty in Malawi

Landscapes by Design

Re-discovering Scotland’s ‘Lost’ Medieval Burgh

Rwandan Genocide under the Spotlight

Crime and Justice Research to Benefit from £10.6 Million Funding

Killer Chemicals Responsible for Thousands of Deaths a Year

Irvine and Malone's Inverness Honours

Take a Break from the Christmas Rush

 

Reducing Poverty in Malawi

Date released: Wednesday 2 November 2005

The University of Stirling has been awarded nearly a quarter of a million pounds from the Scottish Executive’s International Development Fund to set up practical education and training schemes aimed at reducing poverty in Malawi.

The grant, which amounts to £245,000 over three years, will fund a collaborative project between the University’s Institute of Aquaculture and Malawi’s Mzuzu University to teach farmers, fishermen and school children how to make the most of their aquatic resources – from fish farming to safe use of water.

Project leader, Dr Krishen Rana said: “We aim to empower local communities by giving them the knowledge and skills to manage and use their aquatic resources in a sustainable way. We’ll be passing on practical knowledge to lecturers and teachers in Malawi’s schools, vocational colleges and universities. By broadening the expertise of educators and upgrading capacity of Mzuzu university in this way, we’ll not only be ensuring our advice is disseminated to larger sections of the community but that the benefits of this project continue long after its completion.”

Local chiefs have donated 200 hectares of land on the shores of Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest lake, to the initiative. Researchers hope the practical skills they pass on will enable local communities to unlock the lake’s vast potential for developing aquaculture and irrigated agriculture.


Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

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Dr Krishen Rana

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467920


Landscapes by Design

Date released: Monday 7 November 2005

Man has modified our landscapes from time immemorial. Our perceptions of what is harmonious and attractive in a landscape are based on our appreciation of both natural and man-made features.

Landscapes by Design is the theme of this year’s Forth Naturalist and Historian’s Man and the Landscape Symposium. Speakers will address issues such as:

• What is the future for landscapes of the past?
• How have literary and artistic works influenced our taste in landscapes?
• Is our contemporary concern for biodiversity a key to landscape quality?
• Can we re-create landscapes of the past as an aid to understanding the present?
• How should we plan to preserve or enhance landscape special qualities?

The event, now in its 31st year, will take place on Saturday 12 November and tickets are priced £12 (half day £6). For further information log onto: http://www.fnh.stir.ac.uk

Booking enquiries should be directed to Marilyn Scott, tel: (01786) 467269 or e-mail: mbn1@stir.ac.uk

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

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Marilyn Scott

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467269


Re-discovering Scotland’s ‘Lost’ Medieval Burgh

Date release: Tuesday 8 November 2005

Lost cities are something that we tend to associate with the jungles of Asia and South America or the sands of Africa and the Middle East, but Scotland has its very own example – the abandoned medieval royal burgh of Roxburgh in the Borders.

Until the local government reorganisation of the 1970s, Roxburghshire had existed for centuries as a county without the county town from which it took its name, and with only a small village – Old Roxburgh – giving any hint that there may have been anything more. Yet, historical records tell us that from the early 1100s until the 1400s Roxburgh had been one of the largest and most important burghs in Scotland, the site of one of the greatest royal castles in the kingdom, and home to a rich and prosperous population.

Nowadays, its site is marked by three grassy fields near Kelso and some rubble clinging to a hilltop. What happened to almost completely wipe this once thriving community from the map?

This is one of the questions that will be addressed by a day conference at the University of Stirling on Saturday 12 November. Roxburgh: a Medieval Burgh and its Hinterland, will explore the rise and fall of this almost forgotten community, setting the burgh into its historical and archaeological context, and setting out an agenda for future research and fieldwork at the site.

A team of leading researchers will discuss the history, archaeology and environment of a site which offers us a snapshot frozen in time of ordinary life through one of the most dynamic and turbulent eras in Scotland’s history.

The conference will take place in Pathfoot Lecture Theatre, University of Stirling between 9.30-6.30pm and admission is £15. For further information contact Dr Richard Oram on 01786 467584.


Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

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Dr Richard Oram

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467584


Rwandan Genocide under the Spotlight

Date released: Monday 21 November 2005

The University of Stirling will hold a talk on the Rwandan Genocide on Wednesday 23 November as part of its Criminology Research Seminar Series.

Journalist and Honorary Professor the University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Linda Melvern will speak on ‘The 1994 Genocide in Rwanda - Motive, Means and Opportunity’.

Professor Melvern is a world expert on the United Nations. For the past eleven years she has concentrated on the circumstances of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She is the second vice-President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. She was also a consultant to the Military One prosecution team at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and part of her archive of documents on the planning and preparation of the genocide forms a substantial part of the documentary evidence used by the prosecution in this trial.

A first account of the circumstances of the genocide and the role of decision making in the Security Council was written by Professor Melvern and published in The Scotsman in 1995. This included the story of the abandonment of the volunteer UN peacekeepers under their Force Commander, Lt. General Romeo Dallaire. Her first book on the genocide, A People Betrayed. The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide, is in its fifth edition and is used today as source material by students in universities world-wide.

In April 2004 Professor Melvern published her second book about the genocide, Conspiracy to Murder. The Rwandan Genocide, a detailed account of its planning, who was responsible, and how it progressed. She has also published numerous articles, essays and papers related to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The talk will take place in the Common Room, Colin Bell Building,
Department of Applied Social Science, 4-6 pm.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

 

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Dr Laura Piacentini

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467982


Crime and Justice Research to Benefit from £10.6 Million Funding

Date released: Monday 21 November 2005

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) in collaboration with the Scottish Executive Justice Department (SEJD) has awarded nearly £3 million to a partnership of the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling towards the establishment of a new Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR).

In addition to SFC and SEJD funding each of the lead universities will be contributing more than £2 million to the project, with complete funding for the SCCJR totalling £10.6 million over four years.

Allocated through SFC's Strategic Research Development Grant's societal and public policy strand, the main objective of the funding is to enhance research capacity in an area of importance to Scotland.

The SCCJR will comprise of a partnership of the three lead universities in alliance with a wider consortium crime and justice researchers interests in the universities of Aberdeen, Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian Universities. Glasgow Caledonian University will lead one of the research networks through which the Centre's programme will be developed.

The centre will have three co-directors, Professor Michele Burman from the University of Glasgow (lead partner), Professor Richard Sparks from the University of Edinburgh and Professor Gill McIvor from the University of Stirling.

The SCCJR aims to expand research capacity in Scottish HEIs and to utilise the enhanced capability to carry out an integrated programme of high quality crime and justice research on topics which are relevant to Scottish criminal justice needs and which improve the evidence base of Scottish crime reduction and criminal justice policy.

The work will cover five thematic research networks:

* structure and process in the criminal justice system;
* evaluating interventions;
* violence, risk and public health;
* crime, communities, places and inequality; and
* understanding crime trends and patterns.

Roger McClure, Chief Executive of SFC, said: "Everybody aspires to live in a safe and just society. We are delighted to be able to support this collaborative investment in an area which is of such strategic importance to Scotland".

Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson said: "Scottish universities have a well-earned reputation for excellence.

"Research has a real contribution to make on serious issues including crime trends, violence, risk and effective interventions to change behaviour. A strong criminal justice evidence base, built and developed in Scotland, but also drawing on lessons internationally, is crucial to identifying the solutions that are right for our communities. This collaborative approach will enhance our ability to understand the social and economic factors that can lead to problems and what works in Scotland to tackle them.

"I am delighted that the Scottish Executive is helping to enhance the quality and capacity of criminal justice research in Scotland. This important initiative will make sure that our policies, based on the best available evidence, deliver efficient, effective justice services for the twenty-first century."

Professor Michele Burman of the University of Glasgow and leading co-director of the new centre said: "We are delighted to be able to announce this exciting initiative, on behalf of the criminological and criminal justice research community throughout Scotland.

"The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research represents a great opportunity for all those committed to pursuing high quality research and scholarship in this field. We look forward to working with colleagues across the Scottish universities, in government, in the voluntary sector, and with criminal justice practitioners to enhance the quality, profile and relevance of Scottish crime and justice research."

 

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

 

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Professor Gill McIvor

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466319


Killer Chemicals Responsible for Thousands of Deaths a Year

Date released: Friday 25 November 2005

Britain is facing an occupational cancer epidemic that could be killing up to 24,000 people every year – four times official estimates – according to a report published today (Friday 25 November).

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that just four per cent of the UK's annual cancer death toll is as a result of exposure to carcinogens at work, which it says is equal to 6,000 deaths a year. However 'Burying the evidence', a report by Visiting Researcher at the University of Stirling Rory O'Neill, concludes that the incidence of occupational cancer in the UK is much higher and suggests that it is between 12,000 and 24,000 deaths a year – the equivalent of 16 per cent of all cancer deaths in the UK.

Rory O’Neill said: “Although there are limits regarding exposures to hazardous chemicals such as crystalline silica, radon, diesel engine exhaust, benzene and lead compounds in the UK, many employers are risking the future well-being of their employees by not adhering strictly to the rules. More inspections of workplaces would make it difficult for employers to get away with needlessly exposing their staff to toxic substances.”

'Burying the evidence' says that the reason why official figures so underestimate the scale of the problem in the UK is because HSE work in this area is based on now essentially flawed US research conducted almost 25 years ago.

The report believes that the failure of the HSE to upwardly revise its figures relating to the number of people who die each year as a result of occupational cancers is preventing the workplace cancer epidemic from being dealt with properly and is exposing thousands of workers to untold risks.

Leading occupational cancer experts on both sides of the Atlantic have endorsed the findings of the report and are backing calls for the HSE to rethink its approach to the scale of the occupational cancer problem in the UK. The experts believe that earlier findings that it is overwhelmingly someone's lifestyle, not their occupation, which makes an individual more susceptible to cancer are wrong.

More importantly, say the experts, new evidence has since come to light –

establishing for example the link between certain pesticides and cancer – which demands a new look at the issue.

'Burying the evidence' says that almost all the occupational cancer risk is being borne by less than a quarter (22 per cent) of the UK's workforce, the overwhelming majority of whom are manual workers. The report says that both the Government and employers are failing to take the dangers faced by these workers seriously. It also says that there is evidence that the numbers exposed to carcinogens at work could be increasing.

 

“Britain is facing a workplace cancer epidemic which is being largely hidden by official estimates. Much more could be done to prevent workers being needlessly exposed to potentially life-threatening chemicals and toxins, but a massive underestimation of the problem is jeopardising people's lives,” said Rory O’Neill. “Six thousand deaths a year from occupational cancers is terrible enough, but the tragedy is that the real death toll is much, much higher. Every day workers are being exposed to harmful substances such as formaldehyde and nickel that could be responsible for tomorrow's cancers. The UK's complacent occupational cancer estimates are cribbed from one dangerously flawed and now discredited US study which deliberately excluded most workplace cancers and which 25 years ago was greeted with undisguised glee by the most polluting, toxic industries. The result is no UK prevention strategy worth the name and thousands of new cases of occupational cancers each year which could and should have been prevented by simple workplace measures, for example, the introduction of safer workplace substances and processes. Occupational cancer is a public health calamity which needs to become a major prevention priority."

'Burying the evidence' contains a number of recommendations for action:

 

  • The Government should come up with the resources to fund a major national occupational cancer prevention and awareness-raising campaign.
  • The out-of-date occupational cancer estimates held by the HSE must be revised immediately and more resources allocated to allow an increase in the number of workplace safety inspections.
  • The use of the most dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals should be phased out and companies should be forced to investigate the use of safer alternatives.
  • A national system of occupational health records should be introduced which could move with an individual throughout their working life. Also employers should be made to tell employees of the risks they face when working with certain substances.

 

'Burying the evidence' also contains a number of case studies of workers who have already died or who are seriously ill as a result of exposure to carcinogens at work. These include Scottish cases.

Lesley Pollock

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058

 

For further information:

 
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Mr Rory O'Neill

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: 07813779501

 

Findings have also been endorsed by Professor Andrew Watterson, University of Stirling. Contact:  01786 466283 and 0796616140.


Irvine and Malone's Inverness Honours

Date released: Friday 25 November 2005

Sports presenter Hazel Irvine and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Dr Beverly Malone will both be awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Stirling today (Friday 25 November) – mirroring the University’s strengths in Sports Studies and Nursing & Midwifery.

The women will receive their honours from Chancellor Dame Diana Rigg who will also confer degrees on more than 130 students during two graduation ceremonies at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness on Friday 25 November.

Hazel Irvine will be made Doctor of the University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to sport and the media.

Head of Sports Studies, Professor Grant Jarvie said: “Hazel is one of the BBC’s most adept sports presenters appearing on Grandstand, Snooker, Ski Sunday and sports news bulletins on a regular basis. She is also well known for her coverage of annual sporting events such as the London Marathon, Wimbledon, The Open and World Athletics Championships. Her enthusiasm for sport stretches beyond her professional life – she is honorary President of Dumbarton Football Club Supporters Association, a keen golfer and as a student at St Andrews where she won Scottish Universities titles in golf, netball and athletics.”

Dr Beverly Malone will be made Doctor of the University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing education and to social justice. One of her personal priorities when she was appointed General Secretary of the RCN in 2001 was to improve the pay and working practices of nurses. She has served as a surgical nurse and a clinical nurse specialist, becoming President of the American Nursing Association in 1996. This led to her being appointed Dean of the School of Nursing at North Carolina State University; and in 1999 she was invited to serve as health adviser to President Clinton.

Deputy Principal, Professor John Field said: "Dr Malone has been courageous and imaginative in advancing the interests of nurses and other health professionals, while ensuring that patients needs come first. Under her stewardship, the RCN has been at the forefront of lifelong learning as a way of attaining the highest professional standards while encouraging all health service workers to achieve their personal potential".

Lesley Pollock

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058

For further information:

 
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Khlayre Mullin

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466675


Take a Break from the Christmas Rush

Date released: Wednesday 30 November 2005

The University of Stirling invites you to take a break from the Christmas rush and chill out to some cool jazz tunes from the likes of Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin this December.

Vance Adair will be accompanied by Ronnie Findlay on piano for the last performance in this semester’s series of the Principal’s Music. Join them in the Chaplaincy (within the Andrew Miller Building) on Monday 19 December 2005 at 12.15pm. Admission is free. All welcome.

Lesley Pollock
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

For further information:

 
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Khlayre Mullin

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466675