University of Stirling

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News Archive

May 2005

Monkeys Recognise When They're Being Imitated

Short Courses and Summer Schools 2005

Virtual Landscaping Unlocks Loch Lomond's Icy Past

University Offers Chinese Scholarships

New LLB at Stirling

Living with the Urge to Self Harm

Professor Questions Fresh Talent Initiative

British Championship Success Allows Stirling Golfers to aim for the Grand Slam

Lunchtime Clarinets

Stirling Summer Honours

Scientists Begin New Research into Childhood Autism

Monkeys Recognise When They're Being Imitated

Date released: Monday 2 May 2005

 

Researchers from the universities of Stirling and Parma (Italy) have discovered that monkeys recognise when they are being imitated by humans but do not join in the game.

Ten pigtailed macaques were tested in a research project at the University of Parma by two experimenters. One imitated the monkeys’ actions with an object, while the other performed different actions. The results show that the monkeys looked significantly longer at the imitator, but did not ‘test’ the imitators movements.

University of Stirling researcher Annika Paukner said: “The study suggests that while monkeys might recognise matching motor movements they do not understand the intentional aspects of the imitator’s behaviour, unlike humans and great apes.”

Lesley Pollock

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Annika Paukner

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

email Email: annika.paukner@stir.ac.uk

Short Courses and Summer Schools 2005

Date released: Monday 2 May 2005

 

The University of Stirling’s ever popular short courses and summer schools programme kicks off on Saturday 14 May with a weekend of calligraphy, creative writing, history, drawing, Gaelic language, fiddle and bodhran workshops.

A wide range of day, weekend and week-long courses are on offer throughout the spring and summer months on a range of subjects from Scottish history, culture, society and natural heritage to creative arts, music and dance.

To view a full programme log onto: http://www.daice.stir.ac.uk/sss/ or contact Summer School Co-ordinator, Margery Stirling on 01786 467951 to request a full brochure.

Lesley Pollock

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(01786) 467058

 

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Margery Stirling
University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

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Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467951


Virtual Landscaping Unlocks Loch Lomond's Icy Past

Date released: Tuesday 3 May 2005

  

Ever wanted to go back in time and see history with your own eyes? Well now you can, virtually that is. The University of Stirling’s Virtual Landscape Centre is using the latest virtual reality and computer gaming technology to recreate landscapes as they were thousands or even millions of years ago.  Their latest project in conjunction with the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, shows a recreation of the Loch Lomond area towards the end of the last ice age. 

Visitors to the Balmaha Visitor Centre can now experience what is was like to see a glacier sweeping down Loch Lomond, carving out the rock to form the deep trough that is there today.  “The interactive exhibit allows you to walk or fly through the landscape as it would have looked 11,300 years ago” says the Virtual Landscape Centre Director Dr Sandy Winterbottom.  “You can see the glaciers, study the rocks and even look at the post-glacial plant-life – all with stunning realism”

Visitors will be able to see the new display from May 6.

Dr Tim Edwards, Director of Visitor and Operational Services for the National Park said, “ We are really excited about this innovative new display. It gives visitors a chance to learn all about the natural and cultural heritage of Loch Lomond and takes them on a remarkable journey through time. The University of Stirling has created an impressive virtual landscape which interprets and displays the origins of this important place in a way that is both exciting and accessible.”

Lesley Pollock

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(01786) 467058

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Dr Sandy Winterbottom
University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466538


University Offers Chinese Scholarships

Date released: Monday 9 May 2005

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, Professor Christine Hallett will announce research scholarships for postgraduate students from China during a visit to Beijing on Monday 9 May (today).

The University of Stirling has an enviable reputation for the high quality of its research and scholarship.

Professor Hallett said: “Stirling’s research is recognised for the relevance and benefit it brings to society – locally, nationally and internationally. Recent additions to our research portfolio include developments in the fields of cancer care, crime, drugs, e-learning, health psychology, lifelong learning, sports policy and teacher education. These themes build on our existing strengths in aquaculture, communications and media, social policy, housing, child welfare, nursing, midwifery, law, finance, retail, environment and economics.”

Stirling has a sizeable and vibrant postgraduate community from the UK and overseas, some studying on taught Master’s programmes and others pursuing research degrees within highly rated departments. In the last Research Assessment Exercise (2001), Stirling had ten subjects graded 5 (Accountancy, Aquaculture, English Studies, Film & Media Studies, French, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Social Work) and a further six graded 4 (Biological Sciences, Business & Management, Economics, Education, German and Sports Studies).

Current Chinese PhD students in the department of Psychology include Tao Geng (tgeng@cn.stir.ac.uk) who is building a robot which he is teaching to walk and Helen Chang (h.y.j.chang@stir.ac.uk) who is investigating how facial expressions influence ratings of attractiveness. Chinese Research Fellow Xiaozhong Zheng (xiaozhong.zheng@stir.ac.uk) is also involved in research in the Institute of Aquaculture, where the focus is on strategies for sustainability whether in modern commercial markets or in poor communities in developing countries. Other success stories include, Film & Media Studies graduate Yirong Dai (MSc Media Management 2002) who is now Channel Director of Hit FM 88.7 in Beijing (yirong.dai@hitfm.cn).

Professor Hallett said: “We hope that these new scholarships and our track record of producing intellectually able and employable graduates will encourage Chinese students to come to study at our beautiful campus.”

Lesley Pollock

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058


New LLB at Stirling

Date released: Monday 9 May 2005

 

The University of Stirling will soon be training Scotland’s lawyers of the future. The specialist degree of LLB will be launched by the Department of Accounting, Finance and Law in autumn 2005 with the professional accreditation of the Law Society of Scotland.

Neil Stevenson, deputy director of Education and Training, at the Law Society of Scotland, said: "The Society is delighted that the University of Stirling has been accredited and we wish them luck in the coming year as they implement their programme. The accreditation process ensures standards are met in relation to areas such as the teaching staff, curriculum, facilities and research in the development of the lawyers of the future. The Panel were particularly impressed at the standard of application by Stirling and their recommendation was approved unanimously by the Council of the Society."

The LLB will provide challenging and rewarding intellectual training in all aspects of law. Graduation with an LLB will enable those who wish to practise law as Scottish Solicitors to apply for places on one of the postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice programmes, which is the next stage in the process of qualifying as a lawyer in Scotland.

Head of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Law, Professor Gavin Little said: “The University is looking forward to welcoming its first LLB students in the autumn and to establishing new links with the legal profession. The provision of an LLB degree which is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland is an important part of the strategic expansion of law as a discipline within the University. It builds on existing strengths in law teaching and research and is an exciting new development for us.”

The University already offers two degrees in law: the BA in Law and the BA in Business Law. For further see the University's Undergraduate Prospectus.

 

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Professor Gavin Little
University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467301


Living with the Urge to Self Harm

Date released: Tuesday 10 May 2005

A recent PhD study exploring the experience of people who self-harm has found that some sufferers may never be free from an urge to harm themselves.

Postgraduate Dianne Cameron set out to explore the experiences of people who self-injure in order to identify and understand the processes involved in self-cutting – an area where there has there been little research despite the number of self-harmers in the United Kingdom.

She carried out interviews with 10 people, aged between 29 and 40 years, who were currently self-cutting or had self-injured in the past. The ‘urge to self-injure’ emerged as meaningful across their experiences of self-cutting.

Dianne explained that during her research “the interviewees shared their experiences of self-injury emphasising both the meaning and function of cutting for them, and the struggle they face living with the behaviour. They may be free from cutting in the sense that they have not injured themselves for weeks, months or even years however this does not mean that they are free from the urge to cut. It did not seem possible for the participants to say that they had stopped cutting and for most of the participants it was important for them to know that their favoured cutting tool was safely stored away.  Knowing that they had access to a cutting tool if needed appeared to give the participants a feeling of comfort. People who self-injure appear to face a paradox of finding it very difficult to live with self-cutting, while simultaneously facing the challenge of living without the behaviour.”

The findings emphasise that it is not only the act of cutting which needs to be understood, but also the urge to cut within the context of the everyday lives of people who are currently self-injuring, or who have self-injured in the past.

Based on her findings, Dianne said: “It is necessary to look beyond the cuts and scars which people inflict upon themselves in order to discover how and why they engage in self-cutting.  Although the participants at times found cutting and its consequences difficult to tolerate, some also expressed a need to cut, to help them cope with negative feelings and distressing past experiences.  As a result, the participants often battled with the urge to cut in terms of either satisfying or resisting the urge. This has implications for designing effective treatment approaches, which take into account the conflicting feelings which people who self-injure have about the behaviour.”

The focus on the urge to cut provides a fresh perspective from which to view what life is like for people who self-injure.

Dianne said: “Drawing parallels with the field of addictions, it appears as though the feelings and experiences of people who self-injure are similar to those addicted to drugs, alcohol and gambling. This has implications for health and social care practitioners in terms of appreciating how agonising it can be for people who self-injure to live with the urge to cut. Help and support based on an understanding of the role which the urge to cut plays in the lives of people who self-injure is an important step in meeting the needs of people who self-injure.”

Lesley Pollock

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(01786) 467058

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Dianne Cameron

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

email Email: dianne.cameron@nhs.net

Professor Questions Fresh Talent Initiative

Date released: Tuesday 10 May 2005

A University of Stirling expert in population decline gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Fresh Talent Inquiry on Tuesday 10 May.

Economics Professor, Robert Wright said: “Although a positive policy development, the Fresh Talent Initiative will not attract the number of people with the right skills needed to address Scotland’s demographic decline.” Members of the Parliament’s European & External Relations Committee asked Professor Wright for his views on developing a specific Scottish immigration policy and persuading migrants to stay in Scotland.

Professor Wright is currently working on an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project – in conjunction with economists at the University of Strathclyde – to evaluate the impact of population decline and ageing on the long-term performance and health of the Scottish economy.

The project will use a simulation approach – using a mathematical model of the Scottish economy – to measure the effects of increased immigration to Scotland brought about by policies such as the Scottish Executive’s Fresh Talent Initiative. The model will also be used to assess the differences made by increasing government spending on family friendly policies that aim to make it easier for parents to combine childrearing and employment.

 “The demographic situation in Scotland is bleak. While life expectancy is increasing, deaths exceed births and the number of immigrants only balances the number of emigrants. If there are no major changes, Scotland’s population will continue to decrease as well as age rapidly. According to population projections carried out by the Government’s actuary department, “ said Professor Wright “the population in Scotland will decline from its current level of about 5 million to 4.5 million by 2043 – a decrease of about 10 percent. As the population shrinks, its age distribution will also change dramatically.”

Lesley Pollock

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(01786) 467058

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Professor Robert Wright
University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467481 or 07759 628138


British Championship Success Allows Stirling Golfers to aim for the Grand Slam

Date released: Monday 16 May 2005

The University of Stirling proved its worth as the leading university for golf when it won the British Universities Team Matchplay Championships last week. The Finals weekend, played over the fabulous Notts GC, Hollinwell, saw Stirling triumph Stirling golf teamover Bournemouth University 7.5 – 2.5 in the last 4-stage before defeating Loughborough 6 – 3 in the final. The victory goes alongside 2005 wins at the Scottish Universities’ winter and Annual Championships.

The team played some remarkable golf in the final. Jamie Mcleary, Stirling’s No.1 player and a Walker Cup hopeful, played magnificently in securing his victory. In doing so, he gained the plaudits of Stirling’s Head Coach, Gordon Niven. Niven stated:

‘Mcleary proved that he is one of the leading amateur players in Britain. To shoot 5-under par around a Championship golf course under pressure conditions goes to show how sharp his game really is. His victories helped steady the play of his team-mates. I am proud to be associated with a very talented group of players. In addition, my thanks are extended to the University’s Department of Sports Studies for supporting the golf scholarship programme’.

Computing Science student Mcleary was ably assisted by fellow players, Gordon Yates, Bradley Brooke, Stuart Turnbull, Evan Bryceland (all Sports Studies) and Blair Paterson (Business Studies). Paterson, the team captain, has now set his sights on winning the British Universities’ Team Strokeplay title, played at Murrayshall, Perth in mid-June.

‘The Stirling team of 3-years ago managed to win all 4 student golf major events. This year, the team has performed extremely well to win the first 3 titles. It would be a fantastic achievement to win the 4th and achieve the coveted Grand Slam’ of student golf.’

The championship success wasn’t the only victory that Stirling could lay a claim to last weekend. Golf scholarship student and GB internationalist, Richard Ramsay, won the Irish Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship, played at the Carlton House course, County Kildare. Ramsay, a 3rd year Sports Studies student, finished with a 5-under par score of 283 to win by 2 shots from Dunmerry’s Darren Crowe. The win comes on the back of his 2nd-place finish at last month’s Sherry Cup. These performances have placed Ramsay in a strong position to gain a place in Scotland’s European Championship team that heads to Hillside Golf Club, Southport, this summer.  

Lesley Pollock

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058

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Raleigh Gowrie

Sports Performance Manager

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466906


Lunchtime Clarinets

Date released: Tuesday 24 May 2005

The University of Stirling continues its series of informal lunchtime musical recitals – entitled the Principal’s Music – with a performance of classical and contemporary music by clarinets on Wednesday 25 May 2005 at 12.15 - 1.00 pm in the MacRobert foyer. 

Members of the public are most welcome and admission is free.

If you have any queries please contact the External Relations on Tel: (01786) 467055 or E-mail: c&d@stir.ac.uk.

Lesley Pollock

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058

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Khlayre Mullin

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466675


Stirling Summer Honours

Date released: Tuesday 24 May 2005

Dame Diana Rigg will confer more than 1400 degrees on University of Stirling graduands this summer in three ceremonies. The Chancellor will also present four honorary degrees:

Thursday 30 June - 2.30pm

The Baroness O’Neill will be presented with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University for her contribution to philosophy and public affairs. Professor Onora O’Neill is Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge – a post she has held since 1992. A former member and chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, she now chairs the Nuffield Foundation. She is also a member of the House of Lords and was awarded a CBE in 1995.

At this ceremony the Honorary Degree of Master of Arts will be conferred upon Mr Eric Williamson (posthumous award) and Mrs Joyce Williamson to acknowledge their contribution to enhancing the profile of the University. Mr and Mrs Williamson lost their only son, an undergraduate at the University of Stirling, in a car accident in 1981. The couple turned this personal tragedy into a public good by establishing a Trust Fund which since 1983 has brought  major political figures such as George Robertson, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy to the University to deliver an annual address, and provides a travel fund for students undertaking research in politics. The award will be collected by Dr Ian Williamson, a close relative.

Friday 1 July - 10.30am

Sir James Armour will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University in recognition of his contributions to veterinary science and the development of the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling. Previously Vice Principal and Professor of Veterinary Parasitology at the University of Glasgow and Chairman of the Glasgow Dental Hospital and School NHS Trust, he is internationally renowned as one of the most eminent veterinarians of his generation. He was awarded a CBE in 1989.

Lesley Pollock

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058

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Khlayre Mullin

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 466675


Scientists Begin New Research into Childhood Autism

Date released: Monday 30 May 2005

Preliminary research by a team of Scottish scientists has indicated a possible link between fatty acid deficiency and childhood autism.

Results of a pilot study by researchers at the universities of Stirling and Edinburgh, in conjunction with the Royal Hospital for Sick Kids in Edinburgh and South Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust, suggest that the behaviour of fatty acids in the blood of children diagnosed with autism may differ from that of other children. The consortium have been awarded £125,335 by the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) to test this finding.

Lead researcher, Dr Gordon Bell of the University of Stirling said: “Fatty acids are required for the optimal function of cells and organs such as the brain and eyes as well as for fighting off infection. Our preliminary research shows that levels of an enzyme involved in fatty acid metabolism may be higher in children with autism and therefore these children may metabolise fatty acids quicker. However, it is too early to say whether fatty acid food supplements could help.”

The study will measure the blood fatty acid levels in 50 children with autism and compare them to samples from non-autistic children.

Dr Anne O’Hare of the University of Edinburgh said: “The number of children diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically over the past ten years, both in Scotland, and in the developed world as a whole. We hope that this new research will lead to the development of treatments for managing autism in children.”

 

Lesley Pollock

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058

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Dr Gordon Bell

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467997