University of Stirling

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News Archive

May 2006

University Wins Three Fellowships Worth £125,000 Each

Runrobot Run

Innovation Rewarded at Stirling

Stirling Retains British Universities Team Matchplay Title

Stirling Makes University Top Five

Adopting Industry Marketing Tactics Improves Health

New Society to Fight Bumblebee Extinction



University Wins Three Fellowships Worth £125,000 Each

Date released: Thursday 4 May 2006

The University of Stirling has been awarded three academic fellowships, worth £125,000 each, by Research Councils UK (RCUK). The award will provide three researchers with a path into academia with the promise of academic training and a permanent position at Stirling at the end of the five year fellowship.

The fellowships, which will shortly be advertised in academic press, have been awarded across three areas including Aquaculture (Fish Genomics), Philosophy (Knowledge and Mind; or Legal, Social and Moral Philosophy) and Psychology (vision or music perception).

Professor John Field, Deputy Principal for Research, said: “This award supports the University of Stirling’s commitment to the development of early career researchers and offers us the opportunity to invest in the researchers of the future across our subject profile.”

Interested parties should contact the University of Stirling’s Research Office on 01786 466691 or e-mail: wilma.ellis@stir.ac.uk


Lesley Pollock
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Wilma Ellis

University of Stirling

Stirling

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image of a robot walking

Pictured above:  'RunBot', capable of walking at 3.5 leg-lengths per second

Runrobot Run

Date released: Thursday 4 May 2006

Researchers from the universities of Stirling, Glasgow and Goettingen have developed a two-legged robot that walks at record-breaking speed.

'RunBot', a 30 centimetre high robot, is the fastest robot of its kind, with the ability to walk at 3.5 leg-lenths per second. It has been developed by Stirling PhD student Tao Geng under the supervision of Dr Bernd Porr and Professor Woergoetter.

“We wanted to show that natural walking can be established by combining simple reflexes,” explains Dr Bernd Porr, of the University of Glasgow’s Electronics and Electrical Engineering Department.

He added: “Unlike other walking robots, RunBot uses a minimalist approach with only a handful of sensors and neurons which establish walking. It makes use of the passive mechanical properties of the legs. RunBot challenges the classical view that walking needs a central rhythm generator which tells the legs when to lift and when to swing, for example, like the pacemaker in the heart. Instead the robot uses reflexes which are triggered when a foot touches the ground which then makes the other foot lift and so in. Consequently the robot adjust its speed when it is running up or down a slope which looks very natural and human-like. The reflex based walking robot has been developed to show that simple reflexes are able exhibit complex movements. We have also shown that these reflexes can drive learning to improve walking behaviour.”

The understanding of human walking is important for researchers who work with patients with spinal injuries.

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Tao Geng

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

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Tel: tao.geng@stir.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

 


Innovation Rewarded at Stirling

Date released: Tuesday 9 May 2006

The University of Stirling announced the winners of its annual Innovation Awards last night (Monday 8 May). The Awards, which are open to University staff and students, allow good business ideas the chance to succeed.

This year’s staff winners, who won up to £12,000 each to develop their idea, include:

  • Noni Cobban and Ozzy Dincarslan of the Department of Applied Social Science, who are to implement their licensing system to ensure that home care workers are fit for work.
  • Brodie Paterson of the Department of Nursing & Midwifery, who is to develop an online training package in violence prevention for health and social care workers.

The student winners, who won up to £2,500 to develop their idea, include:

  • John Widdowson, whose idea is to develop a new form of outdoor advertising,
  • Lee Anderson, whose idea is to develop an online community for the University,
  • Emmanuel Pogoson and Tao Pei, who want to develop a way to harness energy produced in gyms.

The Awards are organised by Stirling University Research & Enterprise (SURE) and are supported by Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, Inverness & Nairn Enterprise and Stirling University Innovation Park.

Lesley Pollock

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Kate Wooding

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

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Tel: +44 (0)1786 458003


Stirling Retains British Universities Team Matchplay Title

Date released: Tuesday 16 May 2006

The University of Stirling capped off another successful year in student golf by beating the University of Birmingham in a closely fought final at Woodhall Spa, to win the British Universities Team Matchplay Championship and retain the Wallace Crinson Trophy.

The final produced some sparkling golf. Stirling led 2-1 after the morning foursomes thanks to three consecutive birdies over the last three holes from Walker Cup player Richie Ramsay and his Scottish Youths internationalist partner, Euan Polson. The afternoon singles saw Stirling extend its lead thanks to comfortable victories for Gordon Yates and Paul Betty. However, Birmingham clawed their way back into the match by winning two singles matches and halving one match to help create a tense finish.

In the final match out on the course, Stirling's Blair Paterson faced intense pressure when he found himself 1-down on the last hole after being three up with five to play. Blair held his nerve to hit two stunning shots into the final green and holed out from 25ft for an eagle and a half point to help Stirling to a 5-4 victory.

Stirling’s Head Golf Coach, Gordon Niven, was pleased with his team’s efforts. He said: “The players performed well under pressure. They have worked hard throughout the year and to retain the British Universities’ title is something special. Hopefully, the team can go on to win the British strokeplay title and repeat the grand slam of 12 months ago.”

Lesley Pollock

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Raleigh Gowrie

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

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Tel: +44 (0)1786 466906


Stirling Makes University Top Five

Date released: Thursday 18 May 2006

The University of Stirling has leapt up the Guardian’s University 2006 league tables to be ranked 5th in Scotland and 46th in the UK. Last year the University was ranked 8th and 53rd respectively.

The announcement comes after the Guardian had to re-calculate the league table results it published on Tuesday 2 May 2006 following a number of errors in their original analysis. Stirling’s newly confirmed position is based on an institution score of 63.38, not the 54.58 that was originally published. Only a few points separate Stirling from Strathclyde (63.66), St Andrews (64.07), Glasgow (65.88) and Edinburgh (68.98).

Stirling also fares well in the subject rankings: 1st in Scotland for both Media Studies, Communications & Librarianship (70.37) and Sports Science (73.43, placing it 3rd in the UK); 2nd in Scotland for Education (73.33); 3rd in Scotland for Social Policy and Administration (64.80); 4th in Scotland for Theology and Religious Studies (70.07) and 5th in Scotland for English (64) and Philosophy (62.67).

Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Christine Hallett said: “This is great news for Stirling and reflects our commitment to excellence in learning and teaching. While we were disappointed The Guardian got the tables wrong, they have promised to take action to rectify the situation and we hope that prospective Stirling students will take note our new corrected ranking.”

The correct version of the league tables can be found on The Guardian’s website: education.guardian.co.uk/universityguide2006

The newspaper also plans to print a correction in both its main and education sections.


Lesley Pollock

Media Relations Manager

(01786) 467058


Adopting Industry Marketing Tactics Improves Health

Date released: Friday 19 May 2006

Health professionals should borrow marketing ideas from big companies to improve peoples’ health according to Professor Gerard Hastings, Director of the Institute of Social Marketing and the Cancer Research UK sponsored Centre for Tobacco Control Research at the University of Stirling, in today’s (Friday 19 May) British Medical Journal.

Marketing has always been a force to be reckoned with in public health. In the hands of the tobacco, alcohol and food industries it has a well documented effect on people’s smoking, drinking and dietary behaviour.

But mimicking ‘big business’ tactics - putting the needs of consumers and stakeholders, rather than the product, at the heart of business - has also been shown to be effective in promoting healthy behaviour.

Professor Gerard Hastings said: “Modern marketers produce what they can sell. Listening to the consumer and taking care to understand their point of view makes it easier to influence his or her behaviour. This deceptively simple tactic has revolutionised commerce over the last fifty years. Borrowing this ‘consumer orientated’ thinking and finding out why people make the unhealthy choices they currently do - their values and motivations - can help develop tailored initiatives that are more effective at promoting healthy behaviour.”

Known as ‘social marketing’, the concept has been shown to be effective in initiatives for early cancer detection, improving diet and tackling alcohol, tobacco and drug use.

Key to the success of projects using social marketing, is the early and ongoing involvement of health professionals, according to Professor Hastings. For example, the West of Scotland cancer awareness project, which successfully targeted low income groups to encourage people with symptoms of mouth or bowel cancer to get checked out by a doctor, would not have been as effective without the contribution of healthcare professionals at all stages from planning to implementation.

He also suggests that social marketing should aim to take a lead from commercial marketing in developing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with its consumers. For example, stop smoking services could give successful quitters supermarket-style loyalty cards to persuade friends and family to use the service too, and to be encouraged to think about their other health behaviours.

Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US have already embedded social marketing facilities within their health services, and the Department of Health and National Consumer Council are about to develop the first National Social Marketing Strategy for Health in England.

Professor Hastings added: “Most people know, for instance, that smoking is dangerous, or that their diet could be improved. They don’t change their behaviour because they perceive some other benefit in it – relaxation perhaps, or a treat. The secret for the social marketer is to devise a way of enabling them to get the same benefit more healthily.”

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “Finding ways to make initiatives that encourage healthy behaviour more relevant to people is incredibly important because we know that half of all cancers could be prevented by changes to lifestyle. The success of projects that have used social marketing suggests that, if the concept was adopted across the board, thousands of lives could be saved.”

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Cancer Research UK

Press Office

61 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London

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Tel: +44 (0)20 7061 8318 or 07050 264 059


New Society to Fight Bumblebee Extinction

Date released: Monday 22 May 2006

Bumblebees are among the most endearing of British insects, but are sadly in decline. Three of the 25 species found in the UK have become extinct, and several more may become so if action is not taken quickly. In response to this, a group of bumblebee enthusiasts have formed the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT). Based at the University of Stirling, the organisation is devoted to preventing further declines in the UK’s bumblebee population.

Co-founder, Professor Dave Goulson of the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences said: “If we do not act soon, more bumblebee species could be lost for ever. Everyone can help, and by joining the BBCT you can find out how.”

The BBCT is open to all, has a regular newsletter, and organises various activities such as bumblebee walks and identification workshops. A major aim of the Trust is to promote wildlife gardening, particularly the growing of wildflowers to provide nectar and pollen for bees and other wildlife. Anyone interested in joining should visit the trust website at www.bumblebeeconservationtrust.co.uk

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Professor Dave Goulson

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

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Tel: +44 (0)1786 467759