University of Stirling

Development and External Affairs

Media

 

News Archive

October 2006

New Campus-based Police Officer for University

Sport at Stirling Just Keeps Getting Better, Says Ramsay

Clare Short to Give University Address

Study Suggests Possible Link Between Work History and Breast Cancer Risk

Dementia: The Thief of Time

Scotland's First African Film Festival: 20-29 October

Fish 'n' Chips: Special Chip Provides Better Picture of Salmon Health

Research Shows Scotland Lacks Sporting Cultures of Excellence

Stirling Students Sweep the Boards at St Andrews Bay

New Campus-based Police Officer for University

Date released: Tuesday 10 October 2006

Pc Westmorland

One of Stirling's largest communities, the University of Stirling, just got even safer thanks to the recent appointment of campus-based policeman Constable Mark Westmorland.

Crime levels at the University have always been low and Pc Westmorland's main role will be to provide policing support, safety advice and reassurance.

He said: "Life at the university is new to me and so I have a lot in common with the new intake of students. The 310 acre campus is busy place with more than 11,000 people coming and going on a regular basis, including staff, students and members of the public. I am really looking forward to getting to know the community and seeing that everyone enjoys the benefits of a safe, crime-free environment."

Pc Westmorland will working closely with the University and its students' association in ensuring the campus is as safe as possible.

A University spokesperson said: "The University campus has been described by the police as one of the safest in Britain. There is a strong community feel on campus and many of our prospective students and parents comment on the friendly atmosphere. However, like any community we have to be vigilant to crime and welcome Pc Westmoreland's presence on campus."

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058


Sport at Stirling Just Keeps Getting Better, Says Ramsay

Date released: Tuesday 10 October 2006

Sylvia JacksonRichie Ramsay, the young Scots golfer who made history by becoming the first British winner of the coveted US Amateur title in almost a century, has praised his University’s ongoing commitment to student athletes with the opening of an extended fitness centre today (Tuesday 10 October). The new facility doubles the number of cardio and weight training machines on offer.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Ramsay – who is currently in Portugal preparing for the Eisenhower Trophy – said: “The University is already great place for sport, but it just keeps getting better. There is a really vibrant atmosphere around the sports facilities and the quality of the environment is second-to-none. There’s a fantastic collection of sports facilities on campus, not least a nine-hole golf course and a practice centre.”

The MP Jackson Fitness Centre will be officially opened by Dr Sylvia Jackson – the facility is named after the MSP’s late husband Mike Jackson, formerly a Deputy Principal at the University of Stirling.

Commenting on the facility, Dr Jackson said: “I am absolutely delighted that this new facility has been put in place and I am sure that it will give a real boost to student athletes aiming for excellence from across Scotland, those studying at Stirling and the wider community. The new extension and equipment adds not only to the first-rate sporting facilities on campus but also reaffirms the University of Stirling’s position as the focal point for sporting excellence in Central Scotland.”

Dr Jackson will be joined at the launch by Stirling’s top swimming scholars Andrew Hunter, Todd Cooper and Craig Houston, who achieved silver and bronze medals for Scotland at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Melbourne; as well as student golfer Gordon Yates, who last month helped Great Britain to a bronze medal at the World University Golf Championships in Italy.

Silver medallist, Andrew Hunter said: “The extension to the fitness centre is great news for sports scholars like me aiming to be the top of their game and for up-and-coming athletes training for success in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.”

A hub for sport in Central Scotland, the University of Stirling has some of the finest sports facilities on a single site in the country, including the National Swimming Academy and the Gannochy National Tennis Centre. It is also home to the Scottish Institute of Sport, Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland and Scottish Swimming.

Just over £59,000 of new equipment for the gym has been provided by sportscotland. Julia Bracewell OBE, Chair of sportscotland said: “It is important that our young athletes have the best possible network of facilities to help them realise their potential. The sportscotland investment of £59,010 for enhanced strength and conditioning equipment at the extended University of Stirling’s M P Jackson Fitness Centre, will enable athletes to access this excellent facility close to home.”

She added: “Strength and conditioning is an important part of an athletes’ training schedule and focuses on developing strength, speed, power and endurance in relation to the particular demands of every individual and their sport. This new equipment will not only benefit the Institute and Central Institute of Sport supported athletes who use the facility, but also give all users access to this specialised resource.”

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058


Clare Short to Give University Address

Date released: Monday 9 October 2006


Clare ShortThe Rt Hon Clare Short, who has recently announced that she will be stepping down as a Labour MP at the next General Election, will give the University of Stirling’s annual Andrew John Williamson Memorial Lecture on Friday 13 October on the topic Re-Thinking UK Foreign Policy.

Commenting on the topic of her forthcoming lecture, Ms Short said: “Current UK foreign policy is humiliating the UK as we are cast as a poodle of a deeply mistaken US administration. We are undermining international law, weakening the UN and exacerbating the problem of terrorism.”

Ms Short was Secretary of State for International Development from 1997 to May 2003. She previously worked as a Civil Servant at the Home Office, as a Director of Youthaid and the Unemployment Unit and as a Director of AFFOR, a community based organisation promoting racial equality in Birmingham. She entered the House of Commons in 1983 as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Ladywood, which she has held since then.

From 1996 until the 1997 General Election she was Opposition spokesperson on Overseas Development. She was Shadow Minister for Women from 1993 to 1995 and Shadow Secretary of State for Transport from 1995 to 1996. She has been Opposition spokesperson on Environment Protection, Social Security and Employment. A member of the Home Affairs Select Committee from 1983-85, she was Chair of the All-Party Group on Race Relations from 1985-1986, member of Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) from 1988-1997 and Chair of the NEC Women's Committee from 1993-1996. Since 2003; she has been a member of Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy and member of International Advisory Board, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (GDAF). Since 2004; she has been an Associate of Oxford Research Group.

The annual Williamson lecture has attracted major political figures since it was launched in 1983 including Michael Portillo, Paddy Ashdown, Alex Salmond, Michael Forsyth, George Robertson, Menzies Campbell and George Reid.

The talk is free of charge and open to the public. It will be held in the Logie Lecture Theatre commencing at 6.15pm. Spaces are limited, so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Graham Timmins

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467598


Study Suggests Possible Link Between Work History and Breast Cancer Risk

Date released: Thursday 12 October 2006

The kinds of jobs a woman has throughout her life, and the substances to which she is exposed during those jobs, may impact her risk of developing breast cancer, according to findings from a Canadian research project involving the University of Stirling’s Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group.

The Lifetime Occupational Histories Record project gathered the personal, medical, and detailed occupational histories of 1,100 women from the Windsor-Essex area of Canada, including 564 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, with the goal of identifying occupations that might be linked to an increased breast cancer risk.

Research data indicate that study participants who had been diagnosed with breast cancer were nearly three times more likely to have worked on farms than participants in the control group, many during their adolescence – a time at which developing breast tissue is thought to be especially vulnerable to toxic exposures. The occurrence of breast cancer was elevated among women who then went on to jobs in automotive-related manufacturing or health care settings.

“The evidence suggests a link between increased breast cancer risk and certain occupational settings,” says Professor Andrew Watterson, of the University of Stirling’s Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group. “Agents present in agricultural settings may make a woman more susceptible to breast cancer, especially if she is exposed to these agents early in her life, and subsequent exposures in other settings may further compound the risk and promote disease development.”

Because particular chemical agents used in participants’ past work environments were not identified as part of the study, Watterson adds that further research is necessary in order to pinpoint the agents women have been exposed to that may explain the increased incidence of breast cancer. To that end, a broader study with funding from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has been initiated.

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Andrew Watterson

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)7966 161401


Dementia: The Thief of Time

Date released: Monday 16 October

Professor June Andrews, Director of the University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre, will give her inaugural public lecture this week. The talk, entitled Dementia: The Thief of Time, will take place in the Iris Murdoch Building on Wednesday 18 October, 5.30-6.30pm.

Professor Andrews said: “There are around 750,000 people in the UK with dementia and the number will steadily increase in line with the ageing population. The direct economic costs to the UK have been measured as greater than stroke, heart disease and cancer put together; but the human cost is even greater. The availability and cost of Alzheimers Disease medication is a serious issue, but we need to think hard about the effectiveness and availability of other interventions which people need, but don’t get.”

The Dementia Services Development Centre, which exists to extend and improve services for people with dementia and their carers in Scotland, provides extensive information about dementia services as well as developing and disseminating research. To find out more log onto: www.dementia.stir.ac.uk

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

 

For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

June Andrews

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467740


Scotland's First African Film Festival: 20-29 October

Date released: Monday 16 October 2006

Film still from Touki BoukiThe University of Stirling is delighted to announce its support for Scotland’s first ever African Film Festival, Africa in Motion (AiM), which takes place 20-29 October at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse Cinema.

The festival, which is being run by Stop and Stir Arts Ltd in conjunction with the University of Stirling’s School of Languages, Cultures and Religions, the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies (CAS) and the Scottish Documentary Institute, has attracted funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Awards for All.

Artistic Director of Stop and Stir Arts and University of Stirling researcher, Lizelle Bisschoff says: “Despite the depth and breadth of filmmaking on the African continent, African cinema remains one of the most underrepresented cinemas worldwide. Opportunities to see African films in Britain are very rare, yet some of the most evocative and imaginatively original films have been created on the African continent since the 1950s. AiM offers audiences in Scotland the chance to view some of the best and most hard-to-find of African films. The extensive programme includes some of the most significant African classics, unearths a number of "lost classics" and showcases contemporary groundbreaking films.”

Lost African Classics to be screened include films from the early work of pioneering African filmmakers: Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety, Nigerian filmmaker Moustapha Alassane and Ivorian filmmaker Desiré Ecaré – there is only one print still in existence for some of these films and English subtitles have been created especially for AiM.

Many of the films featuring at AiM have never been seen in Scotland, or indeed the UK before, and the festival will be unprecedented in its scope and diversity.

Film critic and Stirling alumnus Mark Cousins (BA Film & Media Studies and Fine Art 1987) says: “At a time when mainstream American cinema is underperforming and under nourishing, and when so much film programming seems stuck in a loop, repeating the same "classics" over and over, Africa in Motion is a brilliant and long overdue window onto a world of auteurs, masterpieces, passionate polemics and gorgeous vistas. Move over Scorsese – Sembene, Ouedraogo and Mambety are the filmmakers who are belatedly exciting us. AiM is, quite simply, one of the best programmes of films ever to be shown in Scotland."

Other directors whose work will be featured include veteran Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene, widely regarded as the “father of African cinema”; Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, who received a lifetime achievement award at Cannes in 1997; Senegalese filmmaker Safi Faye, the first sub-Saharan African women to direct a feature-length film, Kaddu Beykat in 1975; Malian director Souleymane Cissé, who won the Prix du Jury at Cannes in 1987 for his stunning film Yeelen (AiM’s opening film); and South African filmmaker Ramadan Suleman, whose award-winning feature Zulu Love Letter will have its UK premiere at AiM on the losing night of the festival.

Placing the festival in the context of the current spotlight on Africa, Lizelle Bisschoff says: “Drawing on the prevalence of Africa and African issues highlighted in the last year, following events such as the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, AiM gives Scottish audiences unprecedented access to artistic representations of the complexities and diversities of African cultures through the eyes of Africa's best directors.”

Film screenings will be accompanied by a range of free complementary events including panel discussions, workshops and a symposium, presented by high-profile critics and theorists, as well as events for secondary school children. Throughout the festival African musicians, poets and artists will perform and exhibit their work in the Filmhouse café. Books, art work and CDs will also be on display and for sale in the Filmhouse foyer. For the full programme please visit: www.africa-in-motion.org.uk

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Leo Wood

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)7876 652 439


Fish 'n' Chips: Special Chip Provides Better Picture of Salmon Health


Date released: Tuesday 17 October 2006

How do you tell if a fish is fit and well? This is a question which has troubled farmers and biologists for years, but now scientists may have come up with the answer - using DNA chips. By studying the genes of Atlantic salmon scientists from three UK universities are developing a DNA chip to monitor the health and performance of salmon, a tool which could both save the salmon industry thousands and also help conserve dwindling wild salmon populations.

Atlantic salmon are the most important farmed fish in the UK and a disappearing species in the wild. They are particularly vulnerable to infection because of the dramatic physical and chemical changes they go through, known as smoltification, which enable them to live in both fresh and salt water. Assessing their health and performance is very difficult as conventional measures used in other animals, such as temperature, blood protein levels and general demeanour, are not relevant or are difficult to assess in fish.

Farmers and conservationists currently have to rely on the general appearance of salmon as an indicator of their health, which is far from ideal. The new DNA chip will help farmers assess the state of their stock more accurately and also enable conservationists to sample wild populations to ascertain their health and wellbeing.

The development of the chip is the culmination of a four-year study known as Salmon TRAITS (Transcription Analysis of Important Traits in Salmon) being carried out by scientists at the Universities of Stirling, Aberdeen and Cardiff, together with ARK Genomics at the Roslin Institute and researchers at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. Funding for the project is from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council's (BBSRC) Exploiting Genomics initiative.

To develop a more effective method of monitoring salmon health and performance the scientists have been studying salmon gene expression. By doing this, they have identified genes which play different roles in the lifecycle of salmon, for example immune response.

Professor Chris Secombes lead researcher from the University of Aberdeen explained: "We have identified hundreds of genes which are increased or decreased following infection, many of which may be indicators of disease. We have also looked at what other factors impact on these genes, such as nutrition. We are now working to encode this information onto a chip which could help farmers monitor the health and performance of their stocks through methods such as changing their nutritional intake."

So far the scientists have identified the genes and metabolic pathways which influence the most commercially important traits for the production of salmon. These are; the supply of contaminant-free highly unsaturated oils, including omega-3s, for the salmon diet, their long and complex lifecycle, infectious disease, and protein growth efficiency.

Professor Alan Teale, lead researcher at the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling and Co-ordinator of TRAITS explained: "What we are working on is precision aquaculture, where we use very sensitive measures - gene expression - to pre-empt any adverse production changes in farmed fish populations as well as to maximise their health and wellbeing. This in turn will increase competitiveness and profitability for the salmon farmer.

"We have identified genes involved in polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, protein metabolism, bacterial and viral infection, and freshwater to seawater adaptation. The DNA chip will be able to identify changes in the activity of these genes and so alert us to any potential problems. It is too early to tell whether this chip will be a commercial success, but it certainly has the potential to be extremely useful to industry," Professor Teale said.

Professor Julia Goodfellow, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "This is another important step forward in genomics research, not only does it further our knowledge base, it also offers tangible benefits for the aquaculture industry and for the conservation of wild salmon, offering the chance to reverse the decline in Britain's salmon population."

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058

For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Professor Alan Teale

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467874


Research Shows Scotland Lacks Sporting Cultures of Excellence

Date released: Sunday 22 October 2006

Scotland’s international sporting success is being held back due to the lack of sporting cultures of excellence and an integrated strategy for elite sport, according to new research published today (22 October 2006).

Conducted on behalf of The Scottish Institute of Sport Foundation by the University of Stirling, this year-long study examined issues relating to elite sporting success and Scottish culture, values and motivations.

Key findings show the need for:

• Developing sporting cultures of excellence from school to elite squads to compliment the successful work already carried out at elite level by the Scottish Institute of Sport
• A more intense, competitive sporting environment from an earlier age
• Coherent, strategic management to reduce fragmentation and ensure integrated ‘supply chains’
• The development and support of more systematic talent ID systems
• A review of coach education and a continuum of coaches to deal with every stage of elite development
• More international travel and competition for athletes and coaches
• Governing bodies to develop and implement whole sport strategies
• A more systematic system of university sports scholarships
• More business / sport exchange programmes to improve management and administration skills

The study was commissioned as part of The Foundation’s Culture of Winning programme, which promotes sport as the catalyst for producing more winners in all walks of life.

Clearer leadership

The Foundation is now calling for clearer leadership, tough decision making, implementation of important initiatives such as Coaching Scotland and a move away from ad hoc initiatives to a strategically managed supply chain. This is to ensure the systematic selection and progression of talented athletes within sporting cultures of excellence in Scottish sport.

Graham Watson, executive director of the independent, business-led Foundation warned: “International sport has become much more competitive and if nothing changes, Scotland’s achievements on the world’s sporting arena are likely to decline. A major problem is that many young sportspeople in Scotland do not know what it takes to become world class.

“The absence of a proper coaching infrastructure and clear career development path for coaches, coupled with the lack of an intense competitive environment are key factors hindering the identification, education and development of young sporting talent. We need increased long term investment to bridge this gap and facilitate better understanding of the disciplines required to become an elite athlete. We must not strive to be world class in our own wee world.

“Our report highlights the need for clear, unambiguous leadership from those charged with directing the future of Scottish sport. If we are serious about creating a culture of winning in Scotland, we must reduce fragmentation and move towards a strategically managed system for developing winners. We need to consider focusing on being truly world class in those sports which matter to Scotland.

The Foundation is already playing its part in providing leadership in the areas of talent ID, mental skills training and coach/leader/mentor development. We hope that others with the interests of Scottish sport at heart will be similarly motivated to act on the recommendations of this important study.”

University of Stirling

Professor Fred Coalter who led the research team at the University of Stirling’s Department of Sports Studies commented: “This research indicates that if we are to improve our performance in international sport, we need to develop multi-sports skills among young people.

“We must provide them with more intensive competitive environments to develop skills under pressure and develop a continuum of coaches to work with athletes at different stages of their development. This can only be achieved via investment and clear strategic management and leadership.”

Sportscotland

Stewart Harris, chief executive of sportscotland said: "This research reaffirms that many of the initiatives we are focused on are the key issues. We firmly believe that having a sound long term player development pathway in place, underpinning performance progression, will guarantee a clear transition for aspiring talented athletes from the playground to the podium.

“As the national agency for sport we are leading a co-ordinated approach with all high performance sport agencies in Scotland, to ensure Scottish athletes have the best possible chance of success as well as the self-belief to win at the highest level.”

Culture of Winning Action Plan

The Foundation’s vision is to help facilitate more Scottish winners in the 2012 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games. It supports fully Glasgow’s bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is generally focused on establishing a culture of winning, increased achievement and excellence throughout Scottish sport.
Its Culture of Winning programme is involved in a number of coaching, mental skills training and talent identification projects in close partnership with the Scottish Institute of Sport, sportscotland and world-class coaches.

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058


For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Professor Fred Coalter

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 466487 or

+44 (0) 772 5893546


Stirling Students Sweep the Boards at St Andrews Bay

Date released: Monday 30 October 2006

The University of Stirling swept the boards of the leading awards at the first of the British Universities Sports Association Regional Qualifiers (Scotland), played over the Devlin and Torrance courses at Fairmont St Andrews Bay.

Stirling students Paul Betty and Claire-Marie Carlton won the individual titles and Stirling won both the men’s and women’s team events:


• Betty had rounds of 74 and 69 for a one-under-par total of 143 to win by a single shot from two Highland & Islands University students, Greg McBain (144) and David Morrison (146). Scott Borrowman (Stirling) shared third place on 146.


• Carlton had 10 shots to spare in the women’s event after rounds of 80 and 75 for 155. Runner-up was Robert Gordon’s Laura Murray, who won the Scottish schoolgirls title at this venue two years ago. Emma Fairnie (Edinburgh) was third on 167.

The next three Scottish qualifying events are at Lossiemouth (March 26-28), Macdonald Cardrona (April 21-22) and Carrick on Loch Lomond (May 1-2).


Players who gain the most points will qualify to compete against qualifiers from English and Wales venues for the BUSA individual stroke-play championship next summer.

Lesley Wilkinson (née Pollock)
Media Relations Manager
(01786) 467058


For further information:

 
contact us > > >
address

Raleigh Gowrie

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 466906