University of Stirling

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News Archive

August 2007

Stirling Graduates to Entertain Festival Goers

Stirling Launches New Route to Doctorate

Virtual Laboratory to Give £40m Boost to Brain Imaging Research

Putting the Best into University Golf

Stirling Graduates to Entertain Festival Goers

Date released: Friday 3 August 2007

Stirling graduates Phil O’Shea (BA Philosophy 2007) and Imran Ahmad (BSc Chemistry 1984) will display their artistic talents at this year’s Edinburgh Festival.

Recent graduate Phil O’Shea will see his play Anatole and Yerhudi performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, while Imran Ahmad will discuss his acclaimed book Unimagined as part of the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Written and Directed by Phil, Anatole and Yerhudi is a surreal comedy and features six actors from the University’s Drama Society. The budding playwright has previously had his work performed at the macrobert arts centre and the Stirling Tolbooth. The family friendly show runs 5-11 August at Holyrood Too @ Faith, Venue 38, 207 Cowgate at 2.45pm. Tickets are priced £5 (£4). For further information see: www.edfringe.com

In the second of the Book Festival’s events in which Britain and its people are viewed through the enquiring eyes of an incomer, Pakistani-born Imran will give a talk on Unimagined – a touching, funny and astute memoir of one culture meeting another and shedding new light. Scotland, especially the University of Stirling, is viewed with great affection by Imran. The event takes place at the Scottish Power Studio Theatre at 10.30am on Friday 17 August. Tickets are priced £7 (£5). For further information see: www.unimagined.co.uk or www.edbookfest.co.uk

Lesley Wilkinson
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Lesley Wilkinson

University of Stirling

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Tel: +44 (0) 1786 467058


Stirling Launches New Route to Doctorate

Date released: Wednesday 8 August 2007

The first UK University to introduce a semester system is again to lead the way by launching a new route to a doctorate this autumn. From September, PhD students at the University of Stirling will be able to submit a group of linked publications instead of an 80,000 dissertation.

The University is introducing the innovative approach in order to widen student choice and make the doctorate a more realistic test. The new route is based on models used by universities in Finland, Sweden and Denmark, where this approach is common.

Professor John Field, Deputy Principal for Research and External Relations, said: “The 80,000 word thesis has its place and many students will continue to present their research in this manner. But some researchers will want to publish their work as soon as they can and they will be able to present a collection of peer-reviewed interconnected papers instead of a dissertation. I would argue that this is also a more up-to-date and appropriate way of assessing some types of research, particularly in disciplines where people will never again have to write an 80,000 word monograph.”


The University believes that allowing students to present their work as a structured cluster of papers will make them better prepared for a career in research where communication is as important as results.


Professor Field added: “The research training will be just the same as before, the supervisor will oversee progress as before, and the examination will have the same criteria as before. The standards, in other words, will be the same; but the way that some students choose to present their research will change. The new format will if anything be tougher because students will be exposed to external scrutiny through peer review – just like established researchers.”


Lesley Wilkinson
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Professor John Field

University of Stirling

Stirling

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Tel: +44 (0) 7725 739475


Virtual Laboratory to Give £40m Boost to Brain Imaging Research

Date released: Wednesday 8 August 2007

Research into conditions like strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and cancer will be significantly advanced by a unique collaboration between six Scottish universities, launched today (Wednesday 8 August).

SINAPSE (The Scottish Imaging Network: A Platform for Scientific Excellence) will bring together experts from the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and St Andrews to form the world’s first virtual clinical imaging laboratory.

The £40m initiative will focus primarily on imaging of the brain, using state-of-the-art technology that includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).

Pooling these resources across Scotland, the partnership will combine the collection of different types of brain information such as structure, function and brain waves, and develop new radioactive tracers for different diseases. These data will further research into strokes, dementia, diabetes, cancer, and mental health.

The SINAPSE collaboration will:
• Facilitate the recruitment of international leading researchers to Scotland, and retain the best young graduates from Scottish universities
• Enhance research by enabling wider patient participation in clinical trials, and strategic leadership in the dissemination of best research practice
• Fund five new chairs, 17 mid-level posts, 24 PhDs, and assorted equipment to enhance research and graduate training

SINAPSE has secured £6.3m from the Scottish Funding Council (including £700k support from the Chief Scientist Office), and £35m investment from the partner universities. It will initially run for the next five years.

Joanna Wardlaw, Professor of Applied Neuroimaging and Honorary Consultant Neuroradiologist at the University of Edinburgh said: “SINAPSE is the first such alliance in Scottish medicine, and we are proud that universities across Scotland have come together to further our understanding of conditions like stroke and dementia. Several key advances in medical imaging originated in Scotland, so we are continuing what is a strong research tradition.”

“This new collaboration will be internationally unique and will ensure an enhanced and competitive presence for Scotland in international research. Working together, we can make new discoveries for the benefit of all patients, which would be hard to make by working alone.”

Dr Alison Murray, who together with Dr Andy Welch is heading up the University of Aberdeen’s involvement, said: “Universities in Scotland are committed to translating findings from basic biomedical research into positive outcomes for patients and this boost for brain imaging research will help us achieve these goals faster.

“Imaging technology is being used by Scottish researchers to study a wide range of conditions which include brain ageing, stroke, autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. We very much look forward to collaborating with colleagues at the five other institutions in a partnership which will be of great benefit to patients in Scotland and beyond.”

Scottish Funding Council Chief Executive, Roger McClure said: "The Council is delighted to be able to support this latest example of Scotland's universities becoming world leaders in research by working together. The potential benefits to individuals and their families of understanding better these distressing conditions are enormous."

Lesley Wilkinson
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Dr David Donaldson

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

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Tel: +44 (0)1786 467657


Putting the Best into University Golf

Date released: Monday 27 August 2007

The University of Stirling will today (Monday 27 August) unveil the latest addition to its five star sports facilities – a 210-square yard synthetic putting green funded by the Macleod Foundation. Made of nylon carpet, the surface cost £60,000 to create.

The facility is one of the largest of its kind in the country and is situated on the north east corner of the University campus, in a magnificent setting next to Airthrey Castle with superb views of the Ochil Hills.

The University already boasts a par-3, 9-hole golf course, a short game area containing three target greens (50 yards, 60 yards and 65 yards), a practice bunker and a medium distance driving range (200 yards). These facilities form a purpose built “golf classroom” where the University’s talented golf scholars practise and hone their putting skills all year round under the watchful eye of University Golf Coach, Gordon Niven.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Christine Hallett said: “We are extremely grateful for this donation from the Macleod Foundation. This innovative and excellent new artificial putting green adds another dimension to the training programmes for our golf scholars, enabling them to gain valuable putting practice throughout the year. Stirling has a first-class record of helping Scotland’s most talented student-golfers to achieve at the highest levels and this practice area will help the University to sustain its position as the leading University for golf in the UK.”

The facility will be officially opened by a Trustee of the Macleod Foundation at 11.30am on Monday 27 August 2007. Following the unveiling of the plaque, there will be a putting competition between two of the University’s sports scholars and two of the Macleod Foundation’s trustees (photo opportunity).

Lesley Wilkinson
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(01786) 467058

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Suzie Huggins

University of Stirling

Stirling

FK9 4LA
Scotland

UK

telephone

Tel: +44 (0)1786 466054