Date released: Friday, 5 February 2010
Turkish delegates on a fact-finding mission on Scottish sport were given the inside track at the University of Stirling this week.
The group, comprising senior ministers from the Turkish government, came to Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence as part of the London 2012 International Inspiration programme.
When bidding to host the Olympic Games, organising committee chairman Lord Sebastian Coe promised to create a lasting legacy to inspire people in Britain and around the world to choose sport.
Aiming to reach out to 12 million children in 20 countries, the programme is a partnership between the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), UK Sport, UNICEF and the British Council. This week, a delegation has been visiting the UK to discuss initial ideas as to how Turkey and Scotland may work together on this exciting programme.
With a group having travelled to Turkey in December, nine delegates including representatives from the Ministry of Child Protection and Social Affairs, the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sport made the reciprocal journey.
They were welcomed onto the campus by Senior Teaching Fellow Alan Lynn, from the Department of Sports Studies, who outlined the University’s commitment to sport and gave an overview of Sports Studies degree opportunities at Stirling.
Sports Participation Co-ordinator Gail Niven delivered a presentation on the role of Physical Education and volunteering while Liz Mendl, Director of Athlete Services from the sportscotland Institute of Sport, provided an insight into how Scotland supports its elite athletes.
A flurry of questions followed from the delegates, who also toured the campus facilities and were impressed by the National Swimming Academy.
The week-long trip to Scotland concludes tomorrow (Saturday) before an in-depth discussion in March to cement the sporting relationship between the two countries.
Alan Lynn said: “We are delighted to welcome our visitors from Turkey as part of their trip to Scotland. Making friends and inspiring people through sport is an integral part of what we encourage and develop here at Stirling. We look forward to building relationships with sporting and higher education partners in Turkey following this visit.”
• The University of Stirling was designated as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in May 2008 and leads Scotland’s national sports scholarship scheme Winning Students.
• International Inspiration is delivered by UK Sport in partnership with the British Council and UNICEF. International Inspiration is welcomed and supported by the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee as a core strand of the London 2012 International Education Programme. For more information, visit www.london2012.com/internationalinspiration
Date released: Monday 8 February 2010
Former Olympic medal winning athlete Liz McColgan praised the testing cross country course at the University of Stirling.
Around 1,000 students from across the UK descended on Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence for the 2010 British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) cross country championships on Saturday.
British internationalists Andy Vernon and Steph Twell, students at St Mary’s University College in Twickenham, retained their men’s and women’s titles respectively.
And both they – and the venue - impressed McColgan, who was on hand to present the prizes. “I’ve raced at the University of Stirling many times,” said McColgan, who took the silver medal in the 10,000 metres at Seoul in 1998, two years after a Commonwealth gold over the same distance in Edinburgh. “It’s a brilliant course, really tough and challenging, what I would term natural cross country as it is up hills and in the mud.
“It is great to see so many athletes coming here, competing and doing well and also to have the top runners coming and representing their universities.
“Steph Twell and Andy Vernon are both running well at the moment; they were obviously the favourites, but it still takes a performance to pull it out of the bag. In the end, they both showed their class and won by quite a margin.”
Hot favourites Vernon and Twell repeated their victories in 2008, with Olympian Twell completing the 6.4km race in 22.41 minutes while Vernon made light work of the 11.1km event, recording a time of 34.32 minutes.
Vernon, a 2nd year Sports Science student, said: “I didn’t really have a race plan, just decided to see how it went on the day. As the race went on, I opened up a gap and after one of the hills I looked to push on and make the gap bigger.
“I’ve a heavy workload at the moment with lots of races coming up so I just raced this as part of my training week. The course is good, always with something for you to think about like tight corners to keep you on your toes.
“The aim long term is to run in the European Championships in the track events at Barcelona, but first I’m going to the States in April to train and there are plenty of indoor meets to keep pushing me.”
The University of Stirling’s own athletics club was well represented, with six runners in the men’s main race and four in the women’s event, all coping well with the course.
Stirling hosted the cross country championships for the second time in recent years, with the University Sports Union having put forward another successful bid to host the event.
• For the full race results please visit www.bucs.org.uk
Date released: Thursday, 11 February 2010
A new photographic exhibition opens this weekend in the Pathfoot Building to celebrate Margaret Morris Movement.
One hundred years ago, Margaret Morris developed her own system of dance and movement training which she called Margaret Morris Movement (MMM). She also opened her own dance school to train dancers in MMM, which became a worldwide organisation.
While visiting France with a dance troupe in 1913 she met J D Fergusson, who was studying painting in Paris. They lived together for the next 47 years encouraging each other’s creative endeavours.
J D Fergusson became the Art Director of all her MMM Schools. Painting and design became an integral part of the students’ curriculum which already included acting, dance composition and improvisation, normal educational subjects and her system of Dance Notation.
After J D Fergusson died in 1961 in Glasgow, Margaret Morris lived on in their flat and continued to inspire others with her creative energy. She was known to Tom Cottrell, first Principal of Stirling University, and because of their friendship and her excitement at the founding of a new university in Scotland, she presented us with 14 of J D Fergusson’s paintings, which had been stored in their flat overlooking the River Kelvin.
The paintings were personally selected by Margaret Morris and she visited when they were delivered and hung on the walls. They are now on permanent display here in the newly ‘listed’ Pathfoot Building.
The Fergusson Gallery in Perth, home to the J D Fergusson collection, has this year been given the entire Margaret Morris Archive and they are celebrating the event with an exhibition "Dancing as an Art - 100 years of Margaret Morris Movement".
Here at Stirling we are marking the event with an exhibition of black and white photographs of the dancers by Fred Daniels, on display in the Pathfoot Crush Hall. Pictured right is a photo of Margaret Morris by Fred Daniels (copyright The International Association of Margaret Morris Movement).
The University of Stirling owes Margaret Morris a debt of gratitude as staff and students continue to enjoy the work of one of the great Scottish Colourists.
Exhibition of photographs by Fred Daniels celebrating Margaret Morris Movement
University of Stirling, Pathfoot Crush Hall, 13 February – 14 May 2010.
Dancing as an Art - 100 years of Margaret Morris Movement 1910-2010
Fergusson Gallery, Perth, 13 February 2010 - 12 February 2011.
For further information on the University of Stirling Art Collection, see: www.artcol.stir.ac.uk/
Date released: Monday, February 15 2010
A multiple Scottish downhill mountain bike champion is gearing up to deliver top sports science advice at the University of Stirling. After nine years of international success, elite downhill racer Jaymie Mart has decided to ease off the saddle and focus on her role as Nutrition Manager for Lucozade Sport.
Borders-based Mart has won six national championships and finished consistently in the top 25 in the world during her nine years of competing.
“I grew up in the Lake District and my dad is an outdoors guy so I was always into outdoor sports,” said Mart. “I used to play hockey but just decided to try mountain biking and managed to come third in my first ever race, so kept going.
“It is still quite a new sport, but it is accessible and getting more and more popular. People have a preconception that it is a crazy sport, but in actual fact you have to be methodical in your preparation. Four days before any World Cup race, you walk the course planning where to change gear and what route you will take.
“I will always ride my bike and I know I’ve had a great run at it, but now I am looking to dedicate more of my time to my work.”
Mart has already worked with the men’s football team, the tennis scholars and the SFA National Women’s Football Academy players at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.
And now she is preparing to deliver three free seminars on campus, open to the public, staff and students, with advice and tips for all levels.
The first seminar takes place on 23 February from 6.30pm in the National Swimming Academy Meeting Room, with further seminars on 9 and 16 March.
Mart added: “The University of Stirling clearly understands the importance of nutrition and I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of different groups. The forthcoming seminars will educate people on the fundamentals of nutrition, sports nutrition and performance nutrition.
“You don’t have to be an elite athlete to benefit from the seminars and if someone can take just two nuggets of information and put them into practice then I am sure it would increase their enjoyment and their performance too.”
Thomas Craig, Sports Performance Co-ordinator at the University of Stirling, said: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with Jaymie and the Lucozade Sports Science team. Athletes here at the University of Stirling have gained knowledge from Jaymie and improved their performances as a result. Athletes at the University and anyone from the wider community who enjoys sport and exercise should use this opportunity to help achieve their goals.”
To book your place at one of the seminars, please email Tommy Craig at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01786 466904.
• The University of Stirling was designated as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in May 2008 and leads Winning Students, a national sports scholarship network supporting athletes studying in colleges and universities across Scotland with up to £5,500 each year, which can be spent on a range of support services.
• For more on the Lucozade Sports Science team, see www.lucozade.com
Date released: Tuesday 16 February 2010
A depleted University of Stirling swim squad gave an excellent account at the British Universities and Colleges Long Course Championships over the weekend.
Despite being three swimmers down – including its top female – the Stirling team retained third position overall and finished the highest-placed Scottish University, pushing Loughborough University all the way.
Psychology student Clare Dawson was forced out with a shoulder injury, while Josh Walsh and Jamie Ross also missed out on the three-day event at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
But the team, who train at British Swimming’s Stirling Intensive Training Centre on campus, still collected a glut of medals.
First year Sport and Exercise student Ryan Bennett, 19, showed he had plenty of stamina, winning the 200m backstroke just minutes after a silver medal swim in the 100m butterfly.
Bennett, one of 12 Stirling swimmers supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarship network for student athletes, earned another silver in the 100m backstroke, coming second to World Champion Liam Tancock.
He said: “The team did phenomenally well and it was a great opportunity to race against the highest quality. Seeing swimmers like Liam Tancock, Ross Davenport and Rebecca Adlington opens your eyes up to how the top guys can race all year round, but it also showed we are not far behind them.
“There was only one race between my two finals so I had three minutes to get ready, but I somehow managed to dig deep and was pleased with the result. It was a big effort and to be honest it wasn’t much fun, but the Stirling team needed me to do it.”
Andrew Hunter showed his class in the freestyle events with gold medals at 100m and 200m, both times pushed close by first year Accountancy and Business Law student Jak Scott who collected silver and bronze medals respectively.
Douglas Scott (4th 100m breaststroke, Bronze 200m breaststroke, 4th 50m breaststroke) joined Hunter, Jak Scott and Bennett for the 400m Medley team event where they finished second, comfortably ahead of bronze medallists Bath.
Jonathan Greig, who took gold in the 800m freestyle and silver in the 400m freestyle, replaced Douglas Scott for the 400m freestyle team event when Stirling were again silver medallists.
World Championship swimmer Lewis Smith was the only other male medallist for the University, amassing three (Bronze 200m IM, Silver 200m butterfly, Silver 400m IM). Other male swimmers were Stuart Greig, Ross Muir, Calum McGhee and Martin Cremin, who came fifth in the 1500m freestyle.
Eloise Barber, 17, was the only scoring Stirling female competitor, with a bronze medal in the 200m IM as well as fourth and fifth place finishes in the 100m and 200m freestyle finals. She was joined by Ailie McGowan and Anastasia Pallot who competed in the backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly heats.
Stirling Performance Coach Ian Wright said: “To lose Clare [Dawson] to injury and therefore only have one scoring girl meant it was an uphill task, so to maintain our standings from last year was impressive.
“Ryan Bennett was probably the best swimmer and the freestyle relay was particularly close. In the context of the guys still in heavy training we weren’t expecting them to be at their peak. So it was a good weekend’s work and a stepping stone to the British Championships in March. Loughborough have a bigger squad of swimmers to draw from, but we weren’t far behind and it was clear they were wary of the potential of the Stirling team.”
Date released: Monday 15 February 2010
Four Professors will share their expertise in an afternoon of Inaugural lectures at the University of Stirling on Wednesday 3 March. The series of half-hour lectures will be given in Lecture Theatre B4, beginning at 2pm. Come for the whole event, or drop into any of the individual lectures.
The talks are open to the staff, students and the general public, and the experts will speak on a variety of subjects including the greenhouse effect, suicide risk and aquaculture development.
Professor Philip Wookey, School of Biological & Environmental Sciences
The Arctic and the greenhouse effect
Media stories have made us aware that the Arctic is warming rapidly and the survival of certain Arctic species is at risk. However we are less aware of other, more serious, consequences. The Arctic is a key component of the climate system, as the ice and snow cover reflects incoming solar energy, thereby reducing warming; the vegetation, soils and sediments of Arctic land are also strongly linked with the climate system through fluxes of ‘greenhouse’ gases. Many of the couplings and linkages between the Arctic and the world climate system have ‘feedback’ elements to them which can both reinforce warming or dampen it, presenting a major problem for humankind.
Professor Wookey’s lecture will outline the critical importance of recognising when these processes are out of balance, since this is central to our understanding of how the earth system will both respond and contribute to climate change.
Professor Rory O’Connor, Department of Psychology
Personality, cognition and suicidal behaviour
There is a growing body of literature which suggests that social and self-oriented vulnerabilities, future thinking, problem-solving and goal adjustment are implicated in suicide risk. This is supported by clear evidence which shows, for example, that the destructive effects of social perfectionism are exacerbated by future thinking and goal adjustment, while a lack of goal reengagement can be a predictor of a repetition of self-harm.
Professor O’Connor's lecture will summarise aspects of his Department’s recent work, which has investigated how some of these factors relate to suicidal thinking and behaviour and explains their implications for theory and practice.
3.05 pm Question and Answer panel
Professor Douglas Tocher, Institute of Aquaculture
Omega-3, fish and aquaculture: investigating alternative to a paradox
With wild fish stocks declining around the world, aquaculture now provides almost 50% of all fish and seafood for human consumption. Currently the aquaculture industry sustains fish stocks with feeds containing fish meal and fish oil, the latter ensuring that farmed fish have adequate intakes and levels of omega-3 LC-PUFA, which is known to be beneficial to human health and development. The problem is that declining wild marine fisheries are presently the only source of fish meal and fish oil, so continued fish feed production risks further depleting an already dwindling natural resource.
This is the paradox and Professor Tocher’s lecture will outline the work being conducted within the Institute of Aquaculture’s Nutrition Group to further the development of a sustainable fish food alternative.
Professor Brian Austin, Director, Institute of Aquaculture
Probiotics and disease control in fish farms
The expansion in aquaculture production in recent years has been mirrored by an increase in fish disease, caused by a wide range of bacteria, viruses and parasites. Control measures include the use of vaccines, non specific immunostimulants, medicinal plant materials, antimicrobial compounds and probiotics.
Professor Austin’s lecture will focus on probiotics and the fact that, despite a question mark over their legal status – do they constitute feed additives or veterinary medicines? - probiotics are regarded as a valuable method of disease control and are being commercialised for use in aquaculture in many countries.
4.30pm Question and Answer panel
4.40pm Drinks reception
Professor Austin has recently become Head of the Institute of Aquaculture, which was an external appointment. His lecture provides an opportunity for the University to welcome him and introduce him to its wider community. The other speakers are staff members who have recently been promoted to the post of professors and these lectures are an opportunity for the University to celebrate their achievements.
If you would like to attend these lectures, please contact External Relations to reserve a place, on email@example.com or telephone: 01786 467055.
If you would like further information on these lectures, or other University events, please contact Suzie Huggins, Events Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01786 466054.
For more detailed information on the content of individual lectures, visit the website at: http://www.externalrelations.stir.ac.uk/events/events.php
Date released: Thursday 18 February 2010
Several consecutive years of cold wet summers, rife with localised flooding and landslips, followed by one of the longest and harshest winters on record, have left people in the Highlands and Islands focused on the weather. According to Richard Oram, Professor of Environmental History at the University of Stirling (pictured), the real issue we are facing is climate change but we can mitigate the effects of it by learning from the past.
Archaeological evidence shows that climate change has determined the area’s past, shapes its present, and will impact its future. This is the subject of the Stirling Lecture, ‘Environmental Heritage in the Highlands and Islands’, which he will deliver in Inverness on Thursday 25 February. The event is free, open to all, and takes place at the Centre for Health Science, Raigmore Hospital, at 5.30pm.
According to Professor Oram, there is a remarkable concurrence between some of most dire events in human history and the depths of the episodes of climate change taking place at those times. “Climate change occurs when global warming increases weather instability and variability,” he explains. “While these weather changes may be subtle year on year, they can be profound over just a few decades. This can affect every aspect of people’s livelihoods – whether that’s fishing, working the land or rearing livestock – so inevitably, it affects their lives.
“Archaological evidence shows that, throughout history, major environmental events have occurred which have dramatically impacted human culture and society. In almost every case, society has demonstrated resilience and the ability to adapt to its changing circumstances in sustainable ways.
“We have enjoyed a long period of relative environmental stability. But nothing stands still – especially not Nature,” says Professor Oram. “Things definitely began to change in the 20th century: before this there had been a measure of predictability about the pace and scale of environmental change but our current situation is unprecedented because everything is changing at a much faster speed.
“The good news is that this time around, the Highlands and Western Isles are well placed to develop what is potentially a positive side to the hand we’re now being dealt by Nature. Wind and water are elements which, together with our technological edge, can be turned to communities’ advantage.”
Professor Grant Jarvie, Deputy Principal of the University of Stirling, said: “We have a long-standing commitment to the Highlands and Islands, and our world-class scholars and researchers are focused upon key areas of life in the area. The Stirling Lectures this year focus on the environment, bringing this research to a wider audience.”
To reserve a place or for further information, telephone 01463 255649 or email email@example.com
For information on future University of Stirling lectures and events, please click on: www.externalrelations.stir.ac.uk/events/events.php
Further information on the lecture
Professor Oram cautions that, while the Highlands and Islands are well placed to deal with climate change, the area may suffer because of its proximity to the Atlantic. Just as it has suffered before….
In 900AD the Medieval warm era had just begun, bringing to the Scottish Highlands a climactic pattern of relative stability, with average temperatures around 1.5% higher than they are today. For almost 300 years, this encouraged a Highland pastoral society in which livestock numbers greatly increased, cereals such as wheat could be grown and crops generally were more abundant, owing to the dryer, warmer climate conditions. The result was higher populations, a buoyant economy and more tax revenues.
According to Professor Oram, the European population reached a peak in 1300AD. But conditions were changing and the period now known as the Little Ice Age had begun. The spread of sea ice caused a change in north Atlantic surface temperatures, which in turn altered the high pressure systems throughout the year. This created a ‘refrigerator’ effect and caused temperatures to drop dramatically. By the middle of the 14thcentury, the growth period for crops had started two weeks later and stopped two weeks earlier. With animal grazing now restricted to lower altitudes, feed became scarcer. Crops began to fail and there were outbreaks of livestock disease, famine, and human epidemics.
Meanwhile storms and winds eroded the machair and the cultivated land beyond, so that whole areas became overwhelmed by sand. Economically, this was the final catastrophe for many on Scotland’s west coast and evidence from archaeological sights of that period point to the sudden abandonment of villages – such as the herring fishing communities of Bornish.
Subsequent centuries were marked by environmental extremes, accompanied by widespread famines, and epidemics of influenza, cholera and malaria. Social unrest led to revolution and wars and it wasn’t until the 18th century that population numbers began to recover.
Date released: Friday 19 February 2010
The University of Stirling is continuing to invest in its core activities of research and teaching with the announcement of a number of new positions in The Stirling Institute of Education.
As part of the University’s programme of expansion in key academic areas, six permanent posts have been created - a Chair in Education and five senior academic positions - which will enhance the Institute’s research-led approach to teacher education.
Professor Richard Edwards, Head of the Stirling Institute of Education, said: “In a recession, education becomes ever more important for individuals and society. In Scotland we are also in the midst of major changes to schooling with the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence. We are delighted to be expanding our teaching and research capability at this time to ensure that we prepare the next generation of educators to be able to meet the challenges of change.”
The Institute is also offering a number of postgraduate research studentships. He said: “We have a growing and dynamic doctoral community and offer a stimulating environment to undertake doctoral studies. We are pleased to offer a number of fully funded postgraduate research studentships commencing in Session 2010-11.”
Professor Edwards makes the point that, unusually in Scotland at the present time, the Stirling Institute of Education is booming: “We have more undergraduates and postgraduate students than ever before. The Institute has specialities in educational theory, curriculum and pedagogy, early years, professional education, lifelong learning, and inclusion and came first in Scotland for the quality of its research in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.”
One of the UK's most forward thinking academic institutions, the University of Stirling is attracting talented research students and academic staff in key areas. Its creation of more than 30 new professorships and lectureships will be backed up by investment in 50 research studentships.
The Stirling Institute of Education: www.ioe.stir.ac.uk/research/studentships.php
Date released: Monday 22 February 2010
Conservationists are buzzing with excitement at the discovery of a new bumblebee species for Scotland – the first for fifty years. The discovery comes as Scotland enters Scottish Environment Week, which brings together MSPs and environmentalists to celebrate Scotland’s environment.
1400 years after the princess Æbbe fled north to Scotland and established a monastery at St Abbs, the Southern Cuckoo Bumblebee (pictured) defied its name and followed suit, crossing the border not far from Humbleton Hill, in an area known for its historical cross-border incursions.
The bee was discovered at St Abbs by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s Conservation Officer for Scotland, Bob Dawson. He commented: "It’s hugely exciting to discover a new species for Scotland – I’m thrilled. Cuckoo bumblebees can be tricky to identify. They look superficially similar to other bumblebees - black with yellow stripes – but males of this species have distinctive antennae. Thankfully Murdo Macdonald from the Highland Biological Recording Group confirmed my suspicions.”
The conservation group’s director, Ben Darvill noted that a good news story was long overdue. “At a time when bumblebees up and down the UK are struggling due to a lack of flower-rich habitat, it is heartening to see that at least one species is expanding its range. Sadly many other species are threatened with national extinction, with Scotland’s Great Yellow Bumblebee in particular trouble. We very much hope it’s not a case of “One in one out…”.
It is too early to say whether the southern cuckoo bumblebee’s arrival is due to climate change, but it seems likely.
Gardeners can make a significant difference to ‘the plight of the bumblebee’ by growing the right kinds of flowers throughout the year – many fancy varieties are of little use to wildlife. Cottage garden plants and wild flowers are best. For more information visit www.bumblebeeconservation.org or phone BBCT on 01786 467818.
Photograph courtesy of Nick Owens BBCT
Date released: Tuesday 23 February 2010
Students from Stirling Management School have fought off tough competition from the University of Exeter Business School, Lancaster University Management School and Imperial College Business School, to be named UK winners of the Global Investment Research Challenge. Six other UK institutions entered, but failed to reach the final.
John Thom (UK), Rory San (UK), Caroline Schleese (Germany), Felix John Amoako (Ghana) and Munyaradzi Stephen Charangwa (Zimbabwe), pictured left to right, are all on Stirling’s MSc Investment Analysis, a Program Partner of the CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals that awards the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst qualification. The local challenge was hosted by the CFA Society UK in London's Canary Wharf.
To promote best practice in equity research and company analysis, the four teams of students had to research, analyze and report on a publicly listed company,Quintain Estates and Development plc, before presenting their investment recommendations, as practicing analysts would do. The students’ submissions were judged by a panel of leading investment professionals, comprising managing directors and heads of research and the teams were marked according to a strict set of criteria.
This year’s winning team was mentored by Jim Campbell CFA, ASIP, a graduate of the Stirling MSc Investment Analysis and an active member of CFA UK. Jim also mentored the 2008 and 2009 Stirling teams in the UK competition, both of which achieved second place, so he obviously has the golden touch!
The winning Stirling team will now go forward to represent the UK in the CFA Regional Final for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), which will take place in Istanbul on 24 March. Regional winners will then compete in the global final on 17 April in Hong Kong.
The Director of the Stirling MSc Investment Analysis, Dr Kevin Campbell, said: “This achievement is a richly deserved reward for the hard work and professionalism of our students and for the support they received from the staff of Stirling Management School’s MSc Investment Analysis.
“We are unique in having a team compete in the UK final in three successive years. Our students come from many countries and from varied cultures and backgrounds, providing a rich learning environment. This success signals Stirling as a premiere destination for those seeking a career in the global investment management industry”.
Date released: Tuesday 23 February 2010
University of Stirling Professor, Dave Goulson (pictured), has been shortlisted for the Innovator of the Year competition, which is run by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBRSC). This annual competition is designed to encourage, recognise and reward those scientists who maximise the social and economic impact of their excellent research work, thereby improving everyone’s quality of life. The winner will be chosen on 18 March at Canary Wharf, London.
Professor Goulson, a conservation biologist specialising in the behaviour and ecology of bumblebees, has been nominated in recognition of his creation of The Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Frustrated by the difficulties of getting his findings to the farmers and politicians where they could make a practical difference, Professor Goulson founded The Trust with colleague Ben Darvill in 2006. http://www.bumblebeeconservationtrust.co.uk
Today it has over 7,000 members and six paid staff and its activities include the development of education packs and running bumblebee recording schemes. It works with garden centres, local councils and farmers, as well as undertaking many on-the-ground activities with children and amateur gardeners. It also successfully influences policy through its meetings with politicians, including Ministers and members of the Scottish and European Parliaments.
The Trust’s efforts have created huge media interest in the plight of the nation’s bumblebees, raising public awareness around bumblebee conservation and encouraging the creation of bee friendly habitat – like the one recently created in Kent for reintroduction of the short-haired bumblebee.
By 2015, Professor Goulson aims to have recruited 20,000 Trust members, all working to ensure that no more bumblebee species become extinct. He says: “Bumblebees provide vital pollination services for crops and wildflowers – we lose them at our peril. Only by mobilizing an army of volunteers across the country can we hope to make the landscape-scale changes needed to conserve them. And this is exactly what the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is doing.”
The entrepreneurial activities undertaken by scientists like Professor Goulson generate valuable products, technologies, tools and knowledge – all of which have a social impact upon, and create revenue for, the UK and its economy.
In congratulating the finalists, Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director of Innovation and Skills recognised their commitment to use their science for the benefit of the wider community and said: “The UK bioscience community is producing world class research to take on issues of global importance and these researchers are great examples.”