Research impact

At the Faculty of Natural Sciences, we have a proud history of carrying out research of global significance.

Our interdisciplinary natural science researchers collaborate to make major contributions to society and tackle key global challenges.

We’ve made key contributions to the success of University of Stirling as a diverse and international research university.

Aquaculture: feeding the future by helping the fish farm industry

Our research developed an international pest management strategy to minimise the damaging impact of sea lice – which are parasites that kill huge numbers of salmon, and cost the global fishing industry more than €305 million each year.

In REF 2021 our aquaculture research scored highly, with 100% of research impact classed as world-leading, the highest possible rating. 100% of our research environment is classed as world leading or internationally excellent.

Biological and Environmental Sciences: conserving the bumblebee

Biological and environmental scientists at Stirling are leading vital research into the survival of bumblebees to prevent further decline in current populations. Our efforts helped to establish the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which has in turn inspired more than 12,000 people to get involved in bumblebee conservation projects and set up the first-ever bumblebee nature reserve in the UK. Our research played a key role in the European Union’s announcement declaring a two-year moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on flowering crops.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), 100% of our Biological and Environmental Sciences research was rated as having either outstanding or very considerable impact – ranking us joint 12th in the UK for Geography and Environmental Studies research.

Computing Science and Mathematics: sentic computing (or how do you feel about that?)

Our sentic computing toolkit is having a world-leading impact by allowing businesses to carry out emotion and sentiment analysis of their natural language data. This provides a more natural, emotion-sensitive human-computer interaction. This will lead to improved performance in commercial applications ranging from personal photo management systems (HP Labs India) to patient opinion mining (Patient Opinion Ltd).

We are part of The Data Lab, which enables industry, public sector and university researchers to develop new data science capabilities in a collaborative environment. Its core mission is to generate significant economic, social and scientific value from Big Data.

Catching criminals through psychology

Award-winning facial recognition technology conceived at Stirling is helping to catch criminals. Stirling Psychologists worked with colleagues across the UK to create and develop EvoFIT, which works with victims and eyewitnesses to build a composite picture of a suspect’s face. Many police services across the UK and abroad use the system leading to an arrest rate four times more effective than traditional methods.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2021, we ranked 2nd in Scotland for research impact in Psychology. 100% of our research impact and environment, and 87% of our overall research in Psychology is classed as world leading or internationally excellent.