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Stirling Minds e-edition December 2019

Dear friends and supporters,

As this e-Stirling Minds arrives in your inbox, our annual magazine has been printed and will be issued before Christmas in compostable potato starch wrapping, as part of the University’s sustainability plans.

In this issue we welcome our newest graduates together with honorary graduates James Jopling, Shelley Kerr and Alan Shearer. We also look at some of Stirling’s recent sporting successes, and with the accolade The Times and Sunday Times UK Sports University of the Year, 2019 is ending on a high! We’re delighted to share the news that the University has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. The latest recognition celebrates the Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) and its pioneering work to tackle global hunger. It is a timely announcement – as the IoA prepares to mark its 40th anniversary next year with a major redevelopment of its facilities, funded under the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

In other news:

  • Historical instances of extreme climate change on Mars could be detected through the measurement of subsurface temperatures.
  • For something different, The Extended Mind – an art exhibition featuring 13 international artists running until 1 February 2020 – looks at the connections between thoughts, our bodies and our environments. This project is led by Stirling Anniversary Fellow, Dr Miranda Anderson, working with colleagues from the universities of Stirling and Edinburgh.
  • Further recognition of our “Best Campus and Facilities” has come in the form of “The 2019 Tencent Echo China Award for Favoured UK University Among Chinese Families”.

The QS World University Rankings is one of the most well-known international league tables, ranking 1,000 universities on a range of metrics. Two such metrics are ‘Academic Reputation’ and ‘Employer Reputation’, which are based on responses to the QS Academic and Employer Reputation Surveys. The Academic Reputation Survey collates the expert opinions of individuals working in higher education regarding institutional teaching and research quality. The Employer Reputation Survey asks employers to identify those institutions from which they source their most competent, innovative and effective graduates. Both surveys will be open for completion in March 2020. Those alumni who would be eligible to participate in either survey will receive a request to pass their contact details onto QS exclusively for this purpose prior to survey launch.

Campus Central is transforming our University, with changes coming almost daily. Visit to see for yourself or, check out the website or join one of our social media pages.

Finally, it’s our great pleasure to invite you to our launch event for The Stirling Network, our mentoring and networking platform for the Stirling student, alumni and business communities. Join us on 22 January in the Pathfoot building from 4pm to 6pm for a mentee or mentor masterclass followed by a social networking session – have a drink and expand your connections. If you can’t make it, we’ll be recording the masterclasses so you can access them online shortly afterwards. Register by emailing

With best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful holiday season, and health and happiness for 2020.

Kerry Bryson

Director for Global Advancement

University of Stirling wins the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for the second time

The University’s Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) is to receive the UK’s highest academic honour from senior members of the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace in February.

Queens Anniversary Prize promo image

Introduced in 1994, the Queen’s Anniversary Prize – the highest national honour awarded in UK further and higher education – recognises outstanding work that shows quality and innovation, and delivers real benefit to the wider world through education and training.

This is the second time that Stirling has won the award – with the Institute for Social Marketing presented it in 2014.

The latest recognition celebrates the IoA and its pioneering work in the world’s fastest-growing food production sector in a bid to tackle global hunger. It is a timely announcement – as the IoA prepares to mark its 40th anniversary next year with a major redevelopment of its facilities, funded under the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, Professor Gerry McCormac, said: “Everyone here at the University is thrilled to have won this highly prestigious honour in recognition of the internationally-renowned research and teaching led by the Institute of Aquaculture.

“Our experts are working to tackle global problems of food security, hunger and sustainability through aquaculture – and have a global reputation for teaching, world-class research, technological innovation and consultancy within the sector. This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our team in the Institute, as well as within the wider University.

“The honour also reflects the University’s vision to be recognised across the world as a leader that addresses the needs of society through innovative interdisciplinary research, learning and teaching of the highest quality.”

Read more about the research.

Welcome to the alumni community

James Jopling, ProjectScotland Director

James Jopling

November saw us welcome three new cohorts to our international alumni family. The beginning of the month saw the final cohort of University of Stirling students graduating through the partnership programme with the University of the Highlands and Islands, with UHI now taking the reins for delivery of pre-registration nursing courses for the Highlands and Western Isles.

More than 100 students from the Faculties of Health Sciences and Sport, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences graduated at the ceremonies where awards were conferred by Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gerry McCormac, and Chancellor, Lord Jack McConnell.

During his address, Professor McCormac, said: “At Stirling we are extremely proud of the presence we have had in the Highlands, which stretches back more than 25 years, so this final graduation ceremony in this current chapter of our story in Inverness will be bittersweet.

“However, graduation is always a time of special celebration and we are pleased to be recognising the achievements of our students who will now take the next steps on their own journey.”

We were delighted to award an honorary doctorate to alumnus James Jopling, a tireless figure in the third sector who has worked and volunteered for charities for almost 25 years. In his current role as Director of ProjectScotland, he leads the organisation as it empowers young people to play an active and positive role in their communities through volunteering.

The graduations in Inverness were swiftly followed by celebrations in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

Students from MSc Media and Communications Management were awarded their degrees from Deputy Principal, Professor Neville Wyllie.

At our award ceremonies in Muscat College, Oman, where a number of University of Stirling courses in management, computing and data science are delivered, 150 students received Stirling degrees. The award ceremonies were attended by Professor Paul Freathy of the Stirling Management School and Dr Mario Kolberg of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

The month ended on a high with our graduations right here on campus! A further 890 awards were conferred on the latest cohort of Stirling graduands, with Alan Shearer and alumna Shelley Kerr receiving honorary doctorates.

Sports round-up

crowd watching football match

Stirling’s high profile athletes and coaches have been in the news again recently, with Head Performance Swim Coach, Steven Tigg, selected to join the team of eight coaches travelling to Tokyo with Team GB for the 2020 Olympic Games. The award-winning coach is likely to be joined by Stirling swimmers Duncan Scott, Ross Murdoch and Aimee Willmott.

The swimming team performed incredibly at the BUCS Short Course Swimming Championships in Sheffield in mid-November, breaking 12 records and returning home with 36 medals – eight of which were secured by Duncan, who claimed gold in the 50m, 200m, 400m and 1500m freestyle, 200m and 400m medleys and 200m butterfly and silver in the 100m butterfly.

On the football pitches, our American football team, the Clansmen, won their season opener away against Nottingham at the start of the month, setting them up for another strong season. The University of Stirling Football Club are playing well, despite a series of injuries affecting the men’s first team. Follow their matches in the BUCS and Lowland Leagues here, and the team welcome your support! The women’s team have slipped from the Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 table, and will enter the 2020 season in the league 2 table – some great matches in prospect against teams including Hearts, Dundee United and Kilmarnock.

Our connection to sport goes deeper that the playing field, and the University was delighted to receive support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to produce “Tales from the Ring: Celebrating Scotland’s Boxing Heritage”. The project works with members of the Scottish Ex-Boxers Association to create an archive in celebration of Scotland’s boxing heritage, with an accompanying exhibition displayed on campus and online.

Our commitment to academic sport is also illustrated though a new £350,000 project to research the challenges faced by athletes trying to balance sports careers with education and future employment, and developing best practice in supporting these athletes.

Development of the new facilities remains on track as all 260 tonnes of steel are now installed, with the glass exterior now being fitted. The new sports centre will continue to be open to the community, and as alumni you can enjoy a discounted membership rate. Celebrating the accolade of Times and Sunday Times Sports University of the Year, 2020 promises to be another great year for Sport at Stirling.

Alumni events

We invite you to join us as these upcoming alumni reunions:

  • The Stirling Network Launch – 22 January

University events

Here are some of the events and exhibitions taking place on campus over the next few months:

  • Under Threat: Community resilience to extreme events – until 31 January

  • Peace be with you: an intervention @ the blue boy – until 30 March