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News archive for June 2008

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News Archive

June 2008

Book award for students

Promoting the University of Stirling on a European Stage

Professor Randolph Richards is awarded the CBE

Scotland’s drinkers in denial

Stirling joins East of Scotland football elite

Stirling golfers to the fore in summer competitions

Stirling: it's got to be perfect

Book Award for Students

Date released: Tuesday 10 June 2008

students who won book awards

Ten students at the University of Stirling were rewarded for their commitment to education with £100 book tokens to support them in their studies.

The awards were made by John Smith & Son, who run the campus bookshop, to students who have completed, or are in the process of completing, access courses towards degree programmes at the University of Stirling.

John Gray, manager of the bookshop, presented the awards to:

Joanne McTeague (Kippen)
Anna McLuckie (Pitlochry)
Antony Duff (Alloa)
Rhona Smith (Edinburgh)
Cheryl Black (Falkirk)
Holly Calvert (Lancaster)
Leigh Arthur (Stirling)
Lindsey Scott (Stirling)
Robert McKie (Johnstone)
Sharon Ovens (Alloa)

In presenting the awards to the six students who could attend the ceremony, Mr Gray said: "We see these annual awards as a happy reinforcement of the close links that have always existed between Bookshop and University and as a tangible way of assisting students who have had sacrifices to make in gaining a place at Stirling."

The John Smith Awards are offered each year to students on the part-time Access to Degree studies programme. The £100 book tokens acknowledge the students’ personal commitment to education and they are chosen on the basis that they have faced particular challenges over the course of the programme or that they have had a specific input.

This is the sixth year of the scheme at Stirling, and Professor Neil Keeble, Senior Deputy Principal, said: “We are grateful to John Smith's for the award, and their long-standing relationship with the University of Stirling, and know that previous recipients have found it to be an invaluable aid to their degree level studies.”

For further information:
Suzie Huggins, Events Manager, (01786) 466054


Promoting the University of Stirling on a European Stage

Date released: Friday 13 June 2008

Following the announcement that the University of Stirling is to be recognised as Scotland’s Centre for Sporting Excellence, Alyn Smith, Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, met Deputy Principal Professor Grant Jarvie, together with local MSP Keith Brown, to see first-hand the work and facilities of the university and discuss what support he can offer in promoting the institution to a wider world.

In welcoming Alyn Smith MEP and Keith Brown MSP to the University of Stirling, Professor Grant Jarvie, Deputy Principal of the University of Stirling, said: "We are delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised the University of Stirling as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence. Sport and Education have an important part to play in developing links between Scotland and Europe. The opportunity now exists for the University of Stirling, through its combined work in sport and education, to make a significant difference to people's lives."

Keith Brown MSP said: “The University of Stirling is the perfect location for Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence as it has a well proven record in this area. I am sure the commitment by the Scottish Government to invest £600,000, will only add to the great work already being done here.

“I am happy to do everything I can to raise the profile of Stirling University which is based in my constituency - not only in sport but in all aspects of education. It was great to have the opportunity to visit with Alyn who can now take opportunities further on a European level.”

Alyn Smith MEP was equally supportive of the University’s recent recognition and said: “Keith is a great pal of mine, and I am delighted to be out and about with him to view the first class sporting facilities at Stirling University. He and the local SNP Councillors have done a fantastic job over the past year, working with the University of Stirling to strengthen and consolidate its reputation as a leading institution.”


Professor Randolph Harvey Richards is awarded the CBE

Date released: Saturday 14 June 2008

Director of the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling, Professor Randolph Harvey Richards, was today named as a recipient of the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The award, which reflects and pays tribute to outstanding achievement and service right across the community and the nation as a whole, has been bestowed in recognition of his services to veterinary science.

Professor Richards has played a major role in the emerging aquaculture industry in Scotland, being Veterinary Adviser from 1989 to a succession of key industry associations, including the Scottish Salmon Growers’ Association, Scottish Quality Salmon and the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation. He has been an active member of a number of joint government/industry working groups and has contributed to the development of industry codes of practice, the Scottish Framework for sustainable Aquaculture and the Scottish Aquaculture Bill.

He has played a key role in the development of the Institute of Aquaculture, which in turn has made a major contribution to the economy of Scotland and greatly enhanced Scotland’s reputation throughout the world. Under his leadership, the Institute’s international reputation in both research and postgraduate teaching has developed enormously.

Professor Richards’ own reputation is recognised by his membership of the UK research Assessment Exercise panel for 2008 and of the international panel of Norway’s Research Council Centres of Excellence Scheme since 2001. As a leading fish disease specialist, he has coordinated large EU research programmes on fish diseases and is currently the UK representative of a tri-nation research forum investigating a key salmon disease. He is also a Facilitator in the area of Fish Health and Welfare in the recently formed European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform which informs the EU of industrial research priorities.

He has been recognised by the farming community with the award of the Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Societies and last year received a prestigious award at the Aquaculture Today conference for his outstanding contribution to Aquaculture. He is currently a Director of the internationally renowned Moredun Research Institute at Edinburgh, which carries out wide-ranging research into animal diseases.

Professor Richards has contributed to wider discussions on fisheries and veterinary matters and was a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Inquiry into the Future of the Scottish Fishing Industry (2004) and the UK’s Veterinary Products Committee (which licences all animal medicines) for more than 8 years. During this period, the Committee oversaw the development of medicines which helped control the potentially devastating problem of sea lice infestation. Much of the research required for licensing these products and the development of vaccines controlling both bacterial and viral disease were carried out by Professor Richards and his colleagues at Stirling and Machrihanish.

Professor Richards has also contributed generously on an international basis by being an adviser to the EU (DG Fisheries), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and by carrying out projects on behalf of organisations, such as the British Executive Service Overseas. He has undertaken advisory work on aquaculture in Turkey, Ceylon, Sweden, Greece and Morocco and has acted as advisor on fish disease in Israel, Canada, Ireland, Hong Kong and the Faroe Islands.

On learning of his award, Professor Richards said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this recognition of my efforts, only made possible with the outstanding support of mentors and colleagues over the years. The award highlights the strength and global reputation of veterinary science in Scotland, not only through research in fish disease at the Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling University but also through our strong links with the Moredun and Roslin Research Institutes at Edinburgh and the two Scottish Veterinary Schools.”

For over thirty years, Professor Richards has made an outstanding contribution to the field of aquaculture worldwide and, more specifically, has ensured that Scotland’s reputation in this field is unsurpassed. The award is a fitting recognition of a lifetime contribution to Scottish intellectual effort in support of its economy.


For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact

Ms Beatrice Campbell on: 01786 467 870


Scotland’s Drinkers in Denial

Date released: Monday 16 June 2008

Alcohol consumption has increased steadily in Scotland over the last twenty years but it seems many of this nation’s drinkers are in denial about – or unaware of – their hazardous level of drinking. This is according to research commissioned by NHS Health Scotland and carried out by the Institute for Social Marketing (ISM) at the University of Stirling, in collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire.

While many tend to blame Scotland’s drinking problems on ‘youth binge drinkers’, the truth is that many adults who regard themselves as moderate, ‘normal’ drinkers are actually part of the problem. And although alcohol related harms are more associated with deprivation, the study reported that high levels of alcohol consumption were also present in middle-aged and affluent groups.

Susan MacAskill, Senior Researcher from the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling and Open University, said: “It is clear that drinking in Scotland has many positive aspects, with alcohol acting both as a relaxant and a social lubricant. However, when people were asked to itemise their drinking over the previous week, many were very surprised by how much they had really drunk.”

As part of the study interview, people agreed to review their drinking over the previous week and half of those drank at least twice the recommended weekly drinking limit, while three quarters reported at least one episode of binge drinking in the last week.

Generally, the study found that many regularly exceeded the recommended weekly alcohol intake but, since people in these groups spread their drinking more evenly throughout the week – and did not display ‘problem behaviour’ or overt drunkenness – they did not recognise that they were regularly drinking alcohol in quantities that are damaging to health.

Sally Haw, Principal Public Health Adviser at NHS Health Scotland, said: “Many people in Scotland distance themselves from the idea of problem drinking, often not realising that they too are drinking far more than is recommended. The research from the Institute for Social Marketing has shown that many Scots from all walks of life are drinking at levels that are harmful to health and confirms that a major cultural shift is needed across all age groups and sections of society, if we are to tackle the nation’s alcohol epidemic.”

Increasing the price and reducing the availability of alcohol, challenging the industry’s advertising, sponsorship and other marketing strategies and developing the role of publicans and the licensed trade in controlling alcohol consumption, are all actions which the NHS Health Scotland report recommends. It also concludes that we all need to understand our own drinking behaviour better, so that we can make positive choices about how to avoid alcohol’s harmful effects.


Stirling joins East of Scotland Football Elite

Date released: Tuesday 17 June 2008

The University of Stirling Men’s Football Club has successfully gained membership of the East of Scotland Football Association and will compete in the East of Scotland League from August 2008. Stirling currently competes in the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA) Scottish Conference League and qualifies regularly for the British level knock-out stages.

Stirling’s bid for inclusion with the likes of Scottish Cup giant killers Spartans, Edinburgh City and Annan Athletic, was built around high quality sports facilities including a high performance football pitch and a newly constructed Football Academy in partnership with Falkirk Football Club. The University hopes that its innovative football scholarship programme will help entice talented players to represent the institution whilst studying for an academic degree.

Raleigh Gowrie, the University’s Sports Performance Manager and former Scottish semi-professional internationalist, was delighted with the news. "I’m excited for our students. The East of Scotland League holds a strong profile and will provide an excellent competitive framework for our students to display their talents.”

The next stage of Stirling’s football development plan is to appoint a dynamic coach to support the playing squad. Gowrie holds high expectations: “This post will suit a qualified coach who is interested in developing his skills further or possibly be of interest to a professional player who has retired from playing and is looking to continue his involvement with the game. Either way, the University of Stirling has much to offer an extended coach wishing to be part of a systematic football development programme.”

For further information, contact:

Raleigh Gowrie, Sports Performance Manager

Tel: 07740500140


Stirling golfers to the fore in summer competitions

Date released: Tuesday 24 June 2008

University of Stirling golfers have been at the forefront of Scottish golf this week. 

David Booth (2nd year Sports Studies) won the 2008 Scottish Youths Strokeplay title at the Roxburghe Golf Course on Sunday. Rounds of 67, 67, 80 & 73 helped Booth to a one-under par total of 287, and a 2-shot victory over James Robinson (Southport & Ainsdale).

The victory represented a first national title for Booth, who said: “I really want to get into the England U/21 squad and I hope my performance this weekend will have helped. Stirling University has offered me considerable support over the past two years and my game has improved significantly.”

Booth’s victory enhances further Stirling’s reputation for talent development. Last year’s Scottish Youths winner, Scott Borrowman, is also a Stirling student (3rd year Sports Studies). He is in action this week when he competes for Europe against the USA in the Palmer Cup, played over Glasgow Gailes.

Meanwhile postgraduate student, Gavin Dear, has been rewarded for a number of high finishes in national events by being selected to represent Scotland in the European Team Championships.  He is one of a 6-player squad to compete in the event played in Torino, Italy from 1-5 July 2008. Dear is already a Great Britain student internationalist, having competed in the 2007 World University Championships. The GB team for this year’s world student event, played at Sun City, South Africa, will be selected next month, with both Dear and Booth in the running for places.

For further information contact:

Raleigh Gowrie, Sports Performance Manager

01786 466 924


Stirling: it's got to be perfect

Date released: Thursday 26 June 2008

Scottish singer Eddi Reader burst into song as she was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Stirling today.

After making her acceptance speech on becoming a Doctor of the University, she delighted several hundred new graduates by singing ‘Wild Mountainside’, the lyrics of which were written by Robert Burns. Accompanied on guitar by John Douglas, who also wrote the music, Eddi concluded her surprise performance with the line, ‘It’s got to be Stirling’, a nod to her most famous hit, ‘It’s got to be perfect’.

She said:  “I chose ‘Wild Mountainside’ for all of the students who are here today, because it speaks of the last mile being upon us – only a mile to go. I watched as they each took the podium and walked across it to become graduates. I counted ten steps – maybe less for some of the bigger lads! – but for every student, these were ten important steps at the end of a long, hard journey.”

Of the Honorary Degree she said: “I was absolutely thrilled when I heard I was to get it. Stirling is a very special place for me, since I used to sing at the Stirling Folk Club at the beginning of my career. Back then, if you got a gig there, you really were doing well. So I’m very happy to be back here – and singing!”

Professor Christine Hallett, University Principal, described the song as: “An unexpected and quite wonderful ending to our ceremony.  The lyrics were very appropriate and I know that their sentiments would have struck a chord with the many students who graduated today, as well as their parents, partners and friends.“

Eddi Reader achieved fame with the band Fairground Attraction, who had a UK number one with the single Perfect, and won best single and best album at the 1989 Brit Awards. Brought up in Glasgow, she started her music career as a session vocalist with the Eurythmics and Alison Moyet, and now has a solo career, writing her own material and focusing on the songs of Robert Burns.

The University, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, this week also conferred honorary degrees on George Reid, Kirsty Young, Jonathan Mills, Baroness Ford and Baroness Stern.

Dame Diana Rigg, Chancellor, presided over the ceremonies for the last time as her ten year term of office at Stirling ended.

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