Skip header navigation

News archive for October 2009

Back to news

News Archive

October 2009

Stirling tennis star pays tribute to Andy Murray after first tour win

Making Scotland’s Children Safer

Stirling seminar series cover every sporting angle

Protecting Scottish wildlife - alien invasions and extreme solutions

Can crofting and hill-farming communities afford wildlife conservation?

Triple delight in Canada for in-form Stirling golfer

Personal trainer helped me bounce back after life-threatening illness

Indians in Westerns – getting a raw deal?

Major cross country competition coming to Stirling

Stirling speed demon hungry for more chequered flags

An emotional plea for an end to hate in Scottish football

Major Symposium on Addiction Recovery at University of Stirling

Winning Students prepare for World Cup qualifiers

Stirling Deputy Principal recognised by Taiwan’s national sport university

Uni course to improve benefits advice to cancer patients

Launch of the Communicating Climate Change research project in India and the UK

Inverness nursing and midwifery graduations mark 10th anniversary

Stirling tennis star pays tribute to Andy Murray after first tour win

Date released: Friday 2 October 2009

Stirling graduate Colin Fleming picked up some useful tennis tips from Andy Murray - and quickly put them to good effect, winning his first ATP Tour event.

Colin, who graduated with first class honours in Economics and Finance from the University of Stirling in 2007, partnered Liverpudlian Ken Skupski to victory in the Open de Moselle men’s doubles in Metz.

The result moved Colin well into the top 100 for doubles, the perfect tonic after the disappointment of being called into the Davis Cup squad only to finish up an unused player in Britain’s defeat to Poland.

Colin Fleming was busy training at the UniversityBut returning to Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence this week for a training session with the University’s High Performance coach Euan McGinn, Colin (pictured), believes the Davis Cup experience proved not to be a complete disaster after all.

"It was great to train with Andy Murray, he is obviously a phenomenal talent, but I find his mindset very interesting too,” said Colin. "Even when he is practising, if he misses one shot, it annoys him and he doesn’t let it happen again.

"He is so professional, wanting to hit every shot as well as he can and you need to be like that when you train, not just swinging about for no reason or you won’t be able to reproduce it in the big matches. Losing to Poland was a disappointing result and a blow for the country, but I didn’t let not getting to play affect me. Ken [Skupski] and I then went straight to France so after such a negative it was great to bounce back with the win.

"We worked hard with our coach out there and while we had a slow start, we just got better with each match. We’ve seen people who we have been competitive with win events so we knew we had a chance, but having a chance is one thing - winning it is another."

Colin and Ken, or team ‘Flemski’ as they are collectively known, soared to career high doubles rankings of 79 and 76 respectively following the 2-6 6-4 10-5 final victory against former Wimbledon champions Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra.

The British duo are now targeting regular ATP Tour appearances and have earmarked a possible appearance at the Australian Open in January. Before this, Colin, from Linlithgow, nipped down to the University where he paid tribute to the flexible study which enabled him to develop his game and his mind. He added: "Both myself and Ken [Skuspki] have university backgrounds and agree it was the best option for us to succeed. If you look at the top 100 men’s singles players, the average age is 26 so it is unrealistic for guys to go full-time on the tour at 17 and expect them to make it. Everyone needs time to mature mentally and physically."

Coach Euan McGinn, who has worked with Colin from aged 16, was delighted to see his hard work pay dividends. He said: "I think Colin is going to be in the top 20 in the world for doubles. I am really pleased for him - it doesn’t happen very often you have a guy who comes in at his age and goes on to win an ATP event and beat some of the best doubles teams in the world. His return of serve is one of the best in the world and his volleys are fantastic too. He has matured a lot in the past year and is still only 25 so time is definitely on his side. It’s always nice to see him up at Stirling – he feels perfectly at home here and is in good company as the top 25% of the current 100 singles players went to university."


Making Scotland’s Children Safer

Date released: Tuesday 6 October 2009

Scottish social workers have begun receiving advice from a new hub of child protection expertise - the first in the UK - as they work to keep young people safe from neglect or abuse.

The Multi-Agency Resource Service (MARS), based at the University of Stirling, is helping child protection professionals work through difficult cases and share good practice to help spread successful approaches across Scotland.

Minister for Children and Early Years Adam Ingram, who today officially launched the MARS during a visit to the unit, said: "There is no greater responsibility than the safety of our children and Scotland is leading the way on child protection measures, with the most scrutinised system anywhere in the UK.

"This new pioneering hub of expertise - another UK first - is allowing child protection professionals to seek advice from specialists with decades of experience in this area. Nobody can underestimate the difficult decisions which those working in child protection face every day in their crucial role which is why, where particularly complex or unusual situations arise, expertise or advice on successful approaches from far-afield is now at hand.

"Having just completed the most in-depth examination ever of child protection services in Scotland, we have the clearest picture of measures on the ground and where there are successes and difficulties. This new MARS unit will further help us build on the good practice across Scotland, allowing areas with shortcomings to learn from what works and drive consistency, while we work to protect children in communities across the country."

MARS director, Beth SmithMARS director Beth Smith said: "This is a challenging time for child protection practitioners and I look forward to playing my part in improving services by developing a community of expertise across Scotland. Part of my role is to actively promote good practice and I intend to build on the positive partnership work and child protection networks already in existence throughout the country."

The Scottish Government has allocated funding to create and run the MARS, which will develop a community of knowledge and facilitate access to experienced professionals to help agencies deal with particularly challenging child protection situations. It has already begun helping practitioners but becomes fully operational this week. Over time its experience of services on the ground will be used to inform national child protection policy and training.

MARS Director Beth Smith - former Head of Services for Children and Families and Criminal Justice Social Work in Dumfries and Galloway, and Chief Social Work Officer - has worked in children and families social work services for over 20 years.


Stirling seminar series cover every sporting angle

Date released: Tuesday 6 October 2009

Why do England lose? The man with the answer to this burning question is Stefan Szymanski, who is going to outline his theories at the University of Stirling in November.

Professor Szymanski is a leading economist from City University London and his talk is one of a series of sports seminars at the University. Speakers will discuss everything from exposing corruption to drug use in sport and why the Great North Run lives up to its name.

Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence is the leading university in the country for sports research and the Department of Sports Studies has put together an outstanding field of high profile speakers from the world of sport and physical activity for its 2009/10 Research Seminars and Lectures in Sport series.

The series started last week with a public debate on the future of Scottish football. BBC sports journalist Jim Spence chaired the event which included Scottish Football Association Chief Executive Gordon Smith and Henry McLeish, Chair of the Scottish Football Review Committee among the panel.

In February, investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, the author of controversial books The New Lords of the Rings: Olympic Corruption & How to Buy Gold Medals and Foul! The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals will explore the role of investigative journalists in sport.

Jennings, who turned his attention to corruption in sport after learning his trade tracking the mafia in Palermo, was jailed over his comments about the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and is currently the only reporter in the world banned from FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s press conferences.

Questioning the lack of integrity in sport will be Michele Verroken, former Director of Ethics and Anti-Doping at UK Sport and founding director of Sporting Integrity, a unique sports business consultancy helping clients to adopt best practice procedures in relation to ethics and integrity standards.

Michele’s work spans three decades as one of the world’s top officials in the field of ethics in sport and she has helped to shape the fight against doping in sport, organising drug testing programmes at major international events including Commonwealth Games and Rugby Union World Cups.

The organiser of the Great North Run - the world’s most popular half marathon - will also visit the University of Stirling campus. Dave Newton, Managing Director of Nova International, the company which specialises in developing mass participation events, will look at future projects which aim to take sport to the people.

A number of further speakers will also contribute to the Research Seminars in Sport series, looking at aspects of coaching, Michael Rasmussen’s 2007 Tour de France exclusion and the complex issue of behavioural aspects of physical activity and health.

Professor Fred Coalter of Stirling’s Department of Sports Studies, said: "In our research and teaching at the University of Stirling, we seek to address all aspects of sport, from community sport to international elite competition.

"This series illustrates the range of issues and debates we seek to cover. Bringing together a variety of national and international speakers, the series addresses issues ranging from the promotion of physical activity via coaching of elite athletes to ethical issues of drugs and corruption in sport."

Research seminars:


Thursday 22 October: Dr Chris Cushion and Andy Abraham - Understanding Sports Coaching - exploring the boundaries of practice and theory.

Thursday 5 November: Professor Stefan Szymanski - Why England Lose.

Thursday 19 November: Professor Verner Møller on Michael Rasmussen’s Tour de France exclusion.


Thursday 18 February: Andrew Jennings - Investigative journalism and corruption in sport.

Thursday 4 March: Dave Newton, MD of Nova International - Mass participation events and mass participation.

Thursday 25 March: Michele Verroken - Is there any integrity left in sport?

Thursday 22 April: Professor Stuart Biddle - Behavioural aspects of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and health: Why there isn’t a simple answer to a complex issue!

All events start at 6pm in Lecture Theatre W1 in the Cottrell Building. For more information, see, email or contact Karen Caldwell on 01786 466498.


Protecting Scottish wildlife - alien invasions and extreme solutions

Date released: Wednesday 7 October 2009

Dr Kirsty Park discusses non-native plant and animal speciesScotland’s bio-diversity - the variety of its native wildlife - is under serious pressure from the introduction of non-native plant and animal species. Some of these threaten our existing wildlife and present a challenge to our conservationists and environmentalists.

How we protect Scottish wildlife is the subject of the second in the series of Stirling Lectures to be delivered by University of Stirling lecturer in conservation ecology, Dr Kirsty Park (pictured). It will be delivered in both Stornoway and Inverness on 14 and 15 October respectively. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

A survey conducted by Scottish National Heritage in 2001 identified 988 alien (or non-native) species of wildlife in Scotland. When a non-native species has a detrimental impact upon indigenous flora or fauna, or the economy, it is regarded as ‘invasive’. Such species are now seen as a major threat to global biodiversity and in order to save some species, conservationists have had to contemplate unpalatable actions, including managed culls of non-native species.

This particular solution tends to provoke strong public reaction, which Dr Park perfectly understands. She says: “I came into conservation from the animal rights route, so I know where people are coming from when they react negatively to the prospect of an animal cull.

“They tend to talk about introduction of a species as being ‘not the animal’s fault’, which is absolutely true. If blame is to be apportioned, it’s ours for having introduced an invasive species in the first place. However, this isn’t about who is to blame, it’s about what we do to rectify a situation which adversely affects our indigenous wildlife.”

Public perception of animal management programmes is often influenced by the media, certain elements of which may use sensationalist headlines to whip up a public furore, whilst not giving the public the full facts about a particular conservation issue. “The Uists’ hedgehog story was a case in point,” comments Dr Park. “One newspaper referred to the ‘Massacre of the TiggyWinkles’ and using this child’s story book reference would inevitably create an emotive response in many readers.”

However, a recent survey to assess public attitudes towards invasive species control suggested that 78% of the Scottish public believed non-natives should be controlled or eradicated where they caused damage to native species. One important finding was that respondents with prior knowledge of control programmes, and those who were members of conservation organisations, in general showed higher levels of support for control. This highlights the important role that awareness and education has in terms of increasing public support for management projects.

Dr Park, along with other conservationists, believes it is important to reduce and even reverse the decline in bio-diversity but realises there are few easy solutions. “Doing nothing really is not an option. By introducing animals and plants to new areas, we run the risk of homogenising the world’s species. It’s a bit like having the same retail outlets in every High Street from the UK, through India to Australia. Their proliferation inevitably ousts smaller local outlets which can’t be found anywhere else - and therefore may cease to exist at all.”

However, the decision to cull any species is not taken lightly. It usually involves a lengthy consultation process, the average timescale of which concerns Dr Park who says: “There is an argument for saying that if we can see the likelihood - possibly using evidence from other countries where it has been introduced - that a particular species will have a negative impact on bio-diversity, then we should eradicate it before it becomes established.

“Inevitably this sometimes means taking action before hard evidence becomes available and, particularly in the case of an animal species, this can also meet media and public resistance.”

As to why a non-native species often seems to thrive at the expense of the indigenous equivalent; one theory is that when an animal or plant is introduced to a new environment, it loses all the natural enemies which curbed its population growth in the old one.

This may be one of the reasons why hedgehogs have done so well on the Uists to which they were introduced some 25 years ago. On the mainland their biggest enemies are badgers and road traffic, neither of which were an issue on the Uists. Meanwhile, the hedgehogs took the eggs of breeding wading birds which, until the hedgehogs’ arrival, had no ground predators and were therefore not equipped to resist this new enemy.

With her lecture, Dr Park hopes to promote increased public understanding of why it is vital to protect our natural wildlife. The fact is that anything which negatively impacts our existing species will also impact our ecosystem - which in turn can potentially affect human survival. That’s how fundamentally important conservation is.

Dr Park's lecture, entitled: ‘Non-native invasive species management: public attitudes and the media’, will be delivered on:

Wednesday 14 October, 4pm at the Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway

Thursday 15 October, 6pm, Auditorium, Centre for Health Science, Inverness

To find out more about this lecture - and others in the series - please check the University website


Can crofting and hill-farming communities afford wildlife conservation?

Date released: Wednesday 7 October 2009

At first glance, Scottish hill-farming and crofting, conservation and the European Union may not seem interconnected but in reality, they are very closely linked and the relationship between them is biodiversity.

Biodiversity - the variety of indigenous wildlife thriving in its native environment - is an issue on which many conservationists and environmentalists are focused. However the extent to which biodiversity can be found on Scottish hill farm and crofts land depends on several factors, including economic ones.

Nick HanleyThese economic influences are the subject of a lecture to be given by Nick Hanley, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Stirling. Part of the Stirling Lectures series, it will be delivered in Inverness on Thursday 15 October. Admission is free and the lecture is open to all.

Describing the existing situation, Professor Hanley said: "While they may derive some income from the sale of sheep and cattle, many Scottish hill farmers are financially dependant upon the single-farm payment subsidy, as well as EU agri-environment schemes which are presently available."

Agri-environment schemes have been operating since 1987 and the professor's view of their importance to Scotland's farming community is simple: "Many hill farmers would go bust if we didn't have them."

Professor Hanley has been working with a team of economists and ecologists in England's Peak District, on an ESRC funded study of the effects of upland farming on that area's wildlife. The team has now extended this work to include Scotland, quantifying the relationship between crofting and wildlife in the Highlands.

They constructed complex economic and ecological models and used these to predict what would happen if, for instance, the Government was to change some of these policies. The results could affect farms and incomes, how the land is used and the impact of any resulting changes on wildlife.

Given recent policy changes, this may become a pressing issue for farmers, as Professor Hanley explains: "The European Union has said that some of these sources of finance will not be guaranteed after 2013. So something will have to change. And this change will be important for everyone in the Highlands, from the smallest crofter to the largest landowner.

"More generally, a redesign and reworking of agri- environment schemes is likely because so far, they don't appear to have been hugely successful; and there is often no sign of marked environmental benefits. Certainly, if I was in the business of promoting agri-environment schemes, that would concern me."

Crofting in the Highlands is more than a means of earning a living; it's a tradition and an important part of the region's culture. However it has always been a way of life beset by difficulties and financial challenges and, if Professor Hanley's economic models are accurate, the future, both for crofting and biodiversity, may be just as uncertain.

Notes to editors:

Professor Hanley's lecture, entitled: 'Crofting, Conservation and Biodiversity', will be delivered on:
Thursday 15 October, at 5.30pm at the Auditorium, Centre for Health Science, Inverness.


Triple delight in Canada for in-form Stirling golfer

Date released: Monday 12 October 2009

Stirling student David Booth recorded a hat-trick of tournament wins in Canada while his team-mates were left cursing countbacks.

Golf scholar Booth, a fourth year Sports Studies student and Winning Student* at the University of Stirling, Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, was in peak form to win three collegiate competitions during a 10-day trip across the Atlantic.

Five Stirling students, accompanied by University coach Gordon Niven and Sports Performance Manager Raleigh Gowrie were invited by Humber College to compete in a series of tournaments involving the best players from the host country.

Humber were returning the invite after an enjoyable trip to Scotland earlier in the year and recognising the opportunity on offer, the University of Stirling opted to send the same team which won the 2009 British Universities Golf Matchplay title.

The team continued its rich vein of form, but was twice pipped for the overall honours on countbacks at the Niagara College Knights Golf Classic and the University of Western Ontario Invitational.

Still, Booth came out on top at both events, the former taking place at the aptly named Loch Ness Golf Club. And the 2008 Scottish Youths champion, who hails from Rotherham, made light work of the National GC – rated Canada’s number one course – defying difficult conditions to win the Humber Invitational.

A bronze medallist with Great Britain in the 2008 World Universities Championships, Booth shot a two under par 70 to win by a single shot in a field of more than 60 at the course next to Niagara Falls.

He followed this with a one under par, two-shot victory at the prestigious tree-lined St Thomas GC in Western Ontario, where David (pictured) was the only player to finish below par. The Humber GC result came in wet and windy conditions, but undeterred, David recorded a three shot victory.

He said: “Canada was a great experience and the courses were some of the best I have played in my amateur career, giving a good test to all facets of my game. I was really pleased to make it a hat-trick of wins out there, and am thankful to the University for giving me the opportunity.”

David Booth lines up a putt

Sports Performance Manager Raleigh Gowrie said: “I was delighted to see David perform so well in Canada. He has matured considerably as a golfer and now holds the game and the mentality to take his golf to a higher international level. The trip was great for the University to develop our international reputation for golf and for our scholars to test themselves on different courses and conditions.”

It has also been a great month for Stirling golfers back in Scotland. No fewer than 17 male and female golf scholars represented the University at Lady bank GC for the first Scottish Universities Golf order of merit event.

Stirling’s men’s team won the event by a huge margin, with fourth year student James White living up to his billing as Scotland’s best student golfer by winning the individual event with an eight under par total. It was a one-two-three for Stirling, with Andrew Wallace second, and team captain Bobby Rushford third. The women’s team came second to Edinburgh University, with Rachel Cassidy runner-up in the individual listings.

On the professional scene, former scholar Richie Ramsay capped a superb week for the University’s golf programme with a fourth place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Ramsay, who graduated in Sports Studies and Marketing, retained his European Tour Card and collected a cheque for £140,000 thanks to steely performances at the Old Course St Andrew’s, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

* The University of Stirling was designated as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in May 2008 and leads a national sports scholarship scheme entitled Winning Students, which supports athletes studying in colleges and universities across Scotland. For more information see


Personal trainer helped me bounce back after life-threatening illness

Date released: Monday 12 October 2009

A Stirlingshire mum-of-three who nearly died when complications after childbirth left her paralysed is now fighting fit, thanks to a dedicated personal trainer.

Joyce Differ, from Bridge of Allan, suffered facial paralysis during the birth of her third child and, after a misdiagnosis, required extensive surgery to alleviate pressure on her brain. But her condition soon spiralled and Joyce was rushed into intensive care with a stroke which left her paralysed from the neck down.

"I had gone from someone very active," said Joyce, "who did aerobics three times a week and rode a horse, to unable to move. It was devastating. After about nine months of people from Stirling Royal Infirmary working with me at home, the movement started to come back and then finally I could take small steps."

The 45-year-old housewife was left with a number of short-term side effects, becoming partially deaf and losing the power of speech, but it was another issue which really got her down. Joyce put on a lot of weight, rapidly shooting up three dress sizes.

Joyce works through some stretches with James AshleyTo combat this, she tried a number of diets, but nothing worked – until she came across James Ashley, a personal trainer from the University of Stirling. One thorough assessment later and Joyce was soon on a 10-week plan which helped her shed the pounds and become more energetic into the bargain.

She said: "Most folk don’t want to help people who’ve had a stroke – but James gave me an in-depth assessment, not just physically but also evaluating my lifestyle and nutrition.

"The next ten weeks consisted of combining diet and exercise. From week one my weight reduced significantly, I lost 30 pounds in eight weeks, my body changed shape, it finally became toned and I also had a lot more energy."

Turning her hand to all manner of activities from using the cross trainer to boxing, Joyce was soon back to her best and is glad she plucked up the courage to ask for assistance.

"I was really nervous about asking for help, but I can’t thank James enough for his unwavering professionalism," added Joyce. "He gave me back my confidence as well as increased my self esteem. I have never felt so fit and healthy."

James leads a team of dedicated trainers at the Personal Training Academy, based at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence. Offering individual or group training, the sessions are available at the University, using the wide range of facilities, including the fitness suite, studio, track or swimming pool, or even at home.

James said: "Working with Joyce is a fine example of how well-structured and progressive health and fitness programmes, combined with hard work and determination can produce sustained and long-lasting results.

"The Personal Training Academy is committed to offering every client a professional and motivating training experience. Against all odds, Joyce has turned what many would consider to be significant barriers, into positive successes. I am delighted by her winning attitude and we will continue to work hard towards her next health and fitness goals."

The Personal Training Academy service is delivery by qualified Health Fitness Instructors. The programmes are customised to take into consideration exercise likes and dislikes and individual health and fitness goals. The service can help improve endurance, strength and tone, reduce body fat, alleviate everyday stress and enhance self esteem.

For more information on the University of Stirling’s Personal Training Academy, see

Alternatively, please contact the Sports Centre on (01786) 466900; the swimming pool reception desk on (01786) 466500 or email the Personal Training Coordinator on

Indians in Westerns – getting a raw deal?

Date released: Wednesday 14 October 2009

Lovers of Western films would probably be the first to agree that these productions have typically given North American Indians a bad press; nearly always earmarking them as the ‘baddies’, in film and TV offerings as varied as ‘Custer’s Last Stand’ and ‘Wagon Train’.

Now their portrayal on-screen is the subject of a lecture, ‘The Indian in Western Movies’, to be given by David Jacobs, honorary professor at the University of Stirling. It will be delivered on Tuesday 20 October at 10am in the University’s Pathfoot Lecture theatre and followed at 3pm by a screening of the 1950 film ‘Broken Arrow’. Both events are free and open to the public.

Creator of three celebrated TV series: ‘Knots Landing’, ‘Dallas’ and the Western series ‘Paradise’, David Jacobs is a long-established writer, TV producer, director and occasional actor. He also wrote episodes for ‘Bodies of Evidence’ and was executive producer on 42 episodes of ‘Homefront’.

As honorary professor at the Department of Film, Media and Journalism, David has for the last twelve years sponsored one of the best students to graduate from the Department each year. These students were enabled to work in the Hollywood TV industry, while continuing their studies at graduate level in UCLA.

Most of them have now returned to the UK and become well established in careers which are the direct results of their experience as David Jacobs’ scholars.

Based in LA, David will be visiting Scotland to complete research for a novel on the expatriate businessman and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. Given his wealth of knowledge on the subject of westerns, Tuesday’s lecture promises to be a fascinating and lively session, together with his introduction to the screening of this classic film.

Tuesday 20 October, both in Pathfoot Lecture Theatre

10.00 Lecture

15.00 Free showing of Broken Arrow

Note to Editors:

For further information on the lecture and film showing, please contact Professor John Izod on

Major cross country competition coming to Stirling

Date released: Thursday 15 October 2009

The University of Stirling has won the right to host a major British universities and colleges cross country race which has helped to launch the career of many talented athletes.

British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), the national governing body for higher education sport, has selected Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence as the venue for the BUCS 2010 Cross Country Championships next February.

Previous winners of the event include 2008 IAAF World Junior 1,500m champion Steph Twell, who ran for Team GB at the Beijing Olympics, and Andy Vernon, who was second in the 2008 European Cross Country Championships.

The event consists of three races and will see around 1,000 students from all over the UK battle it out across challenging terrain. The men’s main race covers a distance of around 12km and there is a women’s race at 7km as well as a men’s B race over 8km.

The University last hosted the competition in 2006 and athletes will be keen to return to the central Scottish location, with the 2009 event scheduled for Aberdeen cancelled due to the weather conditions.

Peter Bovill, Chair of the BUCS Athletics and Cross Country Management Group said: “We are delighted to announce the selection of Stirling University to host the Cross Country Championships in 2010. Stirling last hosted the event in 2006 and we are pleased to be returning to the city. The University submitted a strong bid which will see the course take place on its own campus across an undulating and challenging course.”

University of Stirling Deputy Principal, Professor Grant Jarvie said: “The University of Stirling, as both Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence and Scotland's 2009 Sunday Times University of the Year, is delighted to be named as the host venue for the 2010 BUCS Cross Country Championships.”

Jamie MacDonald, Stirling’s Sports Union President, said: “The University will make every effort to ensure a championships befitting Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence. The Championships will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the University’s beautiful campus and renowned hospitality. All parties including the University of Stirling Sports Union and Athletics Club have begun preparations for what will be a fantastic event.”



Stirling speed demon hungry for more chequered flags

Date released: Thursday 15 October 2009

Stirling graduate Colin Turkington has cut short his celebrations after clinching the British Touring Cars Championship (BTCC) in dramatic style.

Turkington, who graduated in 2005 with a 2:1 degree in Business Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, held off the final day charge of former champion Jason Plato at Brands Hatch to secure his first ever Championship.

But having achieved a lifetime ambition, the 27-year-old has no time to hang about on cloud nine as his contract with Team RAC BMW has come to an end. Searching for sponsorship before the 2010 season begins in April, Turkington’s racing future remains in the balance.

"The race dates are out, but at the moment I don’t have anything set for next year," admitted the PortadownColin holds the British Touring Cars Championship trophy aloft-born racer. “Even though I’ve won the championship doesn’t mean I am guaranteed a job.

"It’s a case of starting now the season is over to work hard and capitalise on my success to get into the best possible position for next season. I would like to stay in the British Touring Cars Championship as it is the place to be. Whatever happens, I need to make sure I have a chance of winning it again."

Going into the tenth and final race date, Turkington (pictured) was at the top of the leaderboard, but both Plato and 2008 champion Fabrizio Giovanardi were still in with a chance of catching him.

Plato romped to three wins out of three on race day, but 8th, 3rd and 2nd place finishes were enough for Turkington to take the top spot by five points. It proved an emotional day for the former Knockhill instructor, whose success was watched by his whole family, including four-month-old son Lewis.

Turkington added: "Lewis was there, sporting some impressive earmuffs. He would be the odd one out in my family if he is not interested in motor sport, and I am sure when he is a wee bit older he will be chuffed to look back and know he was there with me.

"I just think my hunger to win helped me over the line, as both Plato and Giovanardi had won it before. Afterwards, we had a really good party at the track. The day was a bit surreal as I had put so much effort into the races then the next thing I was on the podium. It was all such a blur so it was great to come home and watch it again.

"The amount of congratulations afterwards has been overwhelming. I had all the family and friends from Northern Ireland cheering me on and all my friends from Stirling were watching too."

Background information:
• The University of Stirling was designated as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in May 2008 and leads a national sports scholarship scheme entitled Winning Students, which supports athletes studying in colleges and universities across Scotland. For more information, see

An emotional plea for an end to hate in Scottish football is made by the late Celtic player and manager Tommy Burns

Date released: Monday 19 October 2009

Celtic Minded 3: essays on religion, politics, society, identity and…
Editor Dr Joseph M Bradley.
Argyll Publishing, £11.99

Celtic Minded 3 edited by Dr Joseph M Bradley, a senior lecturer in Sports Studies at the University of Stirling, uses football as a window to analyse and explore aspects of the religious, ethnic, social, political and cultural environment football inhabits in Scotland.

Other contributors include Professor Christine Kinealy, Gerard Gough, Lewis Waugh, Professor Patrick Reilly, Composer Dr James MacMillan, and Tommy Burns, who put pen to paper several months before he died.

The work considers the significance of the mid-19th century Great Hunger in Ireland and the subsequent emigration to Scotland which provided the primary impetus for the existence of Celtic Football Club. Partly in this light, Editor Dr Joseph Bradley reflects on the recent singing of the Famine Song in Scottish football.

Celtic Minded 3He says: "Painfully, for those who work at creating as much of a non or anti-racist culture in Scotland as is possible, the variety of justifications concerning the song as well as the general denial of it as a serious issue, does not reflect a society that can acknowledge its anti-Irishness and the damage this does to positive ethnic as well as religious relations in society."

A section of the book reflects on the religious history and traditions that lie at the heart of the club and its support, including Burns contribution that is essentially a reflection on his Catholic faith and the importance that played in his life.

Poignantly, Burns states: "I think we are supposed to live on this earth, but also remain detached from overly focusing on worldly things. It’s about what we can do, what we can achieve, about how many people we can help in the day and lift their spirits and generally try to be part of something that’s uplifting. Faith is good, it’s focused, it’s true.

"It also assists us to deal with people that might be hostile towards us, like maybe those connected to other football teams with a history against us. We can see beyond that and see them as human first and foremost – as important in God’s eyes. That’s always the number one ingredient before we think of them as supporters of ‘the other’ team.

"We should not allow ourselves to hate just because someone hates us or belongs to something different from us. As life goes by we are faced with many temptations, but our conscience, that voice inside, keeps pulling us back on track. When God looks at us on our death-beds it is to be hoped that He finds the person He wants to."

The book contains a wide variety of Celtic stories: Lewis Waugh considers supporting Celtic from a non-Catholic and non-Irish perspective while Colin Deeny talks about the club as a cultural focal point for the Lithuanians in Scotland, a community from which Celtic’s greatest ever captain, Billy McNeill, came.

Gerard Gough’s conclusion on the media spotlight on Artur Boruc states incisively: " ‘One Scotland Many Cultures’? ‘The Best Small Country in the World’? I am grateful to Boruc for showing us that neither of these statements are, as yet, factually accurate and a great deal of work remains to be done."

For Dr Bradley, amongst other things, the book concludes: "recognition of, and cultural parity for, the Irish descended in Scotland, the country’s greatest single ethnic group, is essential with a view to raising awareness of issues of prejudice and discrimination, and as a means to improve social and cultural understanding, knowledge and tolerance in today’s multi-cultural Scotland."

Celtic Minded 3 is published by Argyll Publishing this week (October 19, 2009), priced £11.99.

For a review copy of Celtic Minded 3, please contact Argyll Publishing on 01369 820 229. Further media inquiries should be made to: or to the Department of Sports Studies on 01786 466 489.

Major Symposium on Addiction Recovery at University of Stirling

Date released: Monday 19 October 2009

The University of Stirling will host a major conference on addiction recovery from 19–21 October, featuring experts on addiction from all over Europe.

The European Working Group on Drugs Oriented Research (EWODOR) is a network of European research experts, founded in 1983, which holds a major symposium every year. For the first time ever it has agreed to meet in the UK and delegates and speakers will converge on Stirling from Spain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Ukraine and the rest of the UK.

Rowdy Yates, Senior Research Fellow at Scottish Addiction Studies, Department of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling, said: “We have pushed very hard to have the network meet here in Scotland. In recent years, there has been a renewal of interest in recovery and a growing discontentment with current treatment approaches. People increasingly feel that substitute prescribing – like long-term methadone maintenance therapy – is failing to deliver for those who most need it.

"The EWODOR network is one of the largest groupings of experts in this field and has a long history of bridging the gaps between the research community and treatment providers and clients. This is probably the first conference in Scotland to bring together researchers, service providers and recovered addicts to discuss recovery and what that might mean in practice”.

The event will culminate in a celebration of 25 years of addiction research and teaching at University of Stirling, and Rowdy Yates remarked: “Scottish Addiction Studies is a vigorous network of academics in Stirling with a strong interest in the addictions. Members of the network span a number of departments including Applied Social Science, Nursing and Social Marketing.

"We are very proud of the work we have undertaken over the past 25 years and even more proud that this is being recognized by some of the most influential experts in Europe today. We were the first university to offer online courses in addiction, we offer one of the most widely respected online libraries and now we’re the first in the UK to host an EWODOR conference!”

In the past few years, Scotland has seen a major sea-change in how addictions are viewed. The latest Scottish Government policy report argues that drug treatment should be “recovery oriented”. The EWODOR Symposium presents a major opportunity for this change to be embedded within the latest evidence from across Europe.

Notes for editors

EWODOR is a network of over 100 researchers from most European Community states. It was founded in Rotterdam in 1983 and has become widely acclaimed for its work in bringing research out of the universities and into treatment settings.

Scottish Addiction Studies was established in 1984 as the Scottish Drugs Training Project, one of the first of a series of in-service training agencies to provide training and evaluation for the growing range of drug treatment agencies in the UK. The network was the first in the UK to publish a manual on addictions workforce training; the first to provide accredited courses on line and in the past decade has become widely acclaimed for both its teaching and research outputs and for its provision of online services including one of Europe’s largest online libraries of addiction materials. The network includes academic staff in the Department of Applied Social Sciences, the Department of Nursing and Midwifery and the Institute of Social Marketing.

Rowdy Yates is a Senior Research Fellow at University of Stirling. He is currently Executive Director of EWODOR and Vice President of the European Federation of Therapeutic Communities (a large network of drug-free residential treatment agencies) and Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Addiction Reference Group. Prior to this, he was director of a major drug treatment provider in England. He has experience in the addiction field totalling more than 35 years and was awarded the MBE in 1994 for service to drug treatment.

For further information, please contact:
Mr. Rowdy Yates MBE
Scottish Addiction Studies:
Rowdy Yates:

Winning Students prepare for World Cup qualifiersWinning Students

Date released: Tuesday 20 October 2009

Four footballers selected for a national sports scholarship scheme have been named in the Scotland Women’s squad for their crucial World Cup qualifiers.

Winger Rachel Corsie, defender Frankie Brown, striker Jane Ross and goalkeeper Jo Hutcheson are all in Scotland Coach Anna Signeul’s 19-player squad for the double-header against Greece and Georgia which kicks off the campaign.

The quartet, who are supported by Winning Students - the scheme led by the University of Stirling which provides talented student athletes with annual grants of up to £5,500 – have held onto their places after making the squad for the Northern Ireland Challenge Match last week.

Glasgow City stars Corsie and Ross were both on target in the 3-0 win at The Oval in Belfast, which provided the perfect preparation ahead of the match in Athens on Saturday (October 24).

Jane RossCorsie, 20, a third year Accountancy and Finance student at Robert Gordon University, netted her first senior goal while Ross, 20, a Sport and Exercise Science student at the University of Stirling, came off the bench to wrap up the win with a stylish long-range finish.

Fellow Stirling student Brown, who plays her club football for Hibs, also made a substitute appearance and will be targeting a push for the starting eleven, while Hutcheson, currently completing a postgraduate Masters degree in Sports Management, will face a tough challenge to wrest the gloves from first choice keeper and Scotland captain Gemma Fay.

Ross (pictured left), Brown and Hutcheson are part of the Scottish FA National Women’s Football Academy, based on campus at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, where the players combine their studies with a tailored football programme, led by Academy Coach and fellow Scotland internationalist Pauline Hamill.

Hamill, Scotland’s most capped player, said: “It is a big deal for anyone to be part of a Scotland squad, even for me now after all this time I am still so happy to be involved. These are the games you want to play in, the ones where it matters and you could potentially reach the World Cup.

“You don’t need any more motivation than that and I am delighted for the four girls that they have been named in the squad. They are all really chuffed and I am proud of them, but it is just the start and the next big challenge for them is to get into the team. For the girls at the Academy, they are in the best environment to achieve success – learning and training every day.”

Winning Students co-ordinator Jason Atkins said: “It’s great to see the students combine their academic study and sporting talent to good effect. Winning Students is about helping talented athletes studying in Scotland to succeed and hopefully the girls will continue to develop into regular Scotland internationalists. I wish Scotland the very best of luck in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.”

Background information:

• The University of Stirling was designated as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in May 2008 and leads a national sports scholarship scheme entitled Winning Students, which supports athletes studying in colleges and universities across Scotland. For more information, see

• For the full Women's A squad, see:

Stirling Deputy Principal recognised by Taiwan’s national sport university

Date released: Monday 26 October 2009

A Deputy Principal at the University of Stirling has received an honorary degree from one of the best universities in Taiwan.

Recognising Professor Grant Jarvie’s contribution to promoting international co-operation over a 25 year period, The National Taiwan Sport University (NTSU) invited him to receive an Honorary Doctorate.

Graciously accepting the invitation, Professor Jarvie was treated to a stunning event which included the formal ceremony followed by commemorative planting of a tree and being honoured by a university choir singing a song in his honour.

The award is normally bestowed upon politicians and national celebrities, but Professor Jarvie was selected by the NTSU Honorary Degree Committee partly because of his renowned research work in sport, health and education, which has been translated into many languages worldwide.

President Chou and Professor Grant Jarvie

Professor Jarvie, who becomes the first European recipient of an honorary doctorate from NTSU, was also acknowledged for having worked for almost three decades with international students and organising international exchanges between different universities.

More than 300 guests watched on as eulogies were delivered in Professor Jarvie’s honour by President Chou, the Principal of the NTSU, which boasts world-class sports facilities and a centre of excellence akin to Stirling, Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.

During the ceremony, Professor Jarvie, clad in an NTSU gown, was taken through the formal ‘Tassel Shifting’ process, before receiving further remembrance gifts of plaques and flowers. After the ceremony, the Professor planted a tree outside the University and was inducted into the NTSU Hall of Fame.

During the visit , Professor Jarvie also had the opportunity to meet a number of University of Stirling alumni and business people in Hong Kong, including one former undergraduate student who went on to broker the marketing rights for Manchester United Football Club in Asia.

Professor Jarvie said: "It was a privilege and an honour to receive the Honorary Doctorate Degree from the National Taiwan Sport University, but I see this as an award not just for my own work, but for the University of Stirling which I represent.

"It was a wonderful experience and I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to meet former Stirling students. It was really pleasing to hear the warmth of feeling they still have for the University and many of them are now working in senior positions at Universities and in businesses across the world."

Back in Scotland, Professor Jarvie was an invited guest today (Monday, October 26) at a conference arranged by the Edinburgh International Students Society where he was discussing the role of sport in international development.

Stirling has created strong international links, particularly through its participation in the Zambia project, where selected students visit capital city Lusaka each year and are trained as sports leaders, using sport as a vehicle to deliver key messages to young Zambians about Aids and HIV.


• The University of Stirling was designated as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in May 2008 and leads a national sports scholarship scheme entitled Winning Students, which supports athletes studying in colleges and universities across Scotland. For more information, see



Uni course to improve benefits advice to cancer patients

Date released: Tuesday 27 October 2009

The University of Stirling, in conjunction with Macmillan Cancer Support, is to launch a unique career development course next autumn, aimed at significantly improving the quality of advice and support offered to cancer patients and their carers. Available from September 2010, the new course is designed to equip welfare rights officers and benefits advisors across Scotland with the knowledge and skills they need to improve service delivery.

Dr Kathleen Stoddart of the University’s Department of Nursery and Midwifery said: “Enhancing the quality of life and wellbeing of individuals with cancer or a long term condition requires the provision of expert advice and the delivery of effective support to patients and carers. While this is a social priority for government, local authorities, NHS, leading charities and the voluntary sector, it is also a complex area for all key stakeholders.

“Improving the quality of advice available to people experiencing a disabling condition depends upon enhanced knowledge and skills. But until now there has been a lack of educational opportunities for benefits advisors and support staff in Scotland.”

The Department of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Stirling is especially pleased to be working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support on the initiative, which is supported by the Scottish government and has been welcomed by charities and local authority advice services. All of whom share a commitment to enhance the quality of life of people affected by cancer and long term conditions.

Dr Stoddart said: “The Department is currently first in Scotland for education and research, with considerable experience in the fields of cancer, self care and long term conditions. It is ‘resource rich’ in all of these areas and this experience will be at the disposal of students undertaking these modules.

“A Macmillan Lecturer in the Department of Nursing and Midwifery will be dedicated to guiding and supporting students completing the modules part time. Key stakeholders and experts from social policy, social sciences and legal disciplines are also involved in directing and informing the programme’s development and these specialists will also contribute to the teaching of students.”

The course can be studied part time and/or online at a number of levels depending on a student’s education history and level of expertise and a range of academic awards will be available to formally recognise student achievement.

Dr Stoddart added: “All course modules are policy and work focused, with corresponding benefits attached for those seeking to develop a career in advice services, including welfare rights. The curriculum fits with the professional development strategies specified for the social care professions and provides the educational experience necessary for advisors to meet the criteria required of recognised national standards.”

For further information, please contact: Dr Kath Stoddart, Department of Nursing and Midwifery on 01786 466395; email:



Launch of the Communicating Climate Change research project in India and the UKDr Matthew Hibberd at the project launch

Date released: Friday 30 October 2009

Two senior University of Stirling researchers are in India today to launch a major international research project into public attitudes to climate change.

Dr Matthew Hibberd (pictured, centre), Deputy Head of the Film, Media & Journalism Department, said: “It has never been more important than now to undertake more research focusing on consumer attitudes to climate change, and possible publicaction to tackle the problem.

“The British public remain somewhat sceptical about climate change messages, although more are waking up to the scale of the problem and require support in changing their lifestyles. With politicians predicting no substantive climate change deal in the US before the crucial Copenhagen conference in December, and with the international community increasingly at odds over any effective and workable climate change deal, it is no surprise that scepticism remains so common.

“Our study will examine attitudes among young people both in the UK and in India, which is the world’s largest growing country and is due to become the world's most populated country by 2030.”

Dr Hibberd is in New Delhi with Dr An Nguyen, Lecturer in Journalism Studies at Stirling, for today’s launch of the Communicating Climate Change project, funded by the UKIERI (UK-India Education and Research Initiative). The launch takes place during India's biggest Environmental Film Festival, Vatavaran, which is organised by the University of Stirling’s Indian partners, CMS - Centre for Media Studies, New Delhi.

The research will target young urban and rural groups aged 16-25 in two Indian states and two UK counties and Dr Hibberd explained: “The main aim of our research is to evaluate the effectiveness of climate change messages in promotional campaigns and the media.

“We intend undertaking a series of interview and focus group meetings, encourage diary submissions over a six-month period detailing how their lifestyles change and develop, while supporting this work with interviews with communication professionals, policy makers and politicians. The research will reach richer urban groups who produce more carbon emissions and rural youth groups where, in India’s case, some 70% of the population still live, and who tend to be poorer.

“Such research will allow us to examine important issues related to resources, technologies or trade-offs with livelihood issues that may prevent young people from adapting their lifestyles, issues concerning the political-economic interests that may shape how corporations and public bodies might shape their campaigns, as well as broader tensions between economic growth, development and environment and relations between government, media and corporations.”

Picture caption: Dr Matthew Hibberd (centre) and Dr An Nguyen (right) with Dr Shailaja Sharma, Shell India's Advisor for Future Fuels & CO2, at the launch seminar

Further details: email Dr Hibberd on

University of Stirling, Department of Film, Media & Journalism:

UK-India Education and Research Initiative:


Inverness nursing and midwifery graduations mark 10th anniversary

Date released: Friday, 30 October 2009

Around 90 students from the University of Stirling’s Highland and Western Isles campuses will descend upon St Andrews Cathedral in Inverness on Friday 6 November, to take part in their graduation ceremony. The event begins at noon and the students will be capped by the University’s Chancellor and well known BBC broadcaster, Dr James Naughtie.

During the ceremony, The Baroness Margaret Ramsay of Cartvale will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to international affairs, national security and the political development of women.

Born and educated in Glasgow, Baroness Ramsay enjoyed a successful career spanning 22 years, in SIS (MI6) before becoming Foreign Policy Adviser to her university friend John Smith, from 1992, until his death in 1994. Now sitting in the Lords, she specialises in Foreign Affairs, Europe, Defence, Intelligence, Women’s Affairs and Scotland.

While the student graduates celebrate their achievements, University staff present will also be quietly celebrating the fact that this is the 10th anniversary of the first ceremony to be held for graduating students on the University’s very successful nursing and midwifery study programmes.

Professor William Lauder, Head of the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, believes that there have been major changes in the nursing profession, since the first group of students graduated in Inverness in 1999.

He said: “There is a huge shift in expectation – with our students now seeing graduating as the first part of a much bigger journey. We have seen our first 10 students going on to Early Career Fellowships after qualifying and we have had our first student graduate with Honours before going on to do a PhD.

“Generally, our students go on to take up more senior posts in the profession and progress further up the career ladder than once was the case – for instance, working in Nurse Consultant roles. This would have been inconceivable 10 years ago but the profession has become much more sophisticated.”

And in the world of nursing, there is more major change afoot. ‘Shifting the Balance of Care’, is a new and ambitious long-term programme, which aims to move the focus of patient care from the hospital environment, back into the community.

Professor Lauder totally supports this initiative, saying: “The University’s Department of Nursing and Midwifery is at the forefront of meeting the challenges created by this programme. Everything we are now engaged in – from research, to the teaching of both our undergraduate and postgraduate students, is designed to support the NHS in this ground-breaking approach to nursing and patient care. It’s a very exciting time to be in nursing and offers fantastic opportunities for those who are considering taking it up as a career.”

For further information on the study courses offered by the University of Stirling for those thinking of either beginning or returning to a nursing career, please click on:


You may also be interested in