Skip header navigation

News archive for September 2010

Back to news

News Archive

September 2010

Inbreeding among bumblebees increases risk of extinction

Coming of Age: Dementia in the 21st Century

Stirling bumblebee charity triumphs at the National Lottery Awards 2010

Principal welcomes Singapore visitor

University hosts top economists

Stirling Management School students work with Clackmannanshire Council to reduce carbon

New University Institute holds first board meeting

Pioneering facial identity system nominated for prestigious award

University lectures discuss life, the universe and everything

Flood risk - Stirling students learn how to plug the gap

Stirling student wins national business award

Scotland forms Sporting Partnership with Malaysia

Inbreeding among bumblebees increases risk of extinction

Date released: Monday 6 September 2010

Muscorum1.JPG - Bombus muscorum collecting pollen from red clover. by Dave Goulson

Some of our rarest bumblebees could be at greater risk of extinction because of inbreeding among their now small and isolated populations, ecologists are warning. Speaking at this week's British Ecological Society Annual Meeting at the University of Leeds, Penelope Whitehorn from the University of Stirling will reveal new results on inbreeding and its effects in the moss carder bumblebee.

Research into insect immunity is rarely carried out under field conditions and this is the first study to investigate inbreeding and immunity in wild bees.

Working on nine Hebridean islands off the west coast of Scotland, Ms Whitehorn – a PhD student with world-leading bumblebee expert Professor Dave Goulson – measured moss carder bumblebees' immune systems and recorded whether or not they suffered from any parasitic infections.

Comparing this data with information on genetic diversity previously gathered by Professor Goulson's team, Ms Whitehorn was able to show that while inbreeding does not seem to be affecting the bumblebees' immune systems, it is making them more susceptible to parasitic infection.

According to Ms Whitehorn: “We found that isolated island populations of the moss carder bumblebee with lower genetic diversity have an increased prevalence of the gut parasite Crithidia bombi. Our study suggests that as bumblebee populations lose genetic diversity the impact of parasitism will increase, which may increase the extinction risk of threatened populations.”

The findings are important because populations of several bumblebee species have declined dramatically over recent decades. Efforts to conserve bumblebees are vital as their pollination services are of major ecological and commercial importance, so ecologists need a better understanding of the factors affecting bumblebee populations.

The results also have wider significance because many species' populations are becoming increasingly isolated due to fragmentation of habitats and climate change. Even though these species may not, like the moss carder bumblebee, live on actual offshore islands, many species are now effectively marooned on habitat islands, between which there is limited migration.

“Investigating how inbreeding impacts parasitism and immunity in real island populations provides a proxy to understand the impacts of inbreeding in habitat islands on the mainland. Our findings may be useful for informing conservation efforts to protect threatened insect species whose populations are declining,” Ms Whitehorn explains.

Using the Hebrides as a model island system, the next stage of her research will be to find out whether the relationship between inbreeding and parasite prevalence is also affecting other bumblebee species.

Penelope Whitehorn will present her full findings at 16:20 on Tuesday 7 September 2010 to the British Ecological Society’s Annual Meeting at the University of Leeds.

For further information please contact Penelope Whitehorn,, mobile: 07791 116431.

Coming of Age: Dementia in the 21st Century

Date released: Tuesday 7 September 2010

irismurdochbuilding World leading dementia experts will outline the best ways to cope with the relentless rise in numbers of people with dementia in Britain – expected to top a million in the next few years.

They are attending an international conference in London, ‘Coming of Age: Dementia in the 21st Century’, which will bring together expertise and opinion from 17 countries.

The conference on 20 and 21 October is being organised by the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), the first of its kind in the world, and now the international leader in the dementia field.

Professor June Andrews, director of the DSDC, outlined how crucial dementia has become as a social and health issue, with an estimated 700,000 people with dementia in Britain - a number that’s set to double over the next 25 years.

“If we don’t sort out the way we do things, the cost will be crippling and the human suffering immense,” she said. “People shouldn’t fear having dementia any more than they do any other disease. These days we know about how to keep people well and independent. All we have to do is put it into action.”

She warns that a culture change is required in society at large to cope with the rise in dementia. “Dealing with dementia is not like dealing with any other disease, and demands specific skills. Most of us have them, but we don’t necessarily recognise their value.”

The conference will address the needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, as well as many of the crucial issues raised by the National Dementia Strategy.

Professor Andrews, who will be joint chair of the conference, said: “We are delighted to have secured a range of international experts in the field as our keynote speakers.

“With over 120 speakers and 20 symposia, the content will be of interest to people in the statutory, independent and third sectors, as well as community representatives such as police, faith leaders and elected representatives. People with dementia and their carers are also welcomed.”

Conference information

‘Coming of Age: Dementia in the 21st Century’ takes place at ExCel International conference Centre in London, from 20-21 October 2010.

See the conference website or contact Jemma Galbraith, Conference Manager by email at or by phone on 01786 467740

Keynote speakers:

• Professor Sandrine Andrieu, France: ‘Dementia: risk factors and risk protectors’
Sandrine Andrieu MD PhD is Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Toulouse University School of Medicine.

• Professor Henry Brodaty, Australia: ‘Critical Challengers for Carers’
Henry Brodaty is Professor of Ageing and Mental Health and Director of the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

• Professor Stephen G Post, USA: ‘The enduring self in the deeply forgetful: ethics of care when a cure remains elusive’
Stephen Post is Professor of Preventive Medicine and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University.

• Professor Emma Reynish, Scotland: ‘Holistic approaches to the needs of older people with dementia’
Emma Reynish is a consultant physician in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Victoria Hospital Kirkcaldy, and Honorary Professor in Dementia Studies, University of Stirling.

Dementia: fast facts

Dementia is the umbrella term for a range of progressive brain conditions that commonly affect older people. Alzheimer’s disease, characterised by forgetfulness, anxiety, distress and confusion is the most prevalent type.

• There are currently 700,000 people with dementia in the UK
• There will be over a million people with dementia by 2025
• Two thirds of people with dementia are women
• The financial cost of dementia to the UK is over £17 billion a year
• Family carers of people with dementia save the UK over £6 billion a year
• 64% of people living in care homes have a form of dementia
• Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community while one third live in a care home

The Dementia Services Development Centre has offices in London, Stirling and Belfast. Founded in 1989 at the University of Stirling, it is internationally recognised as a centre for excellence in coordinating dementia projects which produce tangible results. It provides training, education, research and information about how to improve care for people with dementia, and places an emphasis on promoting good practice for those working in the field of dementia care.

The centre actively works to improve services for people with dementia. It works with local authorities, the voluntary sector, emergency services and government organisations to provide unrivalled education and training in dementia. Events range from international dementia conferences to workshops and seminars on dementia. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate modules and degree courses for those working with people with dementia, and has one of the UK's largest collections of literature on dementia and related topics in a specialist dementia library

Stirling bumblebee charity triumphs at the National Lottery Awards 2010

Date released: Monday 6 September 2010

great yellow bumblebeeThe team behind University of Stirling-based charity the Bumblebee Conservation Trust are celebrating after being voted the UK’s Best Environment Project at The National Lottery Awards 2010.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust beat hundreds of projects from across the UK to win the prestigious title at The National Lottery Awards event, which was broadcast live from London’s Roundhouse on BBC One on Saturday (4 September).

Representatives from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust mingled with celebrity guests at the star-studded awards event, including Tess Daly, Benedict Cumberbatch, Amir Khan, Alex James, Larry Lamb, Matt Baker, Julia Bradbury, Sacha Parkinson and William Roache MBE.

Accepting the award for Best Environment Project, Dr Ben Darvill, Director of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said: “It is an absolute honour to have won this award and a real boost for everyone involved in the charity to receive national recognition for their hard work and dedication. Lottery funding was crucial in setting up the Trust and allowing us to raise vital awareness of the importance of bumblebee conservation to our countryside and food security. The Awards have given us a great opportunity to highlight this cause and how we’ve put our funding to good use. It’s great to be able to show anyone who has ever played the Lottery what a real difference their money can make. We have received fantastic support throughout all stages of the competition and I would like to thank everyone who has voted for us.”

About the project

Based at the University of Stirling, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust was founded in 2006 to raise awareness about the decline of bumblebees and the consequences for our countryside and food security. Set up with Lottery funding to cover running and staff costs, the Trust has grown rapidly in the last four years. It now has over 6,000 members and works with the public, farmers and land managers right across the UK to prevent further decline and to look after bumblebee populations for future generations.

The National Lottery Awards

National Lottery players raise £25 million a week for projects all across the UK. The National Lottery Awards are an annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects. All the projects entered in the competition had already received Lottery funding and the Awards recognise the difference that these projects make to local communities, and celebrate the achievements of the people behind them. For more information on the Awards and the winners across all seven categories go to

For all media enquiries on this story, please contact: Sarah McKenna on 07825 823945 or

Principal welcomes Singapore visitor

Date released: Friday 10 September 2010

Principal with Chan Lee Mun

The Principal of the University of Stirling, Professor Gerry McCormac, today welcomed the Principal of one of its overseas partners, Chan Lee Mun of Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore.

The University of Stirling has developed a close relationship with Nanyang, where it delivers a Retail Marketing degree programme that supports the burgeoning retail market in south-east Asia. This summer, Stirling held its first graduation ceremony in Singapore, when 57 students obtained the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy, the MBA in Retailing and the BA (Honours) in Retail Marketing. Singapore celebrated the graduations in true Scottish style, with a piper leading the academic procession.


University hosts top economists

Date released: Friday 10 September 2010

Council of Economic Advisers group

The University of Stirling has welcomed the nation’s greatest financial brains, in a meeting of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, and John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Growth, were among those attending the campus summit on Friday 10 September.

The event was hosted by Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal of the University of Stirling, who said: “We were delighted to welcome this prestigious group of business leaders to the University.  We have close links to Holyrood through our research expertise, particularly in economics, and this meeting presented an excellent opportunity to foster a stronger relationship with the Scottish Government.”

The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) was created in 2007 to advise the First Minister on the best way to improve Scotland's sustainable economic growth rate. Chaired by Sir George Mathewson, former Chief Executive and Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the members come from the highest levels of business and economics.

Described by Mr Salmond as 'the most formidable intellectual firepower ever to have tackled Scottish economic underperformance', the Council holds meetings following the publication of the quarterly growth figures, and publishes an annual report providing expert commentary on the Scottish economy. The meeting at the University of Stirling is the final one in the current series.

Picture caption:

The Council of Economic Advisers at the University of Stirling. Front, from left: Professor Andrew Hughes Hallett, Sir George Mathewson, Alex Salmond, Professor Gerry McCormac, Professor Sir James Mirrlees. Back, from left: Professor John Kay, Dr Jim McColl, Professor Alex Kemp, Crawford Beveridge.

Notes to editors:

In attendance from the Council of Economic Advisers were Sir George Mathewson, Dr Jim McColl, Crawford Beveridge, Professor Andrew Hughes Hallett, Professor Sir James Mirrlees, Professor Alex Kemp and Professor John Kay. Also at the meeting were Dr Andrew Goudie (Chief Economic Advisor), Jennifer Erickson (Special Advisor), and Scott Rogerson (Private Secretary). For the University of Stirling, Professor McCormac was joined by Professor Steve Burt (Deputy Principal (Strategy & Resources)), Kevin Clarke (University Secretary) and Professor David Bell (Professor of Economics).


Stirling Management School students work with Clackmannanshire Council to reduce carbon

Date released: Thursday 16 September 2010

Stirling Management School has continued its innovative partnership with Clackmannanshire Council; the latter working with two masters students on reducing carbon emissions.

William Stewart and Ewan MacGregor, both studying for an MSc in Energy Management, worked with Council staff on projects to cut emissions and costs. William's project - an internal communications campaign - aimed to reduce energy use by staff in offices by encouraging them to turn off computers and lights when not in use. Ewan worked with the Council's Facilities Management team to come up with ways to replace gas boilers with ones using wood as fuel - which would allow the Council to cut carbon and bills by growing its own fuel.

The students will be presenting their dissertations to officers shortly and the Council staff have been impressed with the work they've put in. Councillor Eddie Carrick, portfolio holder for sustainability, said: "I am pleased to see our relationship with Stirling University going from strength to strength. Their students bring a fresh perspective to the Council and are able to work on projects that we can't always dedicate resources to. In return, I hope they gained an insight into the working environment and how to put their ideas into practice."

Both students have now passed their course with flying colours.

Dr Frans de Vries, Director of the MSc Energy Management programme said: “We aim at delivering a high-quality programme to develop the students’ knowledge and skills needed for a successful career in energy management, but which also can be of direct benefit to society. Our successful partnership with Clackmannanshire Council, through William and Ewan’s dissertation projects, is a prime example of this.”

William Stewart, MSc Energy Management student said: "It was a great opportunity to complete a dissertation for the council, using the knowledge gained from our course and our own personal experiences. Hopefully this is a partnership that can continue in the future, as it appears to be mutually beneficial for both parties involved".

New University Institute holds first board meeting

Date released: Tuesday 21 September 2010

Members of the Institute's new Board

The first Board meeting of the Stirling Institute for People Centred Healthcare Management took place yesterday at the University of Stirling.  The Institute is an inter-disciplinary partnership between the Department of Nursing and Midwifery and Stirling Management School.

The board meeting was followed by dinner with the deputy Principal, Professor Ian Simpson, to mark the occasion. The University has a keen interest in working with key stakeholders in health and related sectors – both across Scotland and internationally – to help develop and support strategically valuable high level relationships, at a time of economic uncertainty.

The Institute is dedicated to seeking action and learning that empowers all those who need, use or produce healthcare both in Scotland and Internationally.  The Institute currently delivers the Management Training Scheme Masters programme for NHS Scotland, developing future senior managers of NHS Scotland.  Internationally, the Institute has secured a three year deal to develop a global health partnership to address the unique issues and challenges of remote and rural healthcare workers in rural Ghana and rural Scotland. 

The Board of the Stirling Institute for People-Centred Healthcare has a distinguished advisory group of leading healthcare experts, including Mr. Ian Anderson, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow; Ms. Fiona Mackenzie, CEO NHS Forth Valley and Professor Elizabeth Ireland.

Stirling Institute for People Centred Healthcare Management Chair, Dr Mike Walsh, said: "This Board shows how committed the Institute partners are to seeking out innovative and creative People – Centred ways to improve the health and welfare of people, as individuals, as groups, as communities and as populations, at a time when financial and demographic pressures on healthcare in Scotland and around the world are increasing".

Photographed left to right: Professor William Lauder, Head of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling; Mr. Ian Anderson, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, and consultant in A & E; Ms. Fiona Mackenzie, CEO NHS Forth Valley; Professor Elizabeth Ireland, Honorary Professor of the Institute for People Centred Healthcare Management and Dr. Mike Walsh, Chair of the Institute for People Centred Healthcare Management.

For further information, please contact: Dr. Mike Walsh, 01786 467322, or email



Pioneering facial identity system nominated for prestigious award

Date released: Thursday 23 September, 2010

Evofit example face images

A new facial composition system used by UK police forces and developed by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the University of Stirling has been shortlisted in the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards.

Dr Charles Frowd from UCLan and Professor Peter Hancock from the University of Stirling have developed an alternative facial composite system called EvoFIT.  It is used by witness and victims of crimes to make a picture of the face of a perpetrator.

Its success rate is five times higher than that of the traditional composite system used by police forces and permits witnesses to select whole faces when creating a match; allowing the composition to evolve over time, rather than trying to construct a face from individual features.

The collaborators have been nominated for ‘Research Project of the Year’, which recognises innovative studies that have a far reaching impact in their field.

Dr of Psychology Charles Frowd commented: "All of our hard work has paid off. EvoFIT is producing recognisable images both in the laboratory and in the hands of the intended user – the police. The system is actively helping to detect people who commit crime, making the streets a safer place."

EvoFIT brings together expertise in psychology and computer science and has taken 12 years to develop.  The researchers held six month trial periods with police in Lancashire, Derbyshire and Devon and Cornwall, as well as forces in Romania, with notable success.  This includes helping to identify a suspect in a Lancashire case where a young victim was assaulted.

Professor Hancock said: “The key to our success is that we have applied our understanding of psychology at all stages of the system.  Creating faces by combining features does not work well because we see faces as a whole, thus changing the eyes may affect the appearance of the mouth.  EvoFIT presents whole faces, allowing users to recognise the face, rather than have to try and describe what is wrong with it.”

The collaborators are continuing to improve the performance of EvoFIT and are working on an animated composite that will create moving images suitable for police appeals on TV.

Now in their sixth year, the Times Higher Education Awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Higher Education institutions throughout the UK. The winners will be announced at the awards dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London on Thursday 25 November 2010.

Further information: and



University lectures discuss life, the universe and everything

Date released: Friday 24 September 2010

Dr Kelly Cline

Do you ever sit and wonder whether there could be life on Mars? You might accept the principle of infinity, but did you know that some infinities are bigger than others? And what about the end of the world; the ancient Mayans predicted that it will come about in December 2012.

If these are the kind of unknowns you enjoy mulling over, then you shouldn’t miss a series of coming lectures at the University of Stirling being delivered by Dr Kelly Cline (right), a visiting lecturer in the University's Department of Computing and Mathematics. He will be exploring some fascinating themes during the four lectures, which are free and open to all.

Dr Cline is on sabbatical leave from his home institution of Carroll College in Helena, Montana, USA, where he holds a post as associate professor of mathematics and astronomy. He has a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his research focuses on solar magnetism and the processes which lead to the formation of sunspots.

Thursday 30 September at 7pm, Lecture Theatre B3, Cottrell Building:  sunspots

The Mystery of the Missing Sunspots

Sunspot counts recently hit a 50 year low, and solar magnetic activity has been at its weakest level since the beginning of the space age.  What does this mean?  What effect is it having on the Earth?  And why does the sun have spots in the first place? Dr Cline will explore the exciting science of solar magnetism and what scientists are doing right now to solve the mystery of the missing sunspots.

Thursday, 14 October at 7pm, Lecture Theatre V1, Cottrell Building:

Astrobiology and the Science of Extraterrestrial Life

Is it possible that Earth isn’t the only planet sustaining life? Could living things exist on other planets around other stars? These are the type of questions the new science of astrobiology seeks to answer and this lecture will outline the scientific search for life on Mars, under the icy crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa, and on planets orbiting the billions of other stars in our galaxy.

Thursday, 4 November at 7pm, Lecture Theatre B3, Cottrell Building: 

Infinity and Beyond: from Mathematics to the Big Bang and Black Holes

Infinity, the idea of an unlimited amount, is a bizarre and amazing thought.  Even more amazing is the fact that modern mathematics and science have begun to understand this idea. Mathematicians have discovered that there are different types of infinities – and that some infinities are bigger than others.  Meanwhile astronomers have discovered that the mysteries of black holes and the big bang are wrapped up in the question of what infinity is and how it works. Understanding such strange mathematical ideas will help us to unlock the secrets of our universe.

Thursday, 18 November at 7pm, Lecture Theatre B3, Cottrell Building: 

Ancient Maya Astronomy, Calendars, and the 2012 Prophecy

The Maya language has recently been deciphered, giving us a wealth of information about their culture, history, and traditions.  This has allowed us to translate the ‘Dresden Codex’, an ancient Maya book, written a thousand years ago, detailing their astronomical observations of the Moon, Venus, and the other planets. What did the Maya know?  What did they believe would happen in December 2012? 


Flood risk - Stirling students learn how to plug the gap

Date released: Friday, 24 September 2010

Flood risk students visit the Scottish Parliament

Lecturers and students from the University of Stirling visited the Scottish Parliament to celebrate the successful first year of an innovative working partnership which aims to develop skilled hydrologists for the future, helping to improve Scotland’s resilience to flooding.

In Scotland in 2002, more than 600 domestic properties and 170 commercial properties flooded, together with transport infrastructure, with damage estimated in excess of £100 million. Climate change scenarios suggest that flood risk will increase, yet 5% of Scotland’s properties and population are located on the floodplain.

To improve Scotland’s resilience to flooding, the government has introduced The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act, which came into force in June 2009, bringing about the most significant change to flooding legislation in Scotland for 50 years.

SEPA, in collaboration with the universities of Stirling and Dundee, launched the Flood Risk Science Trainee Programme in 2009 to create a new wave of trained and specialised professionals in Scotland to help deliver the Act’s objectives.  This is a response to the recognised shortage of skilled hydrologists which exists in Scotland and will help establish the universities as national centres of expertise for in flood risk management science.

The course requires Trainees to undertake part-time work with SEPA as part of that organisation’s Flood Risk Science Trainee Programme, together with part-time study at the University’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. They will develop skills across a broad range of disciplines, enabling them to support and contribute to flood risk management in Scotland. 

Not only will their skills, knowledge and experience be valuable to SEPA, they will also be ideally suited to working within local authorities, Scottish Water or elsewhere in the field of flood risk management in Scotland.

Several of the original Trainees were invited to give presentations at SEPA’s Flood Risk Science event, held at the Parliament and hosted by the Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, who said: “This initiative provides an excellent opportunity for the next generation of hydrologists to hone and study their skills and to ensure Scotland has the expertise needed to protect vulnerable homes and businesses from the threat of flooding."

One trainee is 25-year-old Fiona McLean from Fife, who graduated from Stirling with a BSc Hons in Environmental Science in 2007. She then worked for 10 months as an Office Services Administrator with Scottish Enterprise: “To save enough money to go travelling for a year!”

Returning from her travels, Fiona explains: “I had always intended to study for a Master’s degree – basically to give myself a competitive edge. But I was also aware that relevant work experience is valuable to employers and this presented me with a dilemma. The problem was solved when I saw the advertisement for the SEPA Flood Risk Science Programme. It combines academic knowledge with valuable work experience – which made it the ideal ticket for me.

“At SEPA, we get work experience in all of the departments, which helps to identify each student’s special area of interest and gives us practical skills. At the same time, the degree course work underpins everything we are learning with important theory and scientific knowledge.  So far, I’ve worked in SEPA’s Hydrometry Department where I’ve learned about data collection and also the River Basin Planning Department.  At present, I’m working with the Flood Risk team on responses to planning applications. I’m enjoying every aspect of the course and I’d definitely recommend it. I think working in a relevant environment while studying is an excellent way to learn.”

Degree course director, Professor David Gilvear of the University of Stirling believes the mix of work-based and university training is the best possible combination for producing a highly skilled and efficient workforce for the sector. Speaking of the trainees he said: “They are gaining the necessary skills in terms of understanding the causes of floods and the mitigation and adaptation measures needed to minimize the worst effects of flooding on communities.

He added: “I have been thoroughly impressed by the quality of the trainees who started last year; the future of flood risk management will be safe in their hands!”

David Faichney, Unit Manager (Science and Strategy), SEPA, said:  “The Flood Risk Science Trainee Programme is developing Trainees with the broad range of skills and specialist knowledge to deliver flood risk management in the future, addressing the recognised lack of skilled hydrologists in Scotland. The approach taken by SEPA, to develop a programme which combines study with valuable on-the-job experience, is helping to deliver professionals capable of working across a range of organisations in Scotland as well as establishing the universities of Dundee and Stirling as national centres for expertise in flood risk management science.”

Notes to editors:

For more information on the University of Stirling’s MSc degree course in River Basin Management, click on:

For more information on the MSC Flood Risk Science trainee programme please visit

Stirling student wins national business award

Date released: Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Jodie Hughes

A young entrepreneur from the University of Stirling has secured a nationwide distribution deal with Asda for her new health card idea, after being awarded £1,000 by Shell LiveWIRE's Grand Ideas programmes.

Twenty-three year old student Jodie Hughes will use the award to develop her business - My Health Cards Limited - which she has launched with business partner, 21-year-old Mike Bandar from Aston University.

Jodie met Mike at the National Consortium for University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) conference earlier this year, where she pitched her idea. Mike realised its business potential and their new business relationship is the result.

My Health Cards create credit card sized information cards to help people suffering with various allergies, intolerances and conditions. Their first card, My Coeliac Card, is focused towards those who have Coeliac Disease.

Jodie and Mike have successfully secured distribution with Asda stores nationwide and will be giving this card for free to all Asda customers who could benefit from it. The card has been created as an information aid to take to restaurants and cafes in the UK as well as countries that speak French, Spanish and German. The aid will help reduce the confusion of providing a suitable meal whilst promoting Coeliac Supporters on the front through brand recognition. My Health Cards

Jodie and Mike's idea, submitted through Shell LiveWIRE's website, was selected by a panel of judges to be a Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award winner, worthy of £1,000 funding. The Shell LiveWIRE Grand Idea awards are designed to give aspiring young entrepreneurs a no-strings-attached financial boost of £1,000 to help them get their business ideas off the ground. The awards are held monthly and entrepreneurs from all over the UK can submit their entries through the Shell LiveWIRE website.

Jodie said: "Winning this award will allow us to give a My Coeliac Card free of charge to more people who suffer with Coeliac Disease than we ever thought was possible. With Shell LiveWIRE's fantastic support and Asda's enthusiasm to help Coeliacs across the UK, the possibilities are endless.”

My Health Cards are now on the search for Coeliac Supporters, companies who would like to advertise on the My Coeliac Card, which will directly reach 150,000 Coeliacs across the UK.

To find out more, visit:


Scotland forms Sporting Partnership with Malaysia

Date released: Tuesday 28 September 2010

Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sport, Ahmad Shabery Cheek; University Deputy Principal Professor Grant Jarvie and University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac Picture: Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sport, Ahmad Shabery Cheek; University Deputy Principal Professor Grant Jarvie and University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac


Malaysian sports officials yesterday (Tuesday 28 September) agreed to pursue the development of new partnerships with some of Scotland’s top sports bodies that will utilise Scottish expertise to create a vibrant and sustainable sports industry in Malaysia.

The visit to Scotland was led by Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sport, Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who was joined by representatives from the Malaysian Sports Council and Sportswork Group Malaysia.

After being welcomed to the University of Stirling by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac and Deputy Principal Professor Grant Jarvie, they toured the world-class sports facilities at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence before holding a round-table discussion on campus with their Scottish counterparts.

Stewart Harris, sportscotland Chief Executive, and Joanne Deponio, EventScotland Senior Events Manager, extended a warm welcome, as did University Deputy Principal Professor Grant Jarvie.

Malaysia has designated 2011 as a Year of Sports Industry, to develop participation and professionalism in sport, and the Minister outlined its scope and importance during the discussion, which explored the impact of winning and hosting major international sporting events, their legacy and impact.

Welcoming the formal partnership, Professor Jarvie said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to meet with the Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sport and the representatives from the Malaysian Sports Council and Sportswork Group Malaysia. The University of Stirling has sporting excellence at its core and this partnership will enable Malaysia to increase their sporting capacity and capability during the Year of Sports Industry, helping them to develop expertise in a range of sports-related areas, including business, coaching, nutrition and physical education.”

He explained the development of the University of Stirling as a national centre for sport, bringing together educational opportunities, research expertise, performance sport programmes and top training facilities all together in one sports hub.

Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sport, Ahmad Shabery Cheek; University Deputy Principal Professor Grant Jarvie and Director of Sports Development Mr Peter Bilsborough Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sport, Ahmad Shabery Cheek; University Deputy Principal Professor Grant Jarvie and Director of Sports Development Mr Peter Bilsborough

Stirling runs an International Sports Scholarship Programme which has supported top level athletes including 2009 British Women’s Open Golf champion Catriona Matthew and current Davis Cup and Commonwealth Games Team Scotland tennis player Colin Fleming. Its campus is also home to the sportscotland Institute of Sport and national centres in swimming, tennis, taekwondo, triathlon and women’s football.

The visit was brokered by Scottish Development International working in partnership with the University to welcome the delegation, who also visited the Old Course at St Andrews and met with Shona Robison MSP, the Minister for Public Health and Sport in Edinburgh accompanied by Professor Grant Jarvie.

Commenting, Mark Newlands, International Manager, Education, Scottish Development International at Scottish Development International, said: “We welcome news of this new partnership between Scotland and Malaysia, because the opportunities arising from this extend beyond sport, towards broader collaboration between our two nations.

“In addition to working with our Malaysian equivalents to understand more about the benefits of sport including health, fitness and high-performing athletes, we are also keen to explore collaborative academic and research programmes and share knowledge and best practice in areas such as attracting major events and evaluating the economic development.”

For any further information on the visit, please contact:

Scottish Development International
Laura Suarez
SE/SDI press office
0141 228 2726

For any University sport media inquiries, please contact:

David Christie
Sports Communications Officer
01786 466653

Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence
The University of Stirling is designated as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence and is home to an unrivalled selection of world-class sports facilities, with national centres in a number of sports and one of the longest running International Sports Scholarship Programmes in the UK. We bring together a critical mass of knowledge, sports agencies, governing bodies and leading academic researchers on our scenic campus, all characterised by excellence.

Scottish Development International
Scottish Development International (SDI) works to attract inward investment and knowledge to Scotland to help the economy grow. It also helps Scottish companies to do more business overseas and promote Scotland as a good place to live, work and do business. It is jointly operated by Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government, and its work is guided by the Scottish Government’s strategy for economic development in Scotland. For further information visit


You may also be interested in