News at Stirling The University of Stirling's Communications and Media team aims to work positively and closely with the media, providing a service that will help media professionals to cover news, personalities and events at the University in an informed manner. News at Stirling A world-leading heritage and conservation research centre is being created as part of an international agreement involving the University of Stirling, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, in Beijing, China.

The Forbidden City is a World Heritage Site and houses the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. This partnership will establish an international research centre for heritage and conservation at the University.

Global scale

The centre will allow researchers to investigate a range of issues facing built heritage and the impacts of climate and wider environmental changes on a global scale.

Professor Richard Oram, Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling, said:

“We’re delighted to formally commit to a long-term partnership with HES and the Forbidden City in China. This agreement is a ground-breaking advance in British and Chinese intercultural relations in the fields of cultural heritage and conservation and brings together international expertise in the impacts of climate and wider environmental change.

“Stirling are global leaders in the area of cultural heritage, and our expertise will help ensure this collaboration has a transformational impact in identifying and addressing world-wide challenges in heritage conservation.”

In September 2017, the centre will host an inaugural international conference on global challenges in cultural heritage, which will bring together academics, conservation practitioners and heritage professionals from around the world.

Global heritage conservation to be boosted by new partnership Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:51:00 +0000 A Cochrane Review published today finds standardised tobacco packaging may lead to a reduction in smoking prevalence and reduces the appeal of tobacco.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use kills more people worldwide than any other preventable cause of death. Global health experts believe the best way to reduce tobacco use is by stopping people starting to use tobacco, and encouraging and helping existing users to stop.


The introduction of standardised (or ‘plain’) packaging was recommended by the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) guidelines. This recommendation was based on evidence around tobacco promotion in general and studies which examined the impact of changes in packaging on knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviour. Standardised tobacco packaging places restrictions on the appearance of tobacco packs so that there is a uniform colour (and in some cases shape), with no logos or branding apart from health warnings and other government-mandated information; the brand name appears in a prescribed uniform font, colour, and size.

A number of countries have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, standardised tobacco packaging. Australia was the first country in the world to implement standardised packaging of tobacco products.  The laws, which took full effect there in December 2012, also required enlarged pictorial health warnings.

A team of Cochrane researchers from the UK and Canada have summarised results from studies that examine the impact of standardized packaging on tobacco attitudes and behaviour. They have today published their findings in the Cochrane Library.

They found 51 studies that looked at standardised packaging. The studies differed in the way they were done and also what they measured.  Only one country had implemented standardised packaging at the time of this review, so evidence that tobacco use prevalence may have decreased following standardized packaging comes from one large observational study. A reduction in smoking behaviour is supported by routinely collected data from the Australian government. There are data from a range of other studies to indicate that appeal is lower with standardized packaging and this may help to explain the observed decline in prevalence. Researchers did not find any evidence suggesting that standardized packaging may increase tobacco use. No studies directly measured whether standardised packs influence uptake, cessation or whether they prevent former smokers from taking up smoking again. 

The amount of evidence for standardised packaging has increased markedly since the publication of the WHO guidelines in 2008. However, given its recency, there are no data on long-term impact. The amount of evidence will continue to expand as more countries implement standardized packaging and as studies assessing the longer-term effects of the Australian policy become available.

Changing attitudes

Cochrane lead author, and Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, Professor Ann McNeill from King’s College London, said, “Evaluating the impact of standardised packaging on smoking behaviour is difficult to do; but the evidence available to us, whilst limited at this time, indicates that standardized packaging may reduce smoking prevalence. These findings are supported by evidence from a variety of other studies that have shown that standardised packaging reduces the promotional appeal of tobacco packs, in line with the regulatory objectives set. It would appear that the impact of standardized packaging may be affected by the detail of the regulations such as whether they ban descriptors, such as ‘smooth’ or ‘gold’, and control the shape of the tobacco pack.”

Co-author Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, from the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group, Oxford, UK, added: “Our evidence suggests that standardized packaging can change attitudes and beliefs about smoking, and the evidence we have so far suggests that standardized packaging may reduce smoking prevalence and increase quit attempts. We didn’t find any studies on whether changing tobacco packaging affects the number of young people starting to smoke, and we look forward to further research on this topic.”

Co-author Linda Bauld, professor of health policy and director of the Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling, said: “We’ve been working for several years to investigate the potential impact of standardised tobacco packaging as a public health measure. We believe putting cigarettes into packs without branding makes tobacco products, and smoking in general, less appealing.

“This latest evidence suggests that standardised packaging can change attitudes and beliefs about smoking, which may encourage some smokers to think differently about their smoking and, along with other policies we already have in place, like smoke free laws and access to free stop smoking services, could contribute to reducing the number of people who smoke.”

New evidence finds standardised cigarette packaging may reduce the number of people who smoke Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:27:00 +0000 A new report highlights how alcohol producers worked to circumvent legislation designed to protect children during the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament.

Researchers at the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, found over 100 alcohol marketing references per televised match programme in three countries – France, the UK and Ireland.


Foul play

Most marketing appeared in highly visible places, such as pitch-side advertising during the matches. This was the case, despite the fact that the tournament was held in France, where alcohol TV advertising and sports sponsorship is banned under the ‘Loi Évin’.

The report, Foul Play? Alcohol marketing during UEFA Euro 2016, will be launched at the European Healthy Stadia conference at Emirates Stadium on Thursday 27th April.

An analysis of broadcast footage found that alcohol marketing appeared, on average, once every other minute. The majority took the form of ‘alibi’ marketing, whereby indirect brand references are used to promote a product, rather than a conventional logo or brand name.

Carlsberg was the most featured brand, accounting for almost all references in each of the three countries, using their slogan ‘Probably the best in the world’ while avoiding the mentioning the product name. ‘Alibi’ marketing was a common practice of tobacco companies in sporting events when advertising restrictions were introduced.

Protecting children

Dr. Richard Purves, Principal Investigator, Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling said: “Beamed to audiences across the world, major sporting events such as the UEFA EURO tournament, present a prime opportunity for alcohol companies to market directly to a global audience. In order to continue to protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol marketing, laws such as those in France need to be upheld and respected by all parties involved and not seen as something to be negotiated.”

Katherine Brown, Director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies said: “There is strong evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing encourages children to drink earlier and in greater quantities. The findings of this report show that alcohol companies are following in the footsteps of their tobacco colleagues by bending the rules on marketing restrictions putting children’s health at risk.”

Eric Carlin, Director of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), said: “Sport should be an alcohol-free space. The presence of alcohol marketing during UEFA EURO 2016 highlights that organisers of sporting events need to hold out against tactics of big alcohol companies to flout legal regulations designed to protect children.”

Report highlights how alcohol industry bent the rules on advertising during UEFA Euro 2016 Thu, 27 Apr 2017 09:12:00 +0000 Experts from the University of Stirling presented evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Fair Work and Jobs Committee today, 25 April, as part of its inquiry into the impact of equal pay.

Professor David Bell and Dr Tanya Wilson from Stirling Management School gave the cross-party group valuable background on gender pay differences in Scotland, providing analysis on why a gender pay gap exists. The Committee is interested in whether closing the gender pay gap could boost the Scottish economy.


Stirling economist Professor David Bell, said: “We hope we’ve provided the parliamentary committee with a comprehensive understanding of the current disparity in wages in Scotland, and how this might be tackled in the most effective way.

“The gender pay gap can be measured in various ways and assessing the links between the gender pay gap and economic growth is difficult. For example, GDP growth is driven by different sectors, at different times and if a booming sector predominately employ males, economic growth will only increase the gender pay gap.”

The researchers analysed the pay gap approximation of 30% in 2016 and compared the pay of full-time and part-time workers separately. They found a lower gender pay gap of 18% for full-time workers and a pay gap in favour of women of 14% for part-time workers.

Professor Bell added: “Part-time workers have fewer skills than full-time workers because, on average, they have less work experience and are less qualified. As a consequence, full-time workers are typically paid more than part-timers, and because more men than women work full-time, the overall gender pay gap favours men.”

Gender imbalance

The report also explored how different occupations and sectors contribute to the gender pay gap and addressed differences in skills which influence wages.

Dr Tanya Wilson, Economics Research Fellow at the University of Stirling, said: “Although the education gap in attainment in Scotland has closed, difference in subject choice persist. Girls are less likely to study science-based subject, such as physics, computing and technology studies, and this has been consistent for the last 30 years.

“Many programs are now underway to address the gender imbalance in subject choice, from primary up to university level. If these initiatives work together they may prove vital in improving the subject imbalance, which has a major influence on someone’s earning potential in the future.”

The team advised that when men and women enter the world of work, the pay gap is marginal. However, it increases to 10% within a decade and then to 20% for full-time workers by the age of 40, with the largest increase occurring during traditional child-bearing ages.

Dr Wilson added: “We believe policy must be directed towards influencing and supporting women around they age they are thinking about having children, as well as those with higher levels of pay, to ensure there’s a significant further reduction in Scotland’s pay gap.”

The inquiry was launched in February by Convener of the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee, Gordon Lindhurst MSP.

Lindhurst said: “The Committee wants to consider the economic value of equal pay and understand the impact of the gender pay gap on the Scottish economy. Vital to this inquiry will be the direct experiences of people ‘on the ground’- the businesses and organisations that are working to close the gender pay gap, and individuals who struggle to access equal pay. Their expertise and experiences will guide and lead our work, telling us what measures are being taken – and what still needs to happen - to create a level playing field.”

Current research on gender pay gap shows the pay gap will not be eradicated until 2069 – or 99 years after the 1970 Equal Pay Act*, with women working full-time in Scotland still earning on average 6.2% less than men**.

Stirling experts tackle the gender pay gap Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:34:00 +0000 The rapid decline of ancient ice sheets could help scientists predict the impact of modern-day climate and sea-level change, according to research by the universities of Stirling in Scotland and Tromsø in Norway.

Ice sheets are massive land-based reservoirs of frozen water. For the first time, scientists have reconstructed in detail the evolution of the last ice sheet that covered Iceland around 20,000 years ago.

Worrying evidence

The recently published study shows the greatest changes took place at a time when temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere rose by around 3°C in just 500 years.

The maximum rate of ice loss in Iceland then was on the same scale seen in West Antarctica and Greenland today, providing worrying evidence of how climate change can dramatically alter the world’s ice sheets, leading to rapid sea level rise.

Dr Tom Bradwell, from Stirling’s Faculty of Natural Sciences, said: “About 22,000 years ago, the climate awoke from the last Ice Age, and entered a prolonged but gradual period of warming. This triggered the melting of the huge ice sheets that once covered North America and Eurasia.

“We used seafloor data to map the full extent of the last Icelandic ice sheet and fed this geological information into our ice sheet model. The new modelling experiments, driven by climate data from Greenland ice cores, replicate ice sheet behaviour over the last 35,000 years, showing when it melted the fastest and how it behaved.

“We found that, at certain times, the Icelandic ice sheet retreated at an exceptionally fast rate – more than double the present-day rate of ice loss from the much larger West Antarctic ice sheet – causing global sea level to rise significantly.”

These high-resolution model experiments, published in Earth-Science Reviews, provide an unprecedented view of how the Icelandic ice sheet rapidly reduced in size and volume between 21,000 and 18,000 years ago, mainly through icebergs breaking away from its marine margins. It then collapsed 14,000 years ago, this time abruptly in response to rapid climate warming.

Dramatic collapse

The Icelandic ice sheet reached a maximum size of 562,000 sq. km – an area about the size of France. During its dramatic collapse the ice sheet melted rapidly over much of its surface area, decreasing in size by almost two-thirds, in only 750 years.  This large volume of ice melting caused a 46 cm-rise in global sea levels – or more than 1mm rise every two years for over seven centuries – and is equivalent to the ice losses currently being experienced in Greenland.

When compared to the length of time it took the Icelandic ice sheet to grow to its full size – approximately 10,000 years – this rate of change is all the more remarkable.

These abrupt events, seen in former ice sheets and mirrored today, put present-day rates of ice sheet change in a new perspective. However, until recently, much of the data needed to reconstruct and model their shape, size and flow existed unseen below sea level.

Dr Henry Patton, from UiT The Arctic University of Norway, said: “Satellite data show that the present polar ice sheets can respond on alarmingly short timescales to climate and ocean changes. By using data from the geological record to constrain model reconstructions of rapid ice sheet change thousands of years ago, we can better predict how contemporary ice sheets will probably react in the future and the serious impact they have on sea level rise.”

Prof Alun Hubbard, who works at UiT Norway and Aberystwyth University, said: “Just like the Icelandic ice sheet, some 20,000 year ago, the retreat of the Greenland ice sheet is now contributing up to approximately 1.2 mm per year to global sea-level rise. That doesn't sound much but given the time-scales involved, and that Greenland's ice loss has increased from nothing 20 years ago to over roughly 350 cubic kilometres per year now, makes it a significant cause for concern – particularly for those low lying, coastal regions where much of the planet's population lives."

The research, supported by the Research Council of Norway, is part of an ongoing collaboration between the scientists in the Universities of Tromsø, Aberystwyth and Stirling to understand ice sheet evolution, past and present.

Climate change clues revealed by ice sheet collapse Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:59:00 +0000 Looking at dancers' brain activity as they perform is at the centre of a new body of science and arts activity between the University of Stirling and Macrobert Arts Centre.

Stirling PhD researcher Simon Ladouce records the electrical brain activity of dancers as they perform a choreographed routine. The project is the first time the researchers have recorded electrophysiological brain signals in someone who is dancing – bringing art and science together in a novel way.

Real-life environment

Simon Ladouce, from the University’s Centre for Mobile Cognition, said: “This unique link-up with Macrobert represents a great opportunity to put our methods developed here at Stirling to the challenge, capturing brain activity during highly dynamic behaviours in a real-life environment.”

In the research test, the dancers wear caps, filled with electrodes, on their heads. This tells the experts when and where electrical activity is changing on the surface of the brain.

Simon added: “We want find out more about the brain’s dynamics when dancing. Although some dancers make it seem effortless, dancing actually requires the brain to plan a series of complex actions and quickly adapt these based on what their partner, or the tempo of the music, is doing.

“We are particularly interested in the difference between dancing alone and with a partner: how do brain processes differ when dancing in synchrony with someone else? By recording brainwaves in the social setting of dance, we can gain a better understanding about how we perceive, think and act in everyday life situations.”

Inspiring practice

Julie Ellen, Artistic Director at Macrobert Arts Centre, said: “It is a pleasure to see performers and researchers inspiring and informing each other’s practise in ways that develop what they do. The growth in understanding that is then shared goes toward increasing public knowledge. Working in this way really adds to the value of Macrobert Arts Centre and the University of Stirling as cultural assets for the communities we serve.”

Direct research into mobile cognition began at Stirling three years ago and the field is still in its infancy. Simon’s work will be displayed on opening night, alongside other cutting-edge neuroscience research which has informed the show’s production.

Fellow PhD researcher Thomas Di Virgilio will demonstrate how scientists see the brain communicating with muscle elsewhere in the body, showing part of the science behind the traumatic brain damage suffered by the show’s central character.

Masters student Derval McCormack will also illustrate the show’s emotional narrative by demonstrating a brain stimulation technique which moderates the brain’s ability to detect positive or negative emotions.

Dancers' brainwaves under the spotlight in art and science link-up Tue, 18 Apr 2017 12:25:00 +0000 A leading University of Stirling academic has been announced as a member of a UK-wide research panel.

Professor Judith Phillips, Deputy Principal (Research) at Stirling, has been appointed as a member of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) Interdisciplinary Research Advisory Panel (IDAP).

The four UK funding bodies – Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE) – established the panel as part of the preparations for the next REF.

Professor Phillips, one of the UK’s leading gerontology experts, said: “I am delighted to be appointed to this important role. Stirling is a research-intensive university and interdisciplinary in its approach. I look forward to working alongside IDAP colleagues to help positively shape the UK’s REF preparations.”

The IDAP has been set up to advise the REF team, panel chairs and UK funding bodies on the approach to support the submission and assessment of interdisciplinary research in the REF.

Dr Kim Hackett, REF manager, said: “We look forward to working with the group to support the submission and ensure fair and equitable assessment of interdisciplinary research during the next REF.”

The IDAP includes members from across the UK. They were appointed following a nominations process, and include experienced researchers with extensive interdisciplinary and research assessment experience.

Leading Stirling academic joins UK research panel Thu, 13 Apr 2017 14:02:41 +0000 Swimmers from the University of Stirling are beginning to grind up the gears as they set their sights on the British Swimming Championships next week.

Twenty-one Stirling athletes will travel to Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield for the highlight of the national events calendar – and high performance coach Steven Tigg insists the squad is as hungry as ever for success.

Steven said: “Last season brought the squad, as a whole, lots of success.

“But last season is gone. For us, it’s now about ensuring we don’t get complacent as a programme and show that we’re still hungry to progress and achieve success.

“Some athletes will be looking to maintain the levels they achieved last year, while others are looked to build a stronger foundation for the future.”

Squad selections

The championships double as the selection event for this summer’s World Championships in Budapest and the World University Summer Games in Chinese Taipei. They also mark the initial qualification phase for the Scottish Commonwealth Games team for 2018.

Scottish athletes have until October to qualify for Team Scotland, while swimmers from England and Northern Ireland have a December deadline.

Among those travelling to the trials from Stirling, Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, is double Olympic-medallist Duncan Scott.

Duncan said: “I just want to keep things going the way they are. I feel more relaxed this year and I have the Commonwealth Games in my sights. I didn’t qualify for an individual swim at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, so my aim is to qualify as early as possible.

“I want to put in a strong performance at the British Championships. I’m trying different events, including the 100m and 200m fly, which I don’t usually do, so the event is a chance to focus on these.”

The full-time Sports Studies student, who turns 20 next month, is balancing a packed schedule.

Duncan added: “Taking on five events next week will give me a heavy schedule but this will help me challenge at a world level in the future.

“I want to qualify for bigger events with British Swimming and be ready to cope with a tough schedule of back-to-back swims. I also have essays and an exam at university, so it’s a busy time at the moment.”

Prestigious programme

Kathleen Dawson, 19, will also join Duncan at the championships, taking on all of the backstroke events.

The first-year Sports Studies student, originally from Warrington, believes she has made major progress since joining head performance coach Ben Higson’s programme.

Kathleen said: “I learnt a lot from the Olympic trials this time last year. I swam the time I needed for qualification – but it was three weeks too late. There was too much pressure and I now know how to take that away and just enjoy myself.

“Ben has given me so much confidence – he completely believes in me and it’s helped me to believe in myself. I came to Stirling to join a prestigious programme with the aim of improving my swimming. I know exactly what I’m doing in each swim now and have been working with Ben to develop a solid race plan.

“I’m really looking forward to the 50m and 100m. I feel I have the best chance in these events and I want to be at the Worlds and Commonwealth Games, but there’s no pressure - I’m enjoying myself and having fun.”

Ross Murdoch, who has become a full-time athlete at Stirling, allowing him to concentrate solely on his sport, will also be in attendance.

Ross said: “I’m training well at the moment and looking forward to heading down to Sheffield. For me, the aim is qualification for the World Championships.

“I swam at the last two events – in 2013 and 2015 – so I would like to see myself make the team for the third year in a row. I’m also enjoying swimming full-time and being able to concentrate on one thing and give it my all.”

Ross will compete in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events, having won gold in the latter at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and hopes to cook up a storm in Sheffield.

He said: “The Commonwealth Games are on my mind and I’m starting to look towards this. I’ve learnt a lot about the psychology of sport and the importance of nutrition since then and have been working with the sportscotland institute of sport and Quality Meat Scotland to get a better grasp of nutrition. I’m really enjoying doing lots of cooking and seeing how this can help me in the pool.”

The British Swimming Championships take place between Tuesday 18 and Sunday 23 April. You can watch all of the action live on British Swimming’s You Tube channel.

Stirling swimmers ‘still hungry’ as they enter British Championships Thu, 13 Apr 2017 11:35:00 +0000 University of Stirling golfers have won a total of four titles at the 95th Scottish Student Golf Championships, dominating the event at the Old Course at Moray Golf Club in Lossiemouth.

The men’s first team won the team matchplay competition, beating the University’s second team 7-5 to retain the Charles McNeill Trophy for the 7th time in a row.

Impressive performances

Stirling scholar Sinead Sexton also won took the women’s matchplay title, triumphing over teammate Gemma Batty in an all-Stirling final.

Earlier in the week, Gemma secured a hat-trick of student titles, coming out as Strokeplay champion for the third successive year and winning the Smith-Murray trophy. She is the first person to win this many titles in a row this since 1973.

Stirling ace Laird Shepherd also surged to victory in the men’s Championship event, taking the Jack Allan trophy.

Laird finished with an impressive four round total of 8 under, while teammate Chris Maclean took third place with a score of one over.

Laird said: “I am thrilled to get my name on the trophy alongside some great players, including recent champions Craig Howie and Mathias Eggenberger. It feels really special to have done it. Coming to Moray is always a big deal for all the student golfers and it is a privilege to have come out on top this week.”

Students excel

Dean Robertson, high performance golf coach at the University, said: “Over the past week our international golf scholars have excelled on the amateur and student circuits, picking up a string of titles and building the foundations for a successful season.”

Elsewhere, Stirling golfer Chloe Goady finish in ninth position in the European Nations Cup in Spain and Winning Students athlete Alasdair McDougall finished runner-up at the Scottish Men’s Champion of Champions competition in Fife. The event is a curtain raiser for the amateur golf season.

Sinead went on to finish runner-up in the R&A’s Foundation Scholars Tournament in St Andrews, with student Jordan Sundborg achieving the same result in the men’s competition.

Next week, the University’s international golf scholars will travel to Kent to compete in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Golf Tour Finals. 

String of student titles for golfers Thu, 06 Apr 2017 09:35:00 +0000 The University of Stirling has been named in a global list of top universities under the age of 50 by Times Higher Education (THE).

Reaching 46th place in the world and 2nd in the UK in THE Young University Rankings, Stirling has climbed eight places to break into the top 50 in this year’s prestigious list which includes 200 international institutions.

Global reputation

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, Professor Gerry McCormac, said: “Building on the University’s global reputation is one of our key strategic goals as we look to the future and we welcome the improvement in this year’s Times Higher Young University Rankings.

“As we celebrate 50 years of innovation and excellence at Stirling, this accolade reinforces the quality of our research and the impact it has on society, our excellence in teaching, the skills and competencies of our graduates, and our hard-earned global reputation. Our positioning is also testament to the commitment and hard work of our staff and I would like to thank them for their efforts.”

The world’s young universities were measured on their teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income.

Stirling also topped the International Student Barometer survey earlier this year for welcoming overseas students, achieving the third highest overall student satisfaction rate among Scottish institutions.

View the full Times Higher Education rankings table.

Stirling named in global list of best young universities Wed, 05 Apr 2017 15:00:00 +0000 Professor Alison Bowes and Professor Kirstein Rummery have both been conferred with the Award of Fellow by the Academy of Social Sciences.

Fellows are drawn from across the spectrum of academia, practitioners, and policymakers and have been recognised after a thorough process of peer review for the excellence and impact of their work in the social sciences.

This includes thought leadership based on innovative research, the application of evidence for policy, the adoption of social science insights in practice and sustained advocacy that has improved the public understanding of issues where social science can make a contribution in higher education, government, and everyday life.

Great honour

Professor Alison Bowes is Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Professor in Sociology.

Professor Bowes, said: “I am honoured to have my work recognised by this Fellowship. I continue my involvement in research on ageing that aims to improve experiences of living longer, to ensure that older people’s contribution to our society is valued and that the benefits of longevity for our society are fully realised.”

Kirstein Rummery is Professor of Social Policy at the University of Stirling, the co-director of the Centre on Gender and Feminist Studies and a senior fellow of the Centre on Constitutional Change.

Professor Rummery, said: “It's a great honour to have my work and the impact it has had honoured by my discipline in this way, and thank you to all my colleagues, students, family and friends who have supported and taught me over the years.”

The full list of new Fellows can be found here.

Success in top social science Fellowship Mon, 03 Apr 2017 11:54:00 +0000 The University of Stirling’s high performance men’s football coach, Shelley Kerr, will step down from her role at the end of the season after being appointed the new Scotland Women's National Coach.

The first ever female head coach in senior British football, Kerr will leave the University after three years in charge, during which time she helped the men’s 1st XI reach a British Universities Championship Final, as well as achieve consistent top five finishes in the Scottish Lowland Football League.

Along with team accolades, numerous Stirling players have gone on to gain international student honours under the stewardship of Kerr, who herself played 59 times for her country over a 20 year career.

Lasting legacy

While on-pitch results were always a priority, Kerr will also leave a lasting off-field legacy at Stirling having established an under 20s programme which has created a wider, higher quality player base to support the senior squad and further the development opportunities for young student footballers coming into the University.

As well as nurturing some of the UK’s leading footballing students, Kerr also embraced the academic life, completing a part-time MSc in Sports Management which culminated in a dissertation examining the process of appointing a professional football manager. This level of commitment and crossover of qualifications ultimately allowed her to impress the SFA selection panel and secure the highly sought-after national position.

Speaking of her time at the University, Shelley said: “Whilst I’m looking forward to my new role with the SFA, I’m extremely grateful to the University of Stirling for the opportunity to work in a fantastic setting with a group of hard-working, dedicated and talented footballers. I have taken great pride and enjoyment from the last 3 years, having watched the players grow, develop and mature into well-rounded individuals which, for me, is just as pleasing as winning any cup or trophy.

“The University has been instrumental in my development, both professionally and personally, and I’m particularly thankful for the support which allowed me to combine my coaching commitments with studying and graduate with an MSc in Sport Management.  I have no doubt the academic education I received will be of great benefit in my new role as well as in the future and beyond.

“It’s been a really refreshing environment to work in and being surrounded by other high performance sports has given me an insight into the preparation of different athletes who are right at the top of European and international competition.

“Working with the variety of colleagues, high performance coaches and players has also made my time at Scotland’s University of Sporting Excellence one of my most enjoyable professional experiences and special thanks must go to Performance Manager, Raleigh Gowrie. Not only did he put his trust in me to progress the scholarship football programme, he gave me an invaluable opportunity to grow and excel as a person. His willingness to support, guide, mentor and challenge me has given me an excellent platform to thrive in any environment as I move forward in my career.”

Excellent ambassador

Cathy Gallagher, Director of Sport at the University of Stirling added: “During Shelley’s tenure, the University of Stirling has established its position at the top of British university football and the Scottish non-league game.

“Football is a core sport in our leading International Sports Scholarship Programme, which enables student athletes to combine their academic and sporting ambitions, and Shelley will leave it in a strong position for her successor to take forward.

“While we are obviously disappointed to be losing Shelley, we are immensely proud of what she has achieved at the University and wish her all the best in her new role.”

Performance Manager, Raleigh Gowrie, added: “Shelley has been an excellent ambassador for the University throughout her time with us and her creative thinking and commitment have been tremendous assets to both the football and wider sports scholarship programmes.

“The national role is just reward for all her hard work over the years, both on the football pitch and in the library, and her appointment demonstrates the high regard in which she is held as a coach and person within Scottish football.

“Despite Shelley’s departure, we remain committed to offering football scholarships at the University and providing high standard training and competition. We will commence our search for a successor in due course but will take this time to review our overall strategy and ensure any appointment is made in line with our long-term ambitions.”

Stirling farewell for Kerr as coach takes Scotland hot seat Mon, 03 Apr 2017 10:01:00 +0000 As you will be aware, the Prime Minister has triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty today, Wednesday 29 March 2017. This will signify the formal start of the two-year negotiation for the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The vote to leave the European Union has understandably resulted in many questions from University staff and students about the possible ramifications for the higher education sector. Many of the questions about the implications of Brexit for higher education are difficult to answer, as they will depend on the outcome of the negotiations and what kind of relationship the UK agrees with the EU.

I recognise that this is a concerning time for EU national colleagues and families but would emphasise that the UK will remain in the EU for the next two years and there will be no immediate change for universities, staff or students.


On Friday 24 March, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney delivered reassuring news, guaranteeing that EU students enrolling for 2018/19 will receive free tuition for the duration of their degree. This means that eligible EU students will continue to have access to free tuition, including tuition fee support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

We welcome this clarification from the Scottish Government and would emphasise that Stirling is an international university that welcomes and values staff and students from across the EU and internationally, and will continue to do so. The richness of experience and mutual understanding of cultural differences provided by young people from across Europe, who live and learn together, is immeasurable. The strength of Stirling is its people and the contribution of staff from all over the world is crucial to our continued success and global outlook.

The University is here to support staff and students and has arranged for an immigration law specialist to visit campus, to deliver briefing sessions for our EU staff, on the implications of Brexit.

During the coming months, I will continue to work with the Scottish and UK governments to ensure that Stirling’s voice is heard in discussions and negotiations, in order to secure the best access and opportunities for our students and staff, and our research activities.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Article 50 triggered - Message from the Principal Wed, 29 Mar 2017 12:30:00 +0000 The University of Stirling has reinforced its commitment to promoting healthy and active lifestyles after launching its inaugural Campus 5K which will take place on Tuesday 4 April.

The first ever University of Stirling Campus 5K is open to runners of all abilities, over the age of 12, from those tackling their first organised run to more experienced athletes looking for a competitive challenge in a unique setting. Participants can run, jog or walk the course to suit their own personal fitness levels.

Following a successful Festive 3K in December, the Campus 5K is the latest addition to the University’s growing programme of inclusive health and wellbeing events which are open to students, staff and members of the local community. The University is using its diverse programme to demonstrate the benefits of physical activity and hopes it will result in more people enjoying active lifestyles.

The new 5K has been developed and organised by students from the University’s MSc Sports Management course, in partnership with the Sports Development Service and the University Athletics Club, who are hoping to see a big turn-out of student, staff and community runners.

Speaking at the launch, Niamh Kennedy, one of the race organisers, said: "We're extremely excited for the University of Stirling Inaugural Campus 5K and look forward to welcoming runners of all abilities, from across the area, to the University to take part and enjoy the scenery of our beautiful campus."

Cathy Gallagher, Director of Sport at the University of Stirling added: “At Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, we take great pride in delivering sport and physical activity for everyone, from toddlers learning to swim to athletes competing at the Olympics. The Campus 5K is a great opportunity for us to bring staff, students and the local community together in a fun environment and promote the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle.

“It’s particularly fitting for the first ever Campus 5K to take place in the University’s 50th Anniversary year and we’re confident it will become a highlight of the event calendar for many years to come."

The University of Stirling Campus 5K will start at 6.30pm on Tuesday 4 April with registration open from 5pm at the Gannochy Sports Centre (FK9 4LA).

There is a £2 entry fee and places can be booked online via A limited number of places will also be available on the night. 

For specific enquiries email or call 01786 466900.

University champions active lifestyles with launch of inaugural Campus 5K Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:34:00 +0000 Two University of Stirling student golf scholars secured victories at the 11th Dundonald Tournament, taking the two individual awards home.

Chloe Goadby and James Wilson both finished ahead of the field at the annual competition in Ayrshire, which is part of the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) programme.

Clean sweep

Chloe finished with a 10-over-par, six shots ahead of second-place teammate Gemma Batty, while Stirling star Jen Sexton’s closing round of 81 gave her third-place and secured a clean sweep on the women’s podium for Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.

In the men’s competition, Stirling duo James Wilson and Chris Maclean battled it out in a playoff to decide first and second place.

A missed putt from Chris helped James to triumph at the close of the three-day event, while overnight leader and fellow Stirling golfer Colin Edgar finished in fourth.

Challenging conditions

Dean Robertson, High Performance Golf Coach at the University, said: "I was delighted to see fourth-year student athlete James Wilson win his first BUCS student tour event at Dundonald Links in what were extremely challenging conditions. This is just reward for the hard work and commitment he has shown day-in day-out over the past four years.

"Chloe Goadby continues to impress and with her improving skills and mind set, she was able to show the rest of her competitors a clean pair of heels as she completed her final nine holes in three under par. As so many got blown away in the cold blustery conditions she was able to display a craft in her game that is now becoming more and more prevalent.”

Stirling women took the title in the team competitions, with the men coming second behind the University of St. Andrews.

View the full women’s leader board and full men’s leader board.

Double victory at Dundonald for Stirling golfers Wed, 22 Mar 2017 14:24:00 +0000