News at Stirling http://www.stir.ac.uk/news 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 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news http://www.stir.ac.uk/media/wwwstiracuk/styleassets/images/logo.png http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/member-of-swedish-government-visits-campus/ Students received a visit from a prominent alumnus when Sweden’s Deputy Finance Minister, Per Bolund, returned to the Stirling campus.

Mr Bolund was an Erasmus student at the University during the mid-1990s and returned to speak to current international students about political issues, including Brexit, which might affect them.

During his visit, the University's Director for Advancement, Kerry Bryson, presented him with a commemorative badge celebrating Stirling's 50th anniversary.

Per Bolund was first elected to the Swedish Riksdag in 2006, representing the Green Party. He is also the country’s Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs.

While in Scotland, he also attended the Scottish Green Party conference in Edinburgh, and the Scottish Government’s Inclusive Growth Conference in Glasgow.

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Senior Swedish Government official visits campus Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:02:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/member-of-swedish-government-visits-campus/name-165193-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/impact-of-amazonian-hydropower-significanty-underestimated/ The environmental impact of hydropower generation in the Amazon may be greater than predicted, according to new University of Stirling research.

The study suggests that estimates of biodiversity and carbon losses associated with tropical hydropower may be higher than estimated as they fail to consider the full impact of forest fragmentation.

Led by Dr Isabel Jones, of Biological and Environmental Sciences, the research studied lianas – long-stemmed woody vines, enshrined in popular culture as Tarzan’s favourite mode of transport – within the Balbina hydroelectric dam in Brazil.

Lianas can kill trees or prevent them from growing as they both compete for vital resources such as water and light. In some areas, lianas outnumber trees - causing the growth of low biomass liana-dominated forests. Such a transformation results in sources of food for animals to change or disappear completely, while the ability of the forest to uptake and store carbon – vital for maintaining the global carbon balance – is reduced.

Fragmentation

The liana to tree ratio is tipped in favour of the woody vines when tropical forests are disturbed – for example, by fragmentation where continuous forest is split into smaller pieces for agriculture or other land uses – because lianas are well-adapted for those environmental conditions.

Hydropower generation in Amazonia is another cause of fragmentation with large swathes of forests left flooded when dams are closed, transforming former hilltops into islands.

It is known that forest islands lose biomass due to reduced habitat area, however, the new study reveals for the first time that a dam-induced landscape can result in lianas dominating the tree population, as witnessed in other disturbed tropical forest systems.

Dr Jones said: “If lianas are being favoured in this dam-induced landscape, then the biodiversity and carbon losses associated with tropical hydropower could be greater than expected. This is due to the potential increased loss of tree biomass, due to liana-tree competition, as lianas have lower biomass relative to trees.

“Therefore, a shift towards liana-dominated forest on tropical reservoir islands may result in even more biodiversity and carbon losses for already controversial tropical dams.

“These issues identified in this study should be accounted for in the carbon cost and benefit decision-making process of whether to construct new dams in Amazonia.”

Significance

Dr Jones’ team conducted field surveys of lianas and trees, surveying a total of 89 forest plots across 36 islands of different sizes and in continuous forests surrounding the reservoir.

The scientists – including experts from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz in Brazil and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama - found that a greater number of lianas are starting to grow than trees in the most disturbed islands.

In addition, they discovered that liana communities remain compositionally intact regardless of whether they are in a forest or on a disturbed island. This robustness in a dam-induced habitat is particularly significant as trees rapidly degrade in such an environment, they said.

“At present, islands are not included in environmental impact assessments, which causes a significant underestimation of the negative impacts of tropical dams,” Dr Jones continued.

“Given that Brazil alone has plans for several new mega-dams, which will flood vast areas of highly diverse tropical forests, it is important that the total area of islands should be included in calculations considering the habitat impacted by dam creation.”

She added: “Our research highlights yet another way that tropical dams can result in long-term carbon emissions and damage to globally important ecosystems.”

The study, Woody lianas increase in dominance and maintain compositional integrity across an Amazonian dam-induced fragmented landscape, which was part funded through a research grant from the Carnegie Trust, has been published in PLOS ONE journal.

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Impact of Amazonian hydropower is “significantly underestimated”, study finds Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:14:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/impact-of-amazonian-hydropower-significanty-underestimated/name-165079-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/alumnus-ironman-champs/ A former University of Stirling student has made history at the 2017 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, this past week.

David McNamee powered his way through a field of the world’s top long-distance triathletes to claim a historic third place. It is the first time a British male athlete has been on the podium at Ironman World Championships since the event began in 1978. The previous best result by a British male was fifth in 1998, achieved by Spencer Smith.

The accountancy graduate covered the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile course in hot and humid conditions, in 8 hours 7 minutes and 11 seconds. David’s result is all the more remarkable given that only six men have ever completed the event in a quicker time during its 40-year history.

The weekend’s result is the latest and greatest in a growing list of achievements by the 29-year-old from Ayrshire. During his time studying at Stirling, David trained at the triathlonscotland Performance Centre on campus, and was supported by the University’s International Sports Scholarship Programme as well as the national Winning Students initiative.

He represented Scotland at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, finishing seventh, before making the decision to race long-distance. That decision increasingly looks to have been a very good one as he has won several events and is now counted among the world’s best long-distance triathletes.

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Stirling alumnus claims historic result at Ironman World Championships Wed, 18 Oct 2017 15:43:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/alumnus-ironman-champs/name-165054-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/students-to-take-on-the-stock-market-with-launch-of-new-investment-fund/ Students will get the opportunity to tackle the stock market with the launch of the University of Stirling’s first Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF).

Initially using ‘virtual’ money, Stirling students will identify, analyse and invest in stocks as they construct and monitor a portfolio. The SMIF is open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students, with academic staff from the University’s renowned accountancy and finance courses providing support and oversight.

Successful alumni will also visit throughout the year, delivering masterclasses and guidance to the students. The University’s own professional services staff will also be involved, sharing their experience and tips to enable the SMIF to be as successful as possible.

Dr Kevin Campbell, Director of the MSc Investment Analysis, said: “This is a new initiative for Stirling and one which we’re confident will provide real enjoyment and benefits to the students who get involved. While we expect it to be particularly popular with students on finance-based courses, we encourage participation from all interested students.”

The initiative is designed to give students practical experience of stock investing and provide insight into the roles of professional Equity Analysts and Fund Managers. It will enhance their understanding of the dynamics of various industries, the methods for valuing stocks, and will provide the opportunity to develop presentation skills.

The idea for the creation of the SMIF came from a discussion between academic staff and a member of the University’s global alumni family. The objective is to allow students, particularly those on investment analysis, finance, and accounting courses, to gain first-hand experience of portfolio investing and risk management.

Plans are already in place for the SMIF to invest real money in the future, receiving donations from alumni to invest and then distributing profits to charitable groups. More information about those plans will be announced in the near future.

All investments made by the SMIF will consider environmental, social and governance issues, in accordance with the United Nations’ Principles of Responsible Investment. It will also be run in line with Stirling Management School’s commitment to the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME), an initiative of the UN Global Compact.

The SMIF will be housed in a designated resource room and will operate as a Students’ Union Society. SMIF members will have access to Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters EIKON and S&P Capital IQ financial databases. The usual committee member roles will be supplemented by specific investment fund roles, such as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer.

It will hold regular weekly meetings, a stock pitching event at the end of each semester, an AGM, and will publish an annual report detailing the performance of its portfolio.

Dr Kevin Campbell added: “Members of the SMIF will learn to use professional financial databases, while also experiencing the excitement of real-world stock investing. There is already a strong line-up of expert guest speakers in place for its first year and we also intend to arrange visits to investment firms.

“The aim of the SMIF is to generate a positive return over time through the careful management of risk.”

Membership of the SMIF is open to all students and costs £10, or £5 for those who are a member of another club or Society. More information about it can be found on the Students’ Union website.

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Students to take on the stock market with launch of new investment fund Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:38:38 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/students-to-take-on-the-stock-market-with-launch-of-new-investment-fund/name-165022-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/student-scoops-top-industry-award-for-patient-data-work/ A University of Stirling student has won a prestigious industry award for her data analysis project with NHS National Services Scotland.

Anita George scooped the top accolade at the Data Scientist 2.0: Talent Driven Innovation conference, organised by Data Lab. The MSc Data Science for Business student at Stirling Management School was recognised for the quality of her work and personal development while on placement with NHS National Services Scotland (NHS NSS).

The team at NHS NSS were so impressed by Anita and her work that she has been offered a full-time job with the organisation. Anita’s project involved identifying ways to optimise patient pathways which would help improve the level of patient care and efficiency for the organisation.

The Data Lab judging panel based their decision on a number of criteria, including; the challenges each project had to overcome, the impact it would have on Scottish society, and the soft skills students developed and enhanced while taking part.

What makes Anita’s success more impressive is that she had no previous data analysis experience before undertaking her Masters degree at Stirling, after securing a scholarship from Data Lab. The Stirling local, originally from India, previously worked as an architect before taking a career break.

She said: “It has been a whirlwind year since starting my studies at the Stirling Management School and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. Winning the Data Lab award for my course project and being offered a full-time job has been fantastic.

“The employability and personal development workshops held as part of my course were instrumental in helping me build the transferable skills required to go into the workplace as a data analyst.

“Coming from a creative architecture background made the transition to data analysis quite a challenge, as it was a whole new way of thinking. However, the lecturers were very supportive and approachable, which helped me to adapt.

“The wide range of different cultures and nationalities on my course and across the campus also played a part in my own personal development and ability to work in a team. This was really helpful when I went on my placement, as it meant I was able to take initiative and begin contributing right from the start.”

The MSc Data Science for Business course offered at Stirling Management School was the first of its kind to be launched in Scotland. About to welcome its second intake of student, the course was developed in collaboration with a number of companies and organisations, including HSBC, The Data Lab and SAS.

It has been designed to teach students how to use data to drive value for organisations and retains strong connections with industry. More than a third of the course involves students working directly with companies and organisations on real-world projects.

Jonathan Cameron, Head of Service for Strategic Development Public Health and Intelligence at NHS NSS, said: “It is fantastic news and great to hear that Anita’s hard work on her Masters project has been recognised and rewarded. We are also delighted that Anita will be working with NHS NSS in her career and look forward to seeing her skills and knowledge from the Data Science for Business course being used in our organisation.”

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Student scoops top industry award for patient data work Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:15:02 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/student-scoops-top-industry-award-for-patient-data-work/name-164919-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/celebrate-the-sixties-at-special-uni-event/ Music, art, fashion and photography from 1967 – the year that the University of Stirling was established – will form the centrepiece of a new exhibition.

The University’s Art Collection is throwing its doors open for the special event, entitled The Happening, to celebrate the revolutionary spirit of the period by recreating the artistic and intellectual spirit that spawned flower power, the counter culture and civil rights.

A range of free, family-friendly activities will be on offer on the afternoon of Saturday, 11 November, with evening events including a screening of The Graduate and a disco.

Sarah Bromage, Deputy Curator at the University, said: “The Happening will celebrate what was going on in music, art and fashion in the year that the University first opened.

“We urge local people, staff and students to don their colourful bell bottoms, mini-skirts and paisley patterned shirts and join us for this special event.”

The afternoon celebrations, between 3pm and 6pm at the University’s Pathfoot Building, include a screening of the Jungle Book, a 1960s music pop quiz, vintage hairdressers and dressing-up boxes. Other activities include tours of the 1967 exhibition, art workshops and tie-dying classes.

A screening of The Graduate, one of the key films of 1967, will be held at 7pm before DJ Karlski provides a musical journey through the past 50 years – taking partygoers through dancefloor classics from Sixties psychedelic pop to modern day pop. A cash bar will also be available on the night.

The afternoon activities are free of charge, while tickets for the evening event are £19.67 and can be purchased from the University website. Tickets include admission to the film screening, disco, 1960s-themed food, a welcome drink and entry to the raffle.

For more information, email: art.collection@stir.ac.uk

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Celebrate the Sixties at special University event Thu, 12 Oct 2017 11:33:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/celebrate-the-sixties-at-special-uni-event/name-164867-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/golfers-make-history-in-the-us/ The University of Stirling’s female golf team has made history after triumphing in one of the highest-ranked college tournaments in the United States.

Stirling’s Chloe Goadby, Hazel MacGarvie, Gemma Batty, Emily Laws and Mirren Fraser secured top spot at the Yale Intercollegiate Invitational at New Haven, Connecticut, over the weekend. The team finished the competition 10 strokes ahead of second-placed Lamar University, from Texas.

The landmark win is believed to be the first time an international team has won a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division One tournament, the highest level of college competition.

In further success for Stirling, on-form Goadby, a third-year Psychology and Sports Studies student,  topped the individual rankings at -2, three strokes ahead of second-placed MacGarvie (+1).

It comes just days after Stirling’s men finished one shot behind the winners at the Macdonald Cup, also held at The Course at Yale. Stirling’s Robert Foley, from Switzerland, finished top of the individual leaderboard at -3, followed by his teammates Laird Shepherd and Jordan Sundborg in joint second, on par.

Dean Robertson, High Performance Golf Coach at Stirling, said: "Following the success of Stirling’s men in the Macdonald Cup last week, team cohesion and superb preparation has helped the women’s team to this tremendous achievement.

"Special mention goes to Chloe Goadby who was victorious in the individual tournament with a total score of two-under-par and who continues to grow in stature in the women's game. Freshman Hazel MacGarvie came a close joint second and is a massive talent waiting to be nurtured."

The competition came to a premature end when Sunday’s final round was rained-off. Stirling recorded a total score of 580, ahead of Lamar (590) in second, and Delaware and Harvard in third with 594.

Goadby recorded a first round of 71 and a second of 69, giving her a total score of 140. It left her three points ahead of teammate MacGarvie, a former Scottish under-18 champion, who had rounds of 68 and 75.

Cathy Gallagher, Director of Sport at Stirling, said: “The significance of these achievements cannot be understated. To win such a prestigious competition is a terrific feat and a testament to the dedication and hard work of all of those involved.

“Once again, the team have done themselves and the University proud and it is our job to continue enhancing their support services and deliver a world-class performance environment to help them develop.”

Last month, the University’s men and women’s golf teams retained their titles at the European University Sports Association (EUSA) Golf Championships in the Czech Republic.

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Stirling’s female golfers make history in the United States Tue, 10 Oct 2017 10:23:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/golfers-make-history-in-the-us/name-164796-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/university-monopolises-classic-board-game/ The sound of rolling dice, rustling banknotes and intense negotiations will reverberate around campus this weekend after the University secured a top spot on a world-famous board game.

Featuring in a new, special edition of Monopoly, the University will occupy the prestigious set of green properties, synonymous with London’s Bond Street, Regent Street and Oxford Street.

It joins other prominent Stirling landmarks and attractions, such as the Castle and Wallace Monument, in the new game, as well as the Robert the Bruce statue, Andy Murray’s golden postbox and Stirling Albion Football Club.

Welcoming the announcement, Astrid Smallenbroek, President of Stirling Students’ Union, said: “Monopoly is one of the world’s most iconic board games and it is great to see the University of Stirling feature in this new, special edition of the game.

“As one of Scotland’s most historic cities, I can think of no other better deserving of its own Monopoly game – and I am delighted that the University will be featured on the board on one of the prestigious green lots.

“I trust this new game is going to be popular with the people of Stirling and among the University’s staff and students alike.”

The new game, launched at Stirling Castle by Mr Monopoly, is unique as it features a second jail – Stirling Old Town Jail – and includes customised Chance and Community Chest cards.

Emma Lodwick, Custom Games Executive at manufacturers Winning Moves UK, said: “The board is a celebration of Stirling and we would like to thank everyone who has voted for the landmarks that appear and star on it.

“The game is themed in sets – ten sets in all, following a public vote. We’d like to thank everyone who voted in general and also for the Mayfair spot in particular which was the fiercest fought of any Monopoly game we have ever produced. Such is the abundance of crown jewels in Stirling.”

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University ‘monopolises’ classic board game Fri, 06 Oct 2017 09:25:08 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/university-monopolises-classic-board-game/name-164659-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/award-for-stirling-dementia-project/ A University of Stirling academic has scooped a top award for helping people with learning difficulties come to terms with dementia.

Dr Karen Watchman’s booklet, ‘Jenny’s Diary’, was crowned Self Management Resource of the Year during a special ceremony at the Scottish Parliament, organised to celebrate approaches that empower people to feel in control of their health and wellbeing.

Dr Watchman, a Senior Lecturer in Ageing, Frailty and Dementia, developed the booklet after her study found that some people with learning disabilities may struggle to understand dementia and the effects the condition has on them or loved-ones.

Funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, the booklet features everyday scenarios highlighting the impact of dementia and suggests strategies for support. It is especially important to people with learning difficulties, particularly Down’s syndrome, as they may be at higher risk of developing dementia at an early age.

Dr Watchman said: “It is an honour to win this particular award, as self management is a key focus of our work in the Enhancing Self Care research group within Health Sciences.

“Self management, or self care, is about taking care of ourselves, our families and our community and about providing support to minimise the impact of long-term conditions such as dementia. Access to appropriate information in an accessible format is crucial to be better prepared for changes and challenges that may arise. 

“Jenny's Diary, in collaboration with Hansel, aims to support conversations about dementia among people who have a learning disability.”

Dr Watchman also thanked the Alzheimer’s Society for their funding of the work.

The annual Scottish Self Management Awards are organised by the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland and this year’s event, on Wednesday, 4 October, was sponsored by MSP Jackie Baillie.

Innovative

Ian Welsh OBE, Chief Executive of the Alliance, said: “The stories of the people and projects crowned as ‘change-makers’ in this year’s Self Management Awards provide real food for thought about the innovative approaches that Scotland can take to support people to live well with long term conditions.

“What’s clear is that self management is not about going it alone, and these awards highlight the importance of partnership working across the third sector, health, social care and beyond to support people to access information and to develop the skills that enable them to live their lives on their terms."

Jenny’s Diary will also compete in the Diversity Through Education and Design for Diversity categories at the Herald Diversity Awards, which will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on Thursday, 12 October.

Stirling’s BSc Nursing Programme is also shortlisted for the Design for Diversity award.

Dr Watchman is currently leading a three-year research project implementing non-drug interventions with people who have a learning disability and dementia.

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Award for Stirling academic’s dementia project Fri, 06 Oct 2017 09:01:58 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/award-for-stirling-dementia-project/name-164654-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/stirling-students-graduate-in-singapore/ More than 60 University of Stirling students – and an Olympian – are celebrating today after graduating at the Singapore Institute of Management Global Education (SIM GE).

University of Stirling Chancellor, Dr James Naughtie, conferred degrees upon 61 graduates during a ceremony at the SIM GE campus, before Olympian Dr Benedict Tan received an honorary degree for his contribution to sport.

Five students received a Master of Business Administration (Retailing) and 33 gained a BA (Hons) Retail Marketing. In addition, the first cohort of Sports Studies and Marketing students graduated, with 23 receiving their degrees.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “Congratulations to all of our graduates on their achievements and I wish each of them every success in the future.

“Our partnership with the Singapore Institute of Management Global Education continues to go from strength to strength and is a key part of Stirling’s global outlook.

“Our students and staff come from across the globe – creating a rich and diverse learning environment; our researchers work with partners worldwide to solve global challenges and our graduates are making a difference around the world – in business, sport, industry, healthcare, education, sciences and the arts.

“Today’s graduates will add to that legacy of success."

Prospects

The degree programmes in Singapore are developed and delivered by the University of Stirling and students can spend their third semester on the Scottish campus. This year, the partnership has been extended with the launch of a BA (Hons) Sport Business Management and BA (Hons) Sustainable Events Management.

In addition to conferring degrees upon graduates, Dr Naughtie also presented Best Overall Student awards to Khoo Zhan-Hua, Nicholas (Retail Marketing) and Wong Shi Jie, Daniel (Sports Studies and Marketing). Yeoh Jia Yi Belinda received the Stirling Management School Best Dissertation Award.

Stirling students have excellent prospects, with more than 96 per cent of graduates in work or further study within six months of leaving the University, which has five stars for employability in the QS World University Rankings 2018.

Dr Lee Kwok Cheong, Chief Executive Officer of SIM GE, said: “A new breed of professionals who possess multi-disciplinary knowledge and skills are needed to tackle existing as well as upcoming challenges.

“Our graduates have laid for themselves a good foundation for a career in retail and sports management, having benefitted from the University of Stirling’s strong industry links and SIM Global Education’s brand of holistic education."

Honorary degree

Professor Jayne Donaldson, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, bestowed Dr Benedict Tan with an honorary degree in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sport in Singapore.

Dr Tan, who holds a medical degree and a Masters in Sports Medicine, is well respected in his field and his research focuses on sports medicine and science. He has authored several books, been published in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented at global conferences. He also served as a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2014 to 2015. 

A one-time competitive sailor, he represented Singapore at the 1996 Olympics and won gold for his country at the 1994 Asian Games. He is a three-time Singapore Sportsman of the Year and an inductee of the country’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Following his retirement from competitive sailing, Dr Tan took up running and he has competed in more than 20 marathons to date. He also sails and kite-surfs recreationally and enjoys scuba diving and skiing.

Today, he holds a wide range of senior roles across a number of institutions, including Chief of Sports Medicine at Changi General Hospital, Senior Consultant at the Changi Sports Medicine and Chairman of the World Sailing Medical Commission.

On behalf of Stirling, Scotland’s University of Sporting Excellence, Professor Donaldson said: “Dr Ben Tan has made an outstanding contribution to a hugely diverse range of sport activity in Singapore. As an Olympian and a senior and influential figure in the governance of Singaporean sport, his career encapsulates the best of all our sporting and management activity at the University of Stirling.”

Dr Tan said: "The University of Stirling is one of the UK's leading research universities in the fields of health and sport. These are exactly the fields that I have devoted my life to, and I am proud to be associated with such a fine institution."

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Students and Olympian graduate from University of Stirling in Singapore Thu, 05 Oct 2017 10:13:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/stirling-students-graduate-in-singapore/name-164568-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/the-wonderful-swimmers-of-oz/ Six University of Stirling swimmers amongst first Team Scotland athletes named for Gold Coast 2018 commonwealth Games.

There was an air of excitement at the University of Stirling this week as six of its swimmers were confirmed for the Team Scotland squad heading to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Reigning Commonwealth champion, Ross Murdoch, and double Olympic medallist and World Champion, Duncan Scott, head the Stirling contingent alongside European silver medallist and World finalist, Kathleen Dawson, and former World Junior Champion, Craig Benson.

The more experienced campaigners will be joined in Australia by Team Scotland’s most successful Youth Games athlete in history, Scott McLay, who has just joined the Stirling programme, as well as 2015 Youth Games silver medallist, Craig McLean. The team will also be supported by the University’s Head Performance Swim Coach, Steve Tigg, who will be part of the coaching staff.

As one of the younger members of the squad, McLean is readying himself for his first Commonwealth Games, which are also his first senior Championships, and is relishing the opportunity. He said: “To get the news was just pure excitement. To make the step up from Youth Games to senior Games this quickly wasn’t entirely expecting. It was a goal but to get it, is perfect.

“I’ve been to Australia once and it was absolutely amazing. To see other athletes from Team Scotland and the other countries prepare for the Games in different ways, along with the opening ceremony, will be my two highlights.”

 ith training schedules geared towards the event in April, the athletes will have the difficult task of balancing their studies with competing but McLean is confident the structures are in place to support them succeed in both areas.

“One of the best things about Stirling (University) is that they’re very accommodating and they help me with almost anything. I’ll catch up with my lifestyle advisor who, in communication with the University, will help me make a plan to help me carry on my degree during the upcoming period.”

While McLean make his Games debut in Australia, Dawson, who made her Commonwealth Games bow as a 16-year old at Glasgow 2014, is well aware of the Games experience and is thrilled to be part of Team Scotland once again. She said: “I’m just as proud as I was first time around and I can’t believe I’m going out to Australia to compete with Team Scotland…I’m so excited!

“I feel like I’m able to prepare myself better for this sort of stage. This is the second time I’ve experienced a team environment where you stay with other athletes, but I feel Glasgow prepared me for that side of things, so I’m looking to swim just as well as I would at a World or European Championships.

With Stirling attracting a number of world-class swimmers, Dawson has reaped the benefits of training with experienced international medallists, producing impressive displays at the British and World Championships, and believes they lead by example in and out of the pool.

“It’s good just to see how they go about their daily lives and how they prepare themselves for events like this and how they apply themselves to training and the gym on a day-to-day basis. You definitely take a lot from watching the people around you.”

Commenting on the athletes’ selection, David Bond, the University of Stirling’s Head of Performance Sport said: “The swimming programme at Stirling is renowned across the world and to have asomany athletes selected for Team Scotland is testament to the hard work of the athletes along with Steve and the coaching team.

“The day-to-day graft they put in is inspiring to their teammates, staff and fellow students and I know they are extremely excited about the opportunity to represent Team Scotland and the University of Stirling at the far side of the world.

“It’s going to be a phenomenal experience on the Gold Coast and we’re glad we’ve been able to play a part in helping the athletes get there.”

The 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, in Australia between 4 and 15 April 2018.

The full list of Team Scotland athletes selected so far can be found on the Team Scotland website.

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The wonderful swimmers of Oz Wed, 04 Oct 2017 10:42:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/the-wonderful-swimmers-of-oz/name-164469-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/stirling-academic-calls-for-action-on-scotlands-obesity-crisis/ A cancer prevention expert at the University of Stirling has called on the Scottish Government to take action to “break the grip” of the country’s obesity epidemic.

Professor Linda Bauld, of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, was reflecting on the Scottish Health Survey, which shows that, in 2016, 29 per cent of children were at risk of being overweight or obese. It also shows that 65 per cent of adults were overweight or obese last year.

The Professor of Health Policy, who is Cancer Research UK’s cancer prevention expert, said: “These stark figures reflect a Scotland where the sad reality is that plus-sized waistlines have become the norm.

“With around two thirds of Scotland’s adult population and a substantial number of children being far too heavy, urgent action is needed.

“The health impact of a heavy nation is significant. Obesity is linked to 13 different types of cancer and is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking.”

Prof Bauld added: “There’s no doubt that a bold strategy to help guide Scots onto the path of better health is needed.

“To break the grip of this obesity epidemic, regulations are needed to restrict multi-buy offers on unhealthy food and drink.

“Obesity is affecting every generation and so, as part of its forthcoming obesity strategy, the Scottish Government must help families make it easier to keep a healthy weight.”

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Stirling academic calls for action on Scotland’s obesity crisis Tue, 03 Oct 2017 14:50:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/stirling-academic-calls-for-action-on-scotlands-obesity-crisis/name-164429-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/footballersthroughtoscottishcupsecondround/ Early goal from O'Brien sees students defeat Wick Academy in first round replay

By Glen Barclay / Brig Newspaper

University of Stirling FC continued their trend of notching early in games this season, as David O’Brien’s finish after just 59 seconds proved the difference in a 1-0 win over Wick Academy at Falkirk Stadium on Saturday.

Following last week’s action-packed 2-2 stalemate in Wick, Stirling made just one change as they looked to progress into the second round of the Scottish Cup.

Knowing the winners would face a difficult yet enticing trip to League Two side Montrose, Stirling came racing out of the traps, taking the lead within a minute. Player-manager Chris Geddes gathered the ball just inside his own half before spreading a beautiful lofted pass out wide to Paul McCafferty, who in turn deftly played in veteran David O’Brien to allow the front man to poke past the onrushing Sean McCarthy.

The university side continued to press early on, forcing several corners which were well dealt with by the Wick defence. Danger man O’Brien continued to prove a handful for the visitors, with his individual run to the byline and resulting cross producing a great chance to double the home advantage, had anyone been there to meet the through ball.

In a relatively one-sided half where the Stirling defence produced a masterclass in how to frustrate the opponent, Wick tested goalkeeper Kevin Walker only once. The effort from Steven Anderson was well-struck; however, Walker was equal to it, palming behind for a corner.

The home advantage should have been doubled just before the break when Geddes did brilliantly to beat keeper McCarthy to a 50/50 on the edge of the box. The ball found its way to Eachainn ‘Eck’ Miller via goalscorer O’Brien, but his tame effort under pressure was forced out by the recovering goalkeeper.

The second half started much slower than the first, with both teams happy to pass the ball about the defences. This tactic almost played the hosts into trouble when centre back Alex Webb was caught out by McGregor, whose audacious lob, once in possession, had Stirling hearts in mouths as they watched it float onto the roof of Walkers net.

Alongside O’Brien, McCafferty was causing all kinds of problems for the unfortunate Wick full-backs, and was unlucky not to see his powerful strike from the outside the box nestle in the net. Instead, onlookers watched the ball rebounding off both post and goalkeeper before being scrambled to safety, when on another day it would have doubled their advantage.

Moments later the two linked up again, this time with O’Brien testing McCarthy from close range; the block was solid, with McCafferty failing to turn the rebound home.

As the half wore on, Wick went on the offensive, and were very unfortunate not to level the score at 71 minutes when McNabb found space on the edge of the box. Running onto a cutback, his driven effort deflected up and over the home goal and out for a corner, which also came to nothing.

With a history for scoring phenomenal Scottish Cup goals, Geddes latched onto a poor headed clearance 25 yards out with only one thing in mind. He composed himself before attempting a Cantona-esq chip, which floated inches wide of the top corner.

Geddes continued the hunt for a second and decisive goal, this time linking up with O’Brien on the 75th minute. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, though, Hardwick produced a superb last-ditch challenge to deny.

However, the game was to end in controversy when Anderson was sent flying in the box by a Stirling defender. The crowd roared, baying for the penalty. However, the referee bravely waved play on and the ball was cleared, thereby confirming the first teams place in the Scottish Cup second round.

After the match, the hosts were complimented by visiting manager Tom McKenna on their defensive prowess, saying they were, “Well-disciplined and very hard to break down…a testament to the effort of the coaching staff.”

However, he felt that a draw would have been a fair result, considering they were missing six key men.

Home manager Geddes understandably disagreed, with the majority of action falling in the Wick half.

With several stand-out performers today – namely captain Lewis Hunter who bossed the midfield, never losing a challenge and remaining disciplined throughout, and winger Paul McCafferty, who on another day may have ended the game with a brace – it is the goalscorer O’Brien who gets my man of the match.

He linked up brilliantly for the opening goal and continued to test Wick’s defence all game, in an experienced performance from the former Morton man.

It is the men in green that advance to the second round, then, with the tie against Montrose set for a fortnight’s time.

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Footballers through to Scottish Cup second round Mon, 02 Oct 2017 13:25:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/footballersthroughtoscottishcupsecondround/name-164420-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/new-study-into-celtic-fc-founder-brother-walfrid/ The impact of Celtic Football Club founder Brother Walfrid on social, cultural and religious identities in Scotland will form part of a new £25,000 study by the University of Stirling.

The research, expected to last four years, will investigate the life and works of Marist Brother, Andrew Kerins, better-known as Brother Walfrid, who founded Celtic in 1887 to alleviate poverty among Irish immigrants in the east end of Glasgow.

Postgraduate student Michael Connolly will undertake the work as part of his PhD under the supervision of Dr Joe Bradley, Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport. The work – backed by the Archbishop of Glasgow and Celtic FC - aims to increase knowledge regarding Brother Walfrid’s significance to the lives of thousands of Irish immigrants in late 19th Century Glasgow, while scrutinising his legacy for 21st Century Scotland.

Mr Connolly said he first understood the importance of Brother Walfrid when he wrote a dissertation on the origins of Celtic for his history degree at the University of Glasgow.

He said: “It was then I began to understand the importance of Brother Walfrid – not just to Celtic, but to the wider Irish immigrant population he sought to support by creating the football club in Glasgow. The works of academic authorities such as Dr Joe Bradley and Professor Sir Tom Devine helped fuel my interest in the themes of immigration, Irish identity, poverty, charity and community, which of course motivated Walfrid to found Celtic.

“I feel excited to be given the opportunity to return to study a subject I am so passionate about.”

Dr Bradley said: “This research aims to explore the impact of Brother Walfrid, one of the most significant Irish immigrants to Scotland, an outstanding individual in relation to education and charity in Glasgow, and a major contributor to the emergence of organised football in Scotland in the late 19th century.

“Despite his more obvious credentials and general knowledge around him, especially in relation to being a prime founder of Celtic FC, Walfrid’s story remains largely obscure.

“This PhD, by research, will closely examine and investigate the “real” Walfrid, and his meaning and legacy for the multi-generational Irish Catholic community in Scotland and beyond.

“It aims to substantiate the partial image we currently have of Walfrid and, indeed, of the circumstances that provided the conditions for the emergence of Celtic Football Club: a unique representation of the Irish diaspora in world sport.”

Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, welcomed the research and said: “This new study will be a major contribution to the Brother Walfrid story.

“It will surely shine an academic light on the person, faith and motivations of Brother Walfrid; on the underlying facts of his life and activity; and on the local and broader historical context. It will also reflect the local circumstances and the personal interactions of Brother Walfrid with the Glasgow of his time, the City Council, the Catholic Church, his own religious congregation, and the local community leaders.”

Hope

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: “Brother Walfrid is a hugely important figure and someone whose contribution to Celtic Football Club and to wider Scottish society is most deserving of this kind of academic study.

“He was a man who gave people hope at a time of desperation, and in adversity someone who brought people together by creating a club open to all – his dedication to helping others has left a phenomenal legacy.”

The PhD work is funded through a £25,000 grant from Glasgow-based arts group Nine Muses and forms part of a wider Brother Walfrid awareness-raising campaign launched by the company.

Emma O’Neil, owner of Nine Muses, said: “At Nine Muses, we know a lot about Brother Walfrid. More than most. We’ve made a good start: commissioned a painting and produced a one-hour documentary.

“But there are so many questions left unanswered. And they’ll remain unanswered unless there’s an in-depth study of this great man’s contribution to religious, social, economic and cultural life in late nineteenth century Glasgow and Scotland.”

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New study into Celtic FC founder Brother Walfrid Sun, 01 Oct 2017 10:30:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/10/new-study-into-celtic-fc-founder-brother-walfrid/name-164277-en.html
http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/09/scott-athlete-of-year/ University of Stirling swimmer, Duncan Scott, named Male Athlete of the Year at Team Scotland Awards

Following a year that included British records and gold and silver medals at this summer’s FINA World Championships, University of Stirling swimmer, Duncan Scott, earned yet another accolade last night (21 Sep), as he received the Male Athlete of the Year Award at the Team Scotland Awards.

The third-year Business and Sport Studies student came out on top of an illustrious shortlist as he pipped undefeated boxer, Josh Taylor, Olympic marathon runner, Callum Hawkins, and Britain’s greatest ever tennis player, Andy Murray, to the title which he adds to the Young Athlete Award he won in 2015.

Speaking of the recognition, Scott said: “It was just a massive surprise to be honest. The shortlist was full of world-renowned sportsmen and shows the depth of talent in Scottish sport is getting better and better each year. Firstly, to be nominated was fantastic, but to then have my name called out was something special.

“Swimming is an individual sport, but the team behind me is phenomenal so the award really goes to them. My relay teammates, the University of Stirling, Scottish Swimming and Winning Students - I really couldn’t be where I am without them.”

Despite his ongoing achievements, Scott isn’t giving himself too much time to bask in the success and is already plotting the route to his next major championships.

“Moving forward we have the big targets of the Gold Coast as well as the European Games in Glasgow but first I’ve got a three week altitude camp in Arizona which’ll be hard and then there is the European short course in December which I’m hoping to swim at if selected. After that the focus is just about getting ready for Gold Coast, getting the preparations sorted and then waiting for the team to be announced.”

Hosted at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, the Team Scotland Awards saw over 500 guests join the celebrations where the evening was hosted by award winning TV presenter Hazel Irvine and comedian Fred MacAulay, with funds raised for the Scottish Commonwealth Games Youth Trust.

A full list of winners from the event can be found on the Team Scotland website.

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Scott scoops Athlete of the Year award Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:37:00 +0000 http://www.stir.ac.uk/news/news-archive/../2017/09/scott-athlete-of-year/name-163957-en.html