New exhibition features pioneering university research

New exhibition features pioneering university research

Pioneering research at Aberdeen’s two universities is featured in a new photographic exhibition of dramatically striking images which are set to ‘change our tomorrow’.

Where Tomorrow Begins: Reflections of Scottish Innovation showcases examples of innovation taking place in Scotland’s universities, which places them at the forefront of knowledge, research and technology to tackle the big issues of the 21st century.

The exhibition is on display at the city’s Satrosphere Science Centre until Sunday (November 22) as part of a national tour.

Where Tomorrow Begins was commissioned by the Scottish universities’ umbrella organisation Universities Scotland, as part of Scotland’s Year of Homecoming. It builds on Scotland’s history of pioneering discovery over centuries to illustrate how Scottish universities today continue to lead the world.

Award winning photographer Kirsty Anderson has captured the spirit of innovation taking place in Scotland’s universities in 40 beautiful photographs, displayed on a series of sixteen imposing cubes.

The University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University have each contributed two research projects to feature in the exhibition. The projects highlighted are described below:

  • Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have developed a unique treatment for Alzheimer’s disease which targets the tangles of tau protein in the brain cells of people with Alzheimer’s, and first described by Dr Alois Alzheimer in 1907. The product – remberTM – is the first ever drug to act on the tangles, appearing to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s Disease by 81 per cent over a year, and is tipped to be the most significant development in the treatment of tangles since they were discovered. The results of a clinical trial of the drug made headlines across the world in summer 2008.


  • Scotland has an abundance of the world’s most valuable liquid asset: clean water. Much of the rest of the planet is less fortunate and approximately three million people die annually as a result of water-related diseases.  Researchers at Robert Gordon University have developed an advanced photochemical technology that could help.  The process uses a material called a photocatalyst that, when illuminated with light, can completely destroy the pollutants in water.  The treatment is low-energy and non-toxic offering a safe and effective solution to the global water challenge.


  • In a breakthrough which also made headlines across the world, specialised unmanned camera platforms designed by Oceanlab at the University of Aberdeen were successfully dispatched to the depths of the Pacific Ocean.  In total darkness and withstanding pressures of 8,000 tonnes per square metre, the technology was able to offer the world a first glimpse of fish living deeper in the ocean than ever seen before.  Oceanlab has developed a global reputation for innovative marine research.


  • Industrialisation and the expanding human population have created a well-documented catalogue of environmental problems.  Robert Gordon University has developed a small portable pollution detection device featuring bright non-toxic tracers.  Each tracer emits light to detect the presence and movement of pollutants – even in tiny quantities – in a variety of sites including harbours, marine and freshwater environments and sewage treatment works.  The brightness of tracers means that an individual pollutant can be carefully monitored and its source of origin pinpointed, allowing scientists to prevent potentially dangerous future damage.