Major Achievements

Queen's Anniversary Prize 2017

Recognition of world-class excellence and achievement

The Health Services Research Unit and Health Economics Research Unit pioneered combination of economic and clinical research to assess medical treatments leading to;

  • Robotic surgery for prostate cancer
  •  7% reduction in Antibiotic treatment in dental practice
  • Ban on smoking in public places
    • Reducing childhood asthma, pregnancy complications and heart problems.
    • Changed clinical practice, policy, legislation and academic studies ...and more
Major Influencers

Public Education Pioneer 1800s

Professor Patrick Copland

  • Introduced extra mural classes pre-dating Mechanics Institute and London Royal Institution lectures which he was credited as having influenced in 1800

Major Contributions to Health Policy, Reproductive Health, Perinatal and Maternal Mortality

Sir Dugald Baird Professor of Midwifery

  • Knighted 1959 major contributions to healthy policy, reproductive health, perinatal and maternal mortality…
Nobel Prizes

Nobel Prize Chemistry 1914-19

  • Professor Frederick Soddy - Radioactivity and Isotopes

Nobel Prize Medicine 1923

  • Professor J J R McLeod with Frederick Banting - Insulin as a treatment for Diabetes

Nobel Prize in Physics 1937

  • Sir George Paget Thomson and C J Davisson
  • For their independent experimental discovery of diffraction of electrons by crystals

Nobel Prize in Nutritional Health 1947

Sir John Boyd Orr

  • Knighted (1935) in recognition of pioneering work on diet and health
  • Findings of families during war years indicated not enough nutrition to maintain optimum growth of school children
  • Nobel Prize in recognition of achievements in food and nutrition discoveries  read more

Nobel Prize Chemistry 1952

Richard L Synge

  • Invention of partition chromatography


Research Entrepreneurs

Translation of Science to Industry

Professor Bill Harris (Genetics)

  • Co-founder one of the first antibody engineering companies Scotgen Ltd 1970s

Research Scholarships

Elphinstone Scholarship

History of the Scholarship 

Who was Bishop William Elphinstone?   

  • 1494-5 William Elphinstone founded University of Aberdeen with support from James IV of Scotland and Papal permission
  • He sought new learning and sponsored introduction of printing to Scotland at the University
  • He wanted those living far from established universities to receive an education
  • He gifted a chest to James IV and Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry V11 and he sought lasting peace between Scotland and England
  • He donated pre-Reformation Ecclesiastical textiles to the University
  • 1483 he became Bishop of Aberdeen established Kings College in the North of Scotland to train:
    • Doctors
    • Teachers
    • Clergy and Theology
    • Learning in arts
    • Canon and civil law
    • Kings College opened with 36 staff and students
    • 500 years later - Old Aberdeen and the university continue teaching and researching in these subject areas
    • Bishop William Elphinstone is buried in the Chapel 1541

Who has received an Elphinstone Scholarship? 

•    High achieving PhD students of any nationality to study for PhD over many of the historical disciplines still present today in the university

Find out about current PhD opportunities

World Firsts

1st Colour Photograph Developed 1861

James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)

  • Discovery Electromagnetism – the foundation for technologies of today including television and mobile phones
  • Measurement of colour from primary colours and identification of ‘colour blindness’    
  • Colour photography developed

1st Chair in Archaeology in Scotland 1903

Hector Beoce - First Principle ​

  • Recorded discovery of numerous pottery vessels throughout Aberdeenshire in ‘History and Chronicles of Scotland’
  • 1860 the first archaeological museum established on Old Aberdeen campus.-  early 1900s several discoveries on Shetland

1st Research and Development of Insulin

Professor J J R McLeod with Frederick Banting 

  • Insulin as a treatment for Diabetes

1st Research to Develop Partition Chromatography

Richard L M Synge

  • Invention of partition chromatography

1st Research to Develop World’s First MRI Scanner

Professor John Mallard

(Image - MRI Innovation today)

  • Invention of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Lead a team to build the first whole body scanner with a patient from Fraserburgh
  • The development of the world’s first Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging

1st Research to Develop Radioactivity and Isotopes

Professor Frederick Soddy