Principal's Update: Late March 2013

Principal's Update: Late March 2013

The latest Update for staff from the Principal, Professor Sir Ian Diamond.

Dear Colleagues


Court met on 26 March and had a very good meeting with discussions on health and safety, admissions, the preparations for the REF, fundraising, recruitment, the Scottish Government’s Post 16 Education Bill, and our financial position. As ever I am indebted to our Court members for the effort that they put into providing us with helpful advice and oversight of our activities.

Staff Successes

Over the past week I have been delighted to receive a number of letters advising me of a range of staff successes. Professor Marian Campbell, HSRU, and Professor Gordon Brown, Immunology, have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), and Professor Doerthe Tetzlaff, Geography, elected to the RSE’s Young Academy. In addition, Professor Lorna McKee, Business School, has been made an Academician by the Academy of Social Sciences. These awards are all much deserved recognition of the respective achievements of these colleagues and, of course, they are good news for the academic profile of the University. Congratulations to all four.

Congratulations are also due to all those who have won grants, among them Dr Alison Brown, Anthropology, who has been awarded a grant from The Leverhulme Trust to support an international network for Blackfoot collections in UK Museums. I was also pleased to receive confirmation from The MacRobert Trust of a grant to support the Library’s learning and outreach team.

Student Sport

It has been a busy period in the student sporting calendar. The annual Boat Race against RGU was as ever a fun occasion – despite RGU winning.  It was wonderful to see so many people from the wider community taking an interest in the race which is good for the profile of both universities as important parts of the life of the City. I look forward to our students avenging the Boat Race defeat by triumphing in the Granite City Challenge where the two universities sporting teams compete across a range of events.

While on the subject of student sport, a quick word of congratulations to the Aberdeen 1sts Rugby team who are top of the Scottish Universities League having defeated their nearest rivals Stirling 20-19 in what I understand was a thrilling contest in which our hooker played most of the game with a badly gashed forehead!

Meet the Students

Last week I took part in one of my regular question and answer sessions with students at the Butchart Centre. There were some testing questions put to myself and Stephen Logan but the discussion was, as ever, a very helpful one. I hope that the sessions are equally helpful to our student community and provide them with a useful opportunity to discuss ways in which we can enhance the student experience at Aberdeen.

New Scholarships for Postgraduates

As colleagues may have read, Halliburton have announced a new postgraduate scholarship scheme in partnership with the University. The scheme will support around 12 Masters students from Sub-Saharan Africa in engineering and the geosciences. It is a very generous package both in terms of the financial support available and the opportunities for placements and internships that Halliburton will also provide. These postgraduate scholarships are part of a growing partnership with Halliburton, one of the world’s leading Energy companies, who have already provided undergraduate scholarships, £200k worth of equipment for our 3D Visualisation Suite and donations of specialist software worth £7 million pounds.

May Festival

The University launched the programme for the May Festival (10-12 May) on 28 March 2013 and thanks are due to colleagues across the University who have committed time and effort to help create this new Festival for the North of Scotland. It promises to be an exciting and diverse weekend of events and one in which our own academics will feature prominently alongside the celebrities. It is a great opportunity to promote to a lay audience the excellent work that our academics do and I hope that colleagues will help to get the message about the new Festival out to the wider community.

Rowett Centenary

The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health celebrates its centenary in April and a series of events are taking place across 2013 to celebrate the success of the Institute. Over the past century the Rowett has been at the forefront of nutrition research and it played a key role in establishing the link between nutrition and health in the first half of the 20th century. Since then it has been recognised the world over as a centre of excellence in nutrition research, has been host to three Nobel Prize winners, and has made a number of significant landmark contributions to the advancement of UK policy and practice in nutritional health and to the prevention of illness from poor diet and nutrition.

As well as celebrating these achievements, the Centenary is also an opportunity to highlight the exciting future that the Institute has as part of the University and to look forward to the completion of the new Rowett Building at Foresterhill in 2014/15. To read more about the new building, the history and achievements of the Rowett Institute, and for details of the Centenary celebration events, go to:

 Ian Diamond

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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