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Fife Central MP to visit university

Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Henry McLeish MP MSP will visit the University of St Andrews next week (Monday 22 May 2000).

The Labour Member for Fife Central will tour the Photonics Innovation Centre which, based within the School of Physics and Astronomy, helps transform research breakthroughs into commercial projects.

Among the numerous technology-transfer projects taking place are the development of a low-cost laser which will be used in conjunction with a revolutionary new fibre-optic light-rope with potential applications in guide-path lighting, displays and entertainment and a tunable infra-red laser-based device with defence applications.

Mr McLeish will also hear a presentation on the new UPDATES programme. Funded by a £10.5 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the programme (Ultrafast Photonics for Datacomms Above Terabit Speeds) will have important implications for the future of telecommunications and, specifically, internet traffic.

Mr McLeish is responsible for the Economy, Business and Industry including Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, tourism, trade and inward investment, further and higher education, the science base, lifelong learning, training and the delivery of the New Deal.

He was elected MP for Fife Central in 1987, 1992 and 1997. He has been Shadow Scottish Front Bench Spokesman for Education, Employment and Training. He also acted as Shadow Scottish Minister of State and Shadow Minister for Transport, Health and Social Security during his time at Westminster.

In 1997, he was appointed Minister of State and Scottish Office Minister for Devolution, Home Affairs and Local Government. Mr McLeish was elected to Kirkcaldy District Council in 1973 and elected to Fife Regional Council in 1978, 1982 and 1986. He previously worked as a Research Officer for the Social Work Department of Edinburgh Corporation.

Born in Methil, Fife in 1948, Mr McLeish attended Buckhaven High School before gaining BSC (Hons) in Urban Planning at Heriot-Watt University. A member of UNISON, Mr McLeish is married with four children – one son, one daughter, one stepson and one stepdaughter.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS – You are invited to send a reporter/photographer to the Photonics Innovation Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, North Haugh, St Andrews at 2.15pm on Monday 22 May 2000 when Henry McLeish will be given a tour of the labs. Mr McLeish will leave at approximately 2.45pm. Please contact Claire Grainger on arrival.

For more information please contact Claire Grainger on (01334) 462530 or (07887) 650072 Ref: Henry McLeish/standrews/chg/17may2000

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