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Managing impact of environmental change

A new course aimed at meeting industry’s demand for solutions to a growing number of costly environmental problems is to be launched by the Universities of St Andrews and Dundee.

Tailored with significant input from a range of companies – from multi-nationals to local authorities and quangos – the MSc in Managing Environmental Change will breed a new generation of problem-solvers for issues such as flooding, climate change and waste disposal, teaching them how to handle the impact of environmental changes on the Earth and society.

Part of the Promoting Partnership Initiative (PPI), the postgraduate course will combine the two institutions’ key areas of expertise. Coordinated by Dr Richard Bates of the School of Geography and Geosciences, St Andrews’ input will cover issues such as palaeoclimatology, climate change, environmental management and land use. Meanwhile, Dundee’s input, coordinated by Professor Alan Werritty of the Geography Department, will relate to flooding, environmental law, water quality and remote sensing.

In order to identify priority issues and desired employee skills, prospective employers were invited by the team to a brainstorming workshop. As a result, the course, starting in September 2003, addresses a number of growing concerns and has been welcomed by a number of companies with strong environmental interests.

Liz Rogers, HSE Director at Upstream BP said, “The course will provide graduates who have the range of skills needed to handle the ever more significant challenges we have to address in order to maintain the balance between the environment, economics and the needs of society.”

Meanwhile, Anton Edwards, Tidal Waters Unit Manager at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency said, “The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has over 900 staff working to control pollution and improve the environment. We are involved in all sorts of things, from implementing environmental legislation, to persuading people in Scotland to adopt better practices, to monitoring and analysing environmental quality. We need well qualified staff who can help us achieve these ambitious aims. This new course is a real step forward, contributing to the supply of the sort of communicative, problem- solving postgraduates we are looking for.”

Covering five key topics – Environmental Change, Environmental Law, Environmental Risk, Environmental Quality and Environmental Management and Policy – the course will examine issues in a European and global context, in light of new EU directives and local/national legislation.

Students will learn a combination of technical and business skills. From a business point of view, they will learn how to communicate with a range of audiences across numerous disciplines and develop key business and project management skills – all in the context of modern-day social and political contexts. On a more practical level, they will learn about risk assessment, processing and presenting data, and gain a thorough insight into state-of-the- art survey methods such as remote sensing and geophysical, geochemical and topographic survey.

The one-year course (or two years part-time) will include group and individual problem solving and research. Students will also benefit from industrial placements and real-life case studies presented by industry. It is hoped that companies will also encourage their own employees – ranging from engineers, insurance and government agency staff to accountants and lawyers – to embark on the course.

Dr Bates said, “Both industry and government are giving a clear message that the recruits of the future must be equipped with the tools to deal with the impacts of our changing climate. This course is designed to meet those needs through applied science in an industrial context.”

Meanwhile, Professor Werritty said, “Managing the impacts of climate change is a major challenge for the 21st century. By combining scientific understanding with appropriate technical, legal and business skills, this course uniquely addresses that challenge.”

Entrance qualifications are a first degree in Geography, Environmental Sciences, Geology, Geoscience, Earth Science or any other relevant scientific discipline. For further details/application form, please contact Richard Batchelor at St Andrews – telephone 01334 463923 or email rab@st-andrews.ac.uk – and/or Dr N Fyfe at Dundee – telephone 01382344425 or email n.r.fyfe@dundee.ac.uk.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

“Promoting Partnership: An Evolving Collaboration” is an ambitious venture fostering institutional change within higher education. The initiative aims to draw upon strengths and interests in both the University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews to:

 expand both teaching and research in important emerging areas;  experiment with innovation;  build significant relationships with the private sector;  significantly contribute to the social and economic well-being of Scotland.

Issued Tuesday 7 January 2003 For further information, please contact: Carol Pope, University of Dundee Press Office on telephone (01382) 345108 or Claire Grainger, University of St Andrews Press Office on telephone 01334 462530/07730 415 015.

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