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Official launch of partnership venture with Dundee

Academics and funding bosses will hear how the collaborative venture between the University of St Andrews and the University of Dundee is gaining momentum when they meet tomorrow (Tuesday 28th November) to discuss the project.

Gathering for the first time, the governing bodies of both universities will see examples of practical progress and discuss the opportunities for further joint work. The whole process of change will be energised as the key people begin to network effectively at every level.

The partnership has already resulted in a joint degree course in electronics and opto- electronics, fusing real excellence in both universities to create a unique and highly marketable qualification in this rapidly expanding field. Opportunities for spin-out companies based on collaborative research in this area are also being considered.

Meanwhile the recruitment of undergraduate and postgraduate students will be enhanced by the development of new programmes in medical education and health sciences and by marrying theory with practice in Art History – for which St Andrews has an international reputation, and Art and Design – an area of excellence in Dundee.

Discussions will now take place in both universities to develop an “inventory” which will identify further areas of collaboration including new courses, partnered bids for research and more effective ways of providing central services.

Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council David Wann said: “One of SHEFC’s key objectives is to help the strategic development of the higher education sector so we are delighted to contribute funding to a strategic alliance which is focused on concrete benefits to the institutions, students and more widely, Scotland’s future needs.”

Meanwhile, Master of the United College and Acting Principal of the University of St Andrews Professor Colin Vincent said, “Since being awarded the grant earlier this year, the project has developed significantly. Each of the five original working groups has spun off at least one concrete project and we hope that the inventory will spark enthusiasm across the board, particularly when new groups form and are given assistance in realising their joint visions. Perhaps most importantly, a sense of trust is developing, along with a willingness to explore possibilities together.”

The Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Dundee, Sir Alan Langlands said: “The success of this early work with St Andrews confirms my view that over rigid boundaries must never be a constraint on innovation, experiment and interdisciplinary working. The future development of higher education in Scotland will depend on strategic alliances and partnerships – between universities and with industry. To be internationally competitive we need to work together to improve recruitment, research and the introduction of modern education technologies. Universities in this part of Scotland also have a key role to play in driving social, cultural and economic development. It is entirely appropriate that our oldest university – St Andrews – and our most enterprising – Dundee – should be at the leading edge of change.”

The launch event, to take place at Discovery Point, Dundee, will give both universities, their Courts and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council a chance to discuss and celebrate the partnership.

“Promoting Partnership; An Evolving Collaboration” is an ambitious initiative aimed at maximising strengths and interests in both universities.

Initially focusing on five collaborative groups – Engineering and Physical Sciences; Medicine and Health Sciences; Biology, Biochemistry and Chemistry; Art History/Art and Design; and Commercialisation, it is funded by a three-year grant totalling over £300,000 from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. The partnership will help the institutions expand both teaching and research in important emerging areas, experiment with innovation, build relationships with the private sector and significantly contribute to the social and economic well being of Scotland.

Further information can be viewed at http://www.promotingpartnership.ac. uk.

Ends

Press contacts:

Claire Grainger, Press & Public Relations Officer, External Relations Department, University of St Andrews, Tel 01334 462530, Fax 01334 467458, Mobile 07730 415015, Email proffice@st- andrews.ac.uk.

Carol Pope, Press Officer, University of Dundee, Tel 01382 344021, Fax 01382 345515, Email c.l.e.pope@dundee.ac.uk.

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