St Andrews plans new school for medicine and the sciences

Thursday 21 February 2008

Artist's impression of the proposed new build mage (Copyright Reiach and Hall Architects)

The University of St Andrews is planning a new £45m School of Medicine and the Sciences which will lead collaborative research in areas such as cancer, health psychology and infectious disease.

It will be one of the first UK Medical Schools whose research facilities are fully integrated with the other sciences and key university disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology and psychology, offering an important new dimension to medical research and the training of new doctors.

The development at the heart of the University’s science campus on the North Haugh, St Andrews is being made possible in part by a donation of £8 million from The Sekhar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Malaysian based Petra Group.

The School will be named after the late Dr B.C. Sekhar, an iconic figure in Malaysia’s history and the father of the country’s rubber and palm oil industries.

In a related move that will strengthen links between St Andrews and Malaysia, the Sekhar Foundation, founded by Datuk Vinod Sekhar, the son of Dr B.C. Sekhar and Chief Executive of the Petra Group, has specified that some of the £8 million be used to create a scholarship fund which will allow some of Asia’s brightest students to study the arts and sciences at St Andrews for up to four years.

The £8 million from the Sekhar Group is one of the largest single donations ever given to a Scottish university.

Medical students studying at the new St Andrews complex will graduate with a BSc Honours in Medicine before going on to complete their clinical training in Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Manchester.

The University also expects to expand its leading edge medical research capacity fourfold over five years, focusing on key areas of collaboration which capitalise on the internationally recognised research excellence of its Science faculty.

These include:

Physicists and doctors working together using laser technology to develop new ways of identifying and attacking cancer cells through non-invasive techniques.

Doctors collaborating with biologists to develop viral remedies to cancers and potential population pandemics such as avian flu.

Psychologists and doctors researching the psycho-social aspects of illness and medical consultation.

Subject to consultation, planning permission and other appropriate consents, it is hoped that construction will start later this year.

Datuk Vinod Sekhar said: “This agreement with St Andrews is hugely significant for several reasons. Firstly the naming of St Andrews’ new medical and science facility after my late father is a fitting tribute to a man who devoted his life to the service of his country and played a significant role in making Malaysia and the rest of the world a better place for everyone.

“Secondly it will give some of the best young brains in Asia the chance to further their potential by attending one of the most respected universities in the world. And thirdly, the Foundation and St Andrews are committed to forging a new academic bridge between Scotland and Malaysia for the benefit of both countries.”

Dr Brian Lang, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews said: “This is a very significant development for St Andrews and for life sciences research in Scotland.

“We are determined that this should be a fully integrated centre for medicine and the sciences which fosters true interdisciplinary collaboration.

“It is now clear that the most significant future advances in medical research will come in areas where there is the opportunity for unfettered collaboration between medicine and the sciences.

“The St Andrews project offers Scotland a unique opportunity to develop a new collaborative model for medical research and education and to set an international benchmark.

“We are very grateful to the Sekhar Foundation for its investment in this vision and proud that the new home for our medical and science facility will bear the name of B.C. Sekhar.”


Note:  Dr Brian Lang and Datuk Vinod Sekhar are available for interview by conference call at 10.15 a.m. GMT Thursday February 21st.



Conference call details:



Telephone No:  0870 2410970



Participant Code:  2878633#




Issued by the University of St Andrews.

More information :

University of St Andrews
Niall Scott, Director of Communications
Tel +44 1334 462244, mobile 07711 223062, e-mail [email protected]

Petra Group
Andrew Murray-Watson, Vice President Communications
Tel: +603 2284 888, mobile: +44 7515 695232

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