St Andrews scores high at prestigious academic awards

Monday 8 October 2012

Three St Andrews students have been named as winners and a further 26 highly commended in the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (UA) – an international academic awards programme that identifies top students across the globe through their innovative undergraduate research.

Claiming the victory for St Andrews were Danielle Boobyer who was awarded in the Life Science category for her essay entitled “Speciation: a role for gene expression changes?”, Tiffany Harte for her winning essay “A conjugate gradient minimisation approach to calculating holographic traps for ultracold atoms” which secured a win in the Mathematical & Physical Sciences category, and Rachael Seculer-Faber who won an award in the Ancient & Classical Studies category for her essay “What truths about India can be discerned by comparing 2nd-5th century Greek and Chinese depictions of India as a land of mystery and wisdom?”

Panels of international academics assessed the 2,890 coursework entries that were received from students attending third level institutions across Ireland, the USA, UK and Canada, and selected two winners – an Irish winner and an international winner – per academic category.

The three St Andrews winners will be invited to the UA Summit (7 – 10 November) – “a Davos for students” – where they will receive their award from patron of the awards programme, Irish President Michael D Higgins at the UA Ceremony to be held at Royal Hospital Kilmainham (9 November).

“The UA Summit will serve as a three-day pop-up incubation centre for some of the world’s most exceptional young minds,” said Louise Hodgson, UA Programme Director. “From hands-on workshops and talks with inspiring young achievers, entrepreneurs and academics to networking events with top graduate recruiters, the UA Summit is going to be one of the most exciting student-focused events in Europe.”

The three-day Summit will also include the Forum on Higher Education that will bring together pioneers in the field of education to discuss disruptive education. Speakers include CEO of the Wolfram Group and world famous TEDster, Conrad Wolfram. For further information on the UA Summit and the results of the 2012 Undergraduate Awards, please see

Note to Editors

About the Undergraduate Awards

Founded in 2008 by Paddy Cosgrave (Web Summit, Founders) and Oisin Hanrahan (Handybook), the Undergraduate Awards is an Ireland-based international academic awards programme that works to inspire, support and celebrate undergraduate students, their ideas and research. Receiving thousands of first class research projects written within coursework every year, UA identifies the top-performing students around the world across each academic discipline and invites them to Ireland for the UA Summit – a three day pop-up incubation centre geared towards the acceleration of the ideas and personal development of these high-potential students. As patron of the awards, Irish President Michael D Higgins will be awarding the 2012 UA winners at the awards ceremony which will take place in Dublin on 9 November as part of the 2012 UA Summit (7 – 10 November). The 2013 Undergraduate Awards opened on 1 October 2012 and will be open to students across Ireland and the top 100 universities globally.

Founding Partners include Google, KPMG, Enterprise Ireland, Matheson Ormsby Prentice, HEA and IDA. Further information on the programme can be found at

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Niall Scott on 01334 462244/ 07711 223062.
Ref: (undergraduate 08/10/12)
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