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The next generation

The University of St Andrews has won a share of £19.5m funding to overhaul teaching in the social sciences.

St Andrews is one of fifteen universities across the UK selected to drive forward an ambitious intervention aimed at creating a new generation of social science graduates.

The University’s share of £812,565 will go towards permanent new staff, summer schools and bursaries aimed at encouraging students to stay on in further education.

The initiative aims to address a critical shortage of social scientists with the necessary analytical skills by nurturing a ‘fit for the future’ group of graduates.

Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the development is one of the largest partnerships in recent times – between a research council, a funding council and a private foundation – focussed on undergraduate social science education in the UK.

The 15 universities have all been selected to host ‘Q-Step’, a programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training.

St Andrews is just one of three universities from Scotland on the programme, selected from a total of 48 who applied.  Researchers at the Centre for GeoInformatics in the School of Geography and Geosciences will form part of a network of ‘Q-Step Centres’, delivering new undergraduate programmes in quantitative social science.

The award will be co-ordinated by Professor Stewart Fotheringham, Director of the Centre for GeoInformatics and Dr Urska Demsar, a lecturer in the Centre for GeoInformatics.

The new funding will enable the appointment of two permanent lecturers in GeoInformatics and the development of a new one-year MSc course in the subject.  It will also extend Quantitative Methods and Geographic Information Science (GISc) teaching in the Department of Geography and Sustainable Development, building upon significant investment in this area by the University.

Professor Fotheringham said, “We are delighted to have been selected for this prestigious award and particularly so as we are one of only two single-sites selected.  This will enable the Centre for GeoInformatics to develop a critical teaching mass in the areas of geographic information science and spatial analysis.”

Chris Milward, Associate Director of HEFCE said, “We are pleased to support this step-change in activity, which will yield a new generation of social science graduates who are fit for the future. The centres will work closely with university outreach activities to stimulate early interest in quantitative skills.”

ENDS

For more information on the programme contact: Frances Bright, Communications Manager, Nuffield Foundation on (0)20 7681 9586 or fbright@nuffieldfoundation.org


Issued by the Press Office

Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Communications Manager on 01334 467227, gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

Ref: Fit for the future 071013

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