Backache project benefits from Pounds 12 million grant

June 30, 2000

Scottish higher education institutions will aim to help guard against miscarriages of justice, improve the understanding of back pain, investigate lifestyle changes and tackle land erosion, in a series of innovative projects backed by more than Pounds 12 million.

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council is supporting 16 projects, most of them collaborative, through its fourth annual research development grant, set up in response to the government's Foresight programme.

John Sizer, Shefc's chief executive, said: "The hallmark of this year's awards is collaboration by universities across Scotland for the good of Scotland. We are seeing both the newer and older universities working together and research across the boundaries of health, energy, the legal field, industry and the environment."

Aberdeen and the Robert Gordon universities have won more than Pounds 1 million for equipment to help diagnose back pain. The vertical magnetic resonance imaging scanner will show what happens in the spine when patients suffer pain, and is likely to improve treatment of joint and bone disease.

More than Pounds 700,000 goes to Edinburgh and Glasgow Caledonian universities to work with Lothian and Borders police forensic science laboratory on a project using artificial intelligence to gather, evaluate and present evidence.

Other investments include Pounds 1.4 million for energy research led by St Andrews University on more environmentally friendly ways of producing chemicals for medicine and industry, and a Pounds 500,000 project led by Edinburgh College of Art into what access people in deprived areas have to services such as banks and shops.

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