Scottish grants oil the wheels of change

June 11, 1999

Support for the offshore oil and gas industry, modern language learning and the technology of thin film coatings are among 17 projects backed by the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council to help meet Scotland's needs in the next century.

SHEFC has announced more than Pounds 10 million in grants over the next three years to support the development of centres of research excellence across the country.

The council's annual research development grant scheme has been boosted by Pounds 4 million in the wake of the comprehensive spending review, recognising the success of the scheme so far. The largest grant, Pounds 1.2 million, went to Paisley University. It will go towards a Scottish centre dedicated to research into and development of optical and protective coatings and thin film optical filters.

Aberdeen University has won Pounds 775,000 to research and test materials and instruments used by offshore oil companies, while Stirling University received Pounds 675,000 to set up a national research centre to investigate teaching and learning in modern languages.

Other winners include the University of Abertay Dundee, which has won Pounds 530,000 to study computer games technology, and Glasgow Caledonian University, which has been given Pounds 410,000 towards a research centre in lifelong learning.

Chris Masters, SHEFC's chairman, said: "Scotland has a world-famous tradition of ground-breaking research and development, and these innovative proposals will contribute to our quality of life in the Scotland of the future. As well as supporting cutting-edge research in medicine, industry and science, we are also contributing to work on environmental issues, emerging design technologies and lifelong learning.'' SHEFC is also setting up a Scottish research information system, available on the web, giving information on Scottish research capabilities to potential users. It has awarded the contract to information and knowledge management consultant Solon, whose clients include the European Commission, national governments and blue-chip corporations.

SHEFC believes the new system will help boost research partnerships, contracts and consultancies for Scottish higher education institutions.

40 researchThe Times HigherJjune 11J1999 Biting midge: under investigation thanks to a research grantfrom the Carnegie Trust

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