From the Chalkface

NEWSA £29 MILLION partnership for computer science research has been set up by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and ten Scottish universities.

Among other things, the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance will look at the next generation of the internet and develop new ways for users to interact with computers.

The five-year project will create 37 new research posts and 20 new PhD posts per year, and the organisers hope to create a graduate academy to offer advanced postgraduate training.

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To fund the alliance, the universities of Aberdeen, Abertay Dundee, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Stirling and Strathclyde will match the 14.5 million provided by the SFC.

• AN EXCHANGE scheme that allows Scottish students to work overseas and brings foreign students to Scotland has been extended.

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience will receive more than 250,000 from the Scottish Government to broaden its work over the next three years. The programme will now support 100 young people from Scotland in overseas work placements as well as enabling 100 foreign science and engineering students to spend time at Scottish companies and in research departments.

• THE world's top display driver and former rally champion Russ Swift has agreed to become president of Dundee University's Formula Student racing team.

The Drive (Dundee University Race Innovation and Vehicle Engineering) team are taking part in the Institute of Mechanical Engineers' competition that challenges student teams to build a Formula style racing car. He will offer his knowledge to the team, which will display its car to the public at John Clarke's Garage in the city today. For further information, visit

• ABERDEENSHIRE Council will consider plans to make seatbelts compulsory on every school bus operating in the area this week.

The move, which will go further than is required by law, will be discussed at a meeting of the council's education, learning and leisure and infrastructure services committees tomorrow.

• SHAPINSAY Community School on Orkney has become one of only 60 across the UK to be selected for the Green Energy for Schools programme.

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The national project, run by the Co-operative Group, aims to reduce the carbon emissions of British schools and promote awareness of renewable energy.

The scheme will see the school fitted with solar panels worth 20,000, paid for by the Co-operative.

A STUDENT who spent two months working on nuclear physics in Kazakhstan has been named Trainee of the Year by the international exchange programme that arranged the trip.

Katy Pegg, a mathematical physics student at Edinburgh University, worked on a particle accelerator at the Kazakh Institute of Nuclear Physics and was struck by lightning during her trip.

Katy, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, was presented with her award by the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience at a ceremony in London.

• A GRADUATE in animation from West of Scotland University was the winner of an award at the recent Swan Lake: Moving Image & Music Awards.

Jonathan Mortimer, who graduated from the university last month, was presented this award for his animation, The Legendary Adventures of the Secret Blue Elves, at a ceremony in Mittweida, Germany on 13 November.


PUPILS from Glamis Primary School will join students from Dundee Horticultural College at a tree planting event at Powmyre Quarry near Kirriemuir at 1:30pm on 17 December.