School of Biology Internal Newsletter: 24 April, 2018
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School of Biology University of St Andrews

In this Newsletter


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Staff Publications

All staff publications are drawn from entries into the PURE research database, so if you need help with PURE, please do get in touch (dp61, x3626) Donna

Amphioxus SYCP1: a case of retrogene replacement and co-option of regulatory elements adjacent to the ParaHox cluster
Garstang, M. G. & Ferrier, D. E. K. (2018) Development Genes and Evolution. 228(1), p. 13-30. DOI: 10.1007/s00427-017-0600-9
Evaluation of greater wax moth larvae, Galleria mellonella, as a novel in vivo model for non-tuberculosis Mycobacteria infections and antibiotic treatments
Entwistle, F. & Coote, P. J. (2018) Journal of Medical Microbiology. 67(4), 000696. DOI: 10.1099/jmm.0.000696
Human mate-choice copying is domain-general social learning
Moving to 3D: relationships between coral planar area, surface area and volume
House, J. E., Brambilla, V., Bidaut, L. M., Christie, A. P., Pizarro, O., Madin, J. S. & Dornelas, M. (2018) PeerJ. 6: e4280. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.4280
Ocean observations using tagged animals
Roquet, F., Boehme, L., Block, B., Charrasin, J. B., Costa, D., Guinet, C., Harcourt, R. G., Hindell, M. A., Hückstädt, L. A., McMahon, C. R., Woodward, B. & Fedak, M. A. (2017) Oceanography. 30(2), p. 139-139. DOI: 10.5670/oceanog.2017.235
Sex: not all that it’s cracked up to be?
Eves-van den Akker, S. & Jones, J. T. (2018) PLoS Genetics. 14(2): e1007160. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007160

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Biology Equality & Diversity Committee

The League of European Research Universities released a report this week on Implicit Bias in Academia: A challenge to the meritocratic principle and to women's careers - And what to do about it.

In this paper the term implicit bias is used to mean that human beings are not neutral in their judgement and behaviour but instead have experience-based associations and preferences (or aversions) without being consciously aware of them.

The most recent Academic Council agreed this paper should be shared widely, so please feel free to share this with colleagues who you think would be interested.


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Closure of Bute car park in preparation for the Music Centre development

For those staff and students who need to work in or travel to the Bute building, the entire Bute car park will be closed, in preparation for the Music Centre development, from the evening of Sunday 22nd April 2018 until further notice to allow contractors and machines access to the area of the Bute Annexe.

The contractors will demarcate a pedestrian route to the Bute through the car park with fencing.


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Free RIVERBLUE Event at the Glasgow School of Art

Colleagues and students are invited to a screening of RIVERBLUE on Monday 23 April 6pm at the Glasgow School of Art.

Following international river conservationist, Mark Angelo, RIVERBLUE spans the globe to infiltrate one of the world’s most pollutive industries, fashion. Narrated by clean water supporter Jason Priestley, this ground-breaking documentary examines the destruction of our rivers, its effect on humanity, and the solutions that inspire hope for a sustainable future.

This film screening is hosted by the GSA’s Responsive Art & Design Society, GSA Sustainability and Fashion Revolution and is the start of a week-long thread of events hosted at GSA as part of Fashion Revolution Week 2018.

The event is free, but ticketed:


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A new cross-council ‘Future Leaders’ Fellowships scheme is now live

Future Leaders Fellowship

This is for potential fellows expected to transition into independent group leaders. Competition will be tough, and the scheme is demand managed, with one applicant allowed per School.

Potential candidates should submit an Expression of Interest form (excluding HoS support) and CV template to the DoR by 5pm on the 24th April (both forms attached). They should also include a short supporting statement from a mentor in the School.

The deadline for School nomination to RPO is 3rd May, with a decision whether to proceed expected min-May (final submission date 3rd July).

Mike Ritchie
Director of Research

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British Council

1.  British Council call for peer reviewers

The British Council have launched a call for expressions of interest to join their pool of peer reviewers for Newton Fund programmes and is open to both senior and early career researchers. They are seeking reviewers for applications on five panels:

Biological and Medical Sciences
Environment and Agriculture
Arts and Humanities 
Social Sciences
Engineering and Physical Sciences 

The deadline for Expressions of Interest is Friday 27 April, and the application should only take about five minutes to fill in.  

2.  British Council Institutional Links Grants (UK and Gulf countries) open call

This is the second research and innovation call for the Gulf Science Innovation & Knowledge Economy Programme, funded by the UK Government, and is now open.

The research and innovation grants are to fund joint research and innovation partnerships between UK and Gulf universities and research institutions, in areas key to each of the Gulf countries future. Addressing these challenges requires an integrated research and innovation approach, bringing together researchers and innovators from different disciplines, sectors, and countries in high-quality collaborations.


Please note that there are different topics identified for each of the 6 Gulf countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) and NOT one set of topics for all 6 countries as before. The topics are as follows:


  • Clean and renewable energy solutions which may (or may not) include integration with emerging disruptive technologies; with a focus on solar, wind, or energy storage.


  • Waste water treatment, water conservation or water desalination, which may (or may not) include the use of renewable energy solutions in their application.


  • Food security – agritech / aquaculture
  • Renewable energy – wind, solar, waste to energy.


  • Cyber security research with a focus on critical national infrastructure (Energy and Water Utilities, Food Security, Healthcare and Financial Services)

Saudi Arabia

  • Genomics 
  • Clean and renewable energy


  • Waste water treatment, water conservation or water desalination, which may (or may not) include the use of renewable energy solutions in their application.
  • Waste to energy, renewable energy & water and energy storage
  • Artificial intelligence – with a focus on clean, renewable energy and climate change

This year’s UK-Gulf Institutional Links grants provide seed funding from the UK Government for collaboration between the UK and the Gulf as part of the Gulf Science Innovation and Knowledge Economy Programme funded by the UK Government. Grants range from £50,000 to £125,000 for up to two years, subject to cash or in-kind matching funds of equal value provided by the Gulf applicants and Gulf associated partners. 

The aim is to:

- Initiate new research and innovation collaboration between academic groups, departments, institutions and catapults in partner countries and the UK;

- Develop existing collaboration at group, departmental, and institutional level;

- Encourage these collaboration projects to work with non-academic organisations and individuals to support the exchange of research and innovation expertise and the translation of research knowledge into tangible benefits, and the commercialisation of research;

- Establish local hubs for UK-Gulf country activity in a particular area, enabling engagement from the wider research and innovation community.

Geninha Lisboa, British Embassy Doha | PO Box 3, Doha, State of Qatar
( +974 4496 2017| M: +974 740 78451|FTN: 84882017
e: |8                

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ISSF Stakeholder Engagement grants

Dear Colleagues,

The closing date for the ISSF Stakeholder Initiative scheme is the 29th of April. The purpose of this award is to enable the embedding of public engagement (PE) activities in future grant applications. This scheme can fund up to £1000 for ‘enabling’ studies – establishing links, feasibility, meetings – that allow future embedding of PE into your grants. While salaries cannot be funded, the funding of PhD and undergraduate training internships, with a strong focus on liaising with stakeholders and enabling Public Engagement projects, will be considered.

The scope of funding includes anything within the Wellcome Trust remit. Please consult the Wellcome Trust website for further details.

We encourage you to make use of a consultation with the PE team to explore the potential of this initiative. Pre-application consultations that have already taken place have proved very fruitful in determining and clarifying the potential of linking researchers with suitable partners, including in the areas of education, industry, global communities, and international conservation groups. Innovative methodologies in Public Engagement practice and research collaboration have also been covered, uncovering potential new activities.

For further details, which also includes how to apply, click here.

Prof David Evans


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Next Research Committee funding deadline: Tuesday 1st May 2018

Research Committee applications are accepted four times per year (1st of February, May, August and November) and that the deadline for equipment and consumables (up to £5k), development of REF output work (up to £2k) and Sir Ken Murray postgraduate funding for workshops/conferences (up to £1,000, depending on where the event is held) is Tuesday 1st May.

The Research Committee Funding Request form, along with application guidance and the completion reporting form, can be found in bioInternal link on the bottom of the school home page, 'Your St Andrews' section, and click on 'BioInternal'. From the thumbnail menu, click on "Research Documents" and then the "Research Committee Forms" folder, where you will find the information that you need.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Scheme: basic information

The Undergraduate Research Assistant Scheme is a programme that aims to give undergraduate students an opportunity to engage in academic research. The University of St Andrews prides itself on its research-led teaching and is keen to promote projects that emphasise the many ways in which Research and Teaching can come together. Through this scheme students will have the opportunity to enhance their learning experience by working on academic research projects with university faculty members.

The deadline for Semester 2 2018 reports is Friday 22 June 2018 and the deadline for Summer 2018 applications is Friday 6 July 2018.

There is no specific application form and the information comes from you as the sponsor. The work needs to be:

  1. Developmental for the intern
  2. Academic in nature
  3. Research based,
  4. Related to either a research or teaching project that is currently on-going, or in advanced planning stages

What you need to send to by Friday 6 July 2018: 

1.  Your name,
2.  The name of the student and their year of study, 
3.  Brief details of the proposed project with title, expected date to start, and how the project fits the four criteria above,
4.  Total number of hours for which funding is requested (multiples of 6-hour blocks)
5.  The funding call for which are you applying (Summer 2018)
6.  Whether the project will last for longer than one semester (will it run into Semester 1?)

The details of the scheme, deadlines and past projects are available on the Undergraduate Research Assistant Scheme web pages.


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University Professional/Personal Development: Sessions that might be of interest

The following are just two of the many sessions and workshops CAPOD is offering over the next few weeks. If you want to see other options, CAPOD's full listing is on the university's Personal Development Management System (PDMS) web site.

‘This is what I do’: communicating research concisely

Tuesday 24 April 2018
10.00 to 13.00, C5 seminar room, Bute Building


Can you capture in an engaging way what your research is about?  Can you convey your enthusiasm for your research, ‘translating’ where necessary, so that it makes sense to others who might not share your background? Being able to do this is not so much a talent as a skill, and in this workshop, you will get a chance to practise this skill and hone it. You will learn to sketch and articulate your research succinctly, without dumbing it down or making it too technical. And in doing so you will clarify (to others but perhaps also to yourself) what it is that you do – and why it matters.


Build a research website in under three hours

Thursday 26 April 2018
10.00 to 13.00, C5 seminar room, Bute Building


No programming skills required! An academic website is a good way to make your research more visible, whether this is a website for you as an individual researcher or a site to showcase your whole research group. You can use your website to explain your research, list your publications, point out your collaborations, blog, link to social media and note your awards and achievements.


You must bring a laptop in order to participate in this workshop, and the laptop should be configured to access the Eduroam wireless network. If you do not have your own laptop, you can contact IT Services to borrow one.

Navigating peer review: challenges, responses & publishing

Thursday 26 April 2018
14.00 to 17.00, C5 seminar room, Bute Building


All researchers will encounter peer review during their career, both as an author of research papers, books, fellowship applications or grants and as an expert who has been asked to review one of these documents. This workshop will introduce researchers to the peer review system, the process, the complexities, the responsibilities of the author and the reviewer and how to get the most out of the experience.


Career planning and self development for Postdocs

Monday 30 April 2018
10:00 to 12:00, C5 seminar room, Bute Building

This event asks participants to build on Unit 2.1 (Career Paths) within the Passport to Research Futures Programme and to consider their own career futures. Participants will reflect on their own career aspirations and develop medium and long terms career goals and begin to identify actions to address these goals.

Participants will also use the Researcher Development Framework (and the RDF Personal Development Planner) online tools to help identify where to focus self-development in order to achieve career goals.


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Teaching office: Exams Key Dates

May Exam Diet

May exam diet dates are Saturday 12th May to Thursday 24th May. Confirmed exam timetable will be publish on week ending Friday,16th March.

Module Boards Dates for May Exam Diet are:-

Hons Module Board -- Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th June 2018
Pre-Hons Module Board – Wednesday 6th June 2018
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Horizon 2020 Newsletter - April 2018

The April 2018 Horizon 2020 newsletter is now available. If you have any questions about a call, please get in touch with Trish Starrs (ts29, x7286) in the Research Business Development & Contracts office.

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Introduction to dementia and making the most of retained skills

CAPOD is hosting an Introduction to Dementia workshop on Thursday 31 May, from 09.30 to 13.00 in the C5 seminar room, Bute. The workshop will be of interest to those who are interested in dementia or those who are caring for an individual with a diagnosis. The basics of dementia and its impact will be covered as well as some strategies for making the most of retained skills for individuals with a diagnosis and those who care for them.

The course will be delivered by Dr. Maggie Ellis, School of Psychology and Neuroscience, who leads the Dementia Friendly St Andrews campaign. Booking is available by the above link and through the university's Personal Development Management System (PDMS) web page


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Help improve the Library homepage and get £20 Amazon gift card

The University Library Communications team are looking for participants to take part in focus groups to discuss the current Library homepage. They are planning to redesign the homepage over the summer and want to make sure it is easy to use and includes the information our users need and want.

Focus groups will comprise 4-6 participants and will last 1 hour. They will be held in the afternoon between 23 April and 3 May. During the focus group they will ask you some questions about the current page, and may ask you to note down features on post-it notes. Cakes and refreshments will be provided and each participant will receive a £20 Amazon gift card.

For more information, please email


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CBD Seminar: Are Bees Concsious?

Tuesday 8th May, 1pm
Dyers Brae Seminar Room

Professor Lars Chittka, Queen Mary, University of London

"Are Bees Concsious?"

Bees have a diverse instinctual repertoire that exceeds in complexity that of most vertebrates. This repertoire allows the social organisation of such feats as the construction of precisely hexagonal honeycombs, an exact climate control system inside their home, the provision of the hive with commodities that must be harvested over a large territory (nectar, pollen, resin, and water), as well as a symbolic communication system that allows them to inform hive members about the location of these commodities.  However, the richness of bees’ instincts has traditionally been contrasted with the notion that bees’ small brains allow little behavioural flexibility and learning behaviour. This view has been entirely overturned in recent years, when it was discovered that bees display abilities such as counting, attention, simple tool use, learning by observation and metacognition (knowing their own knowledge). Thus, some scholars now discuss the possibilities like consciousness in the bees. These observations raise the obvious question of how such capacities may be implemented at a neuronal level in the miniature brains of insects. We need to understand the neural circuits, not just the size of brain regions, which underlie these feats. Neural network analyses show that cognitive features found in insects, such as numerosity, attention and categorisation-like processes, may require only very limited neuron numbers.

Using computational models of the bees' visual system, we explore whether seemingly advanced cognitive capacities might 'pop out' of the properties of relatively basic neural processes in the insect brain’s visual processing area, and their connection with the mushroom bodies, higher order learning centres in the brains of insects.

All welcome!


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SULSA Funding

To mark the arrival of the UK Dementia Research Institute in Scotland, the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) and The University of Edinburgh are providing funding for collaborative projects between Scottish Universities in the dementia space.

This fund is to provide researchers with an opportunity to form new collaborations and apply for seed-funding to kick start innovative new research projects in the dementia field.

Projects should show demonstrable potential for securing funding leverage. This scheme is not for continued funding of existing projects. Researchers can apply for a maximum of £8,000. We expect to award between 7 – 10 grants in this call.

Interdisciplinary projects are encouraged.

Closing date for applications is Friday 18th May 2018 at 5pm

Project work covered by these applications must start in the period 1st August 2018 – 31st December 2018

Click here for further details on conditions, and how to apply.

Application Form


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The British Ecological Society Macroecology conference 2018

BES Macro 2018 is the annual meeting of the British Ecological Society Macroecology (and macroevolution) Special Interest Group, and we hope you'll join us for two days of macro-fun!

This year's conference is 10-11 July at the University of St Andrews. We’ve got a great line up of plenary speakers highlighting all kinds of macro-scale research as well as our annual student plenary, contributed talks, posters, and workshops. The registration deadline is April 30.

Keynote speakers:

   Brian McGill (University of Maine)
   Nathalie Pettorelli (Zoological Society of London)
   Bob O’Hara (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
   Anne Magurran (University of St Andrews)

Click here to Register. Registration is open until 30th April.




School Meetings (24/04/18 to 24/07/18)

Management Group
BMS: room 4.14, 9:00 AM, 25 Apr 2018

Biology Equality and Diversity Committee
Harold Mitchell: room Seminar room, 9:15 AM, 01 May 2018



Current vacancies tagged for 'School of Biology' from the University Vacancies Feed are listed below:
School of Biology University of St Andrews

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