School of Biology Internal Newsletter: 17 July, 2018
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School of Biology University of St Andrews

In this Newsletter


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Next Research Committee funding deadline: 1st August 2018

A reminder that Research Committee applications are received 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 Wednesday 1st August.

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.

Please send your applications or any questions to


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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
Clawed forelimbs allow northern seals to eat like their ancient ancestors
Hocking, D. P., Marx, F. G., Sattler, R., Harris, R. N., Pollock, T. I., Sorrell, K. J., Fitzgerald, E. M. G., McCurry, M. R. & Evans, A. R. (2018) Royal Society Open Science. 5: 172393. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172393
First in situ passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals during operation of a tidal turbine in Ramsey Sound, Wales
Malinka, C. E., Gillespie, D. M., Macaulay, J. D. J., Joy, R. & Sparling, C. E. (2018) Marine Ecology Progress Series. 590, p. 247-266. DOI: 10.3354/meps12467
Framework for mapping key areas for marine megafauna to inform Marine Spatial Planning: the Falkland Islands case study
Augé, A. A. , Dias, M. P. , Lascelles, B. , Baylis, A. M. M. , Black, A. , Boersma, P. D. , Catry, P. , Crofts, S. , Galimberti, F. , Granadeiro, J. P. , Hedd, A. , Ludynia, K. , Masello, J. F. , Montevecchi, W. , Phillips, R. A. , Pütz, K. , Quillfeldt, P. , Rebstock, G. A. , Sanvito, S. , Staniland, I. J. Stanworth, A., Thompson, D., Tierney, M., Trathan, P. N. & Croxall, J. P. (2018) Marine Policy. 92, p. 61-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2018.02.017
Marine protected areas show low overlap with projected distributions of seabird populations in Britain and Ireland
Critchley, E. J., Grecian, W. J., Kane, A., Jessopp, M. J. & Quinn, J. L. (2018) Biological Conservation. 224, p. 309-317. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2018.06.007
Selective reactions to different killer whale call categories in two delphinid species
Bowers, M. T., Friedlaender, A. S., Janik, V. M., Nowacek, D. P., Quick, N., Southall, B. L. & Read, A. (2018) Journal of Experimental Biology. 221: jeb162479. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.162479
Sex-related differences in the postmolt distribution of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) in the southern Weddell Sea
Langley, I., Fedak, M., Nicholls, K. & Boehme, L. (2018) Marine Mammal Science. 34(2), p. 403-419. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12461

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University's flexible working policy for all staff

The University is committed to providing equality of opportunity and developing work practices and policies that support work-life balance. The University's Flexible Working policy web page has been developed to support flexible working arrangements to help employees achieve, if possible, more balance between their working and non-working lives.  

Flexible Working allows employees to vary their working arrangements to a more flexible arrangement in consultation with their line manager. Employees may request a change in the hours they work, a change in the times they work or request temporarily to work from home. It is important to understand that this change requires a permanent change to the employee's contract and is not an automatic right, as there may be circumstances when the school/unit is unable to accommodate a desired work pattern.  

More information, guide-lines and a flexible working application are available on the University's Flexible Working Policy site


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Successful Grant Award

Congratulations to:

Lars Boehme for his NERC award "NSFPLR-NERC Thwaites-Amundsen Regional Survey and Network (TARSAN)", £552,244.

"My research interests focus in the ocean overturning circulation and the dynamics of frontal systems utilizing animal-borne technology. I am involved in a range of international and inter-diciplinary programs, e.g. the South Atlantic Variability Experiment (SAVEX) and "Ocean processes over the southern Weddell Sea shelf using seal tags". Most of these projects are part of MEOP (Marine Mammal Exploration- Pole to Pole). Within these projects we deploy little instruments on seals in both polar regions. My studies also highlight the benefits to the sensor-carrying animals themselves by showing the usefulness of this approach in examining the sensitivity of top predators to global and regional-scale climate variability".


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Biology academics recognised by RSE Young Academy of Scotland

Congratulation to Dr Nathan Bailey and Dr Ellen Garland on being two of the newest members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland.

They will join the Young Academy of Scotland’s existing early-to-mid career members from across Scotland in realising its mission ‘to achieve transformative societal change through citizenship, innovation, collaboration, evidence, and leadership’. 


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UKRI: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science joint call

The UKRI are inviting applications to a joint call with Japan Society for the Promotion of Science that address topics in Life Sciences and Environmental Sciences. This initiative will provide funding for high-quality collaborative research projects between UK and Japanese researchers which contribute to advancing impacts for the benefit of both countries. UKRI and JSPS are keen to support collaboration between leading researchers and teams in areas of mutual strength and shared-interest.

Value: £5M (+ £2M from the Japanese side); funding for 10 projects is expected
Intention to submit deadline:     24 July 2018
Full deadline:                             14 August 2018
Project start date:                         14 February 2019

Full details are on the NERC web site. If you would like any help with costings or the application, please let me know.

Dr Prabs Dehal
Business Development Manager
Research Business Development & Contracts
Tel: +44 (0)1334 467222

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Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists

Science/AAAS and SciLifeLab, a coordinated effort of four universities, have joined forces in creating the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists for young researchers who have received a doctoral degree in 2016 or 2017. The topic of the entrant’s thesis research must be in one of the following categories: 

Cell and Molecular Biology
Ecology and Environment
Genomics and Proteomics
Translational Medicine

Each year, the grand prize winner receives a prize of US$30,000 (£22,000); each of the three other winners will receive US$10,000 (£7,000). The prize winners will have their essays published in Science (the grand prize winner in print, and the others online). The deadline for submissions is 15 July 2018, and more information is given on the attached flier and the Prize web site.


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Joint fully funded PhD available

Joint fully funded PhD available between University of Aberdeen, Marine Scotland & Scottish Natural Heritage

"Assessing MPA efficacy and adaptive management of the common skate: integrating population genomics, tagging and modelling to determine connectivity, abundance & recruitment"

Supervisors: Catherine S Jones (University of Aberdeen ), Peter Wright (Marine Scotland, Aberdeen ) & David Donnan (Scottish Natural Heritage) 

Closing date: 16th July 2018

Click here for further details and apply.


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October training workshops at Edinburgh Genomics: Linux for Genomics, Intro to RNAseq Analysis and Intro to Python

We have some new dates in October for our popular Edinburgh Genomics training workshops.

We now offer registration, on a first come first served basis, to our Linux for GenomicsIntroduction to RNAseq Data Analysis, and Introduction to Python for Biologists workshops developed and taught by our Edinburgh Genomics Bioinformaticians and our training partner Dr Martin Jones.

  1. Linux for Genomics, Monday 1st October 2018 REGISTER NOW
  2. Introduction to RNAseq Data Analysis, Tuesday 2nd to Wednesday 3rd October 2018  REGISTER NOW
  3. Introduction to RNAseq Data Analysis, Thursday 4th to Friday 5th October 2018 REGISTER NOW
  4. Introduction to Python for Biologists, Monday 22nd to Friday 26th October 2018 REGISTER NOW

Please use the links provided above to register for a place. These workshops are very popular and have limited places, so please do register as early as you can. After registration, you will be asked for payment and then your place will be confirmed. Cancellation up to one month before the workshop will allow a refund minus an admin fee.

See course details on our training pages:

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Feel free to share with colleagues and contacts. We plan to offer an 'R for Genomics' and an  'Advanced Linux: Cloud, Cluster and Pipeline Programming' early in 2019, and we will let you know when these are available.

Dr Donald Dunbar
Bioinformatics Operations Manager
Edinburgh Genomics

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Operator office chairs available

We have been asked to clear the MediaLab (Bute C38). There are 12 blue ‘operator’ chairs available (no arms), in excellent condition.

These belong to the School of Biology, but if there are no immediate requirements from School members, I will put them into the University WARPit pool for recycling. 

Please contact me (Steve Smart by email ASAP to arrange to collect if you would like any of these.

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Horizon 2020 newsletter for July 2018

The Horizon 2020 newsletter for July is now available.

If you have any questions about applications, please contact Joanna Pulver in the Research Business Development and Contracts Office at jep7 or x2173 (08.30 to 12.30).

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Scottish Parliament seeking speakers for 'Scotland after Brexit' seminars

The Scottish Parliament is seeking speakers for a series of 7 seminars on Scotland after Brexit. The seminars are attended by MSPs, their staff and Scottish Parliament Staff. Seminars will take place in the Scottish Parliament building in Holyrood on Wednesday mornings between 8:30 and 9:30am. The next seminar series will take place from 12 September to the 12 December 2018.

The seminars are organised by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe). SPICe provides impartial, factual, accurate information and analysis to Members in support of Scottish Parliament parliamentary business. 

We are particularly interested in hearing from speakers conducting research on the post-Brexit policy landscape for the following topics:

  • Environmental governance
  • UK Common Frameworks
  • Justice
  • Agriculture
  • Immigration
  • Trade
  • Food and Drink
  • Transport

Seminars are not strictly limited to these topics and we welcome proposals for seminars on relevant topics not included in this list.

The aim of the seminar series is to provide access for parliamentarians and their staff to academic knowledge to improve parliamentary scrutiny by:

  • developing understanding and awareness of issues and
  • stimulate discussion and thinking among a spectrum of attendees.

The seminars will complement formal parliamentary business, such as committee inquiries. 

We are seeking expressions of interest from academics to deliver a 15 minute presentation addressing this issue in the round, or one aspect of it. It is expected that 2 or 3 academics will be invited to speak at each seminar. 

Seminars are conducted under the Chatham House Rule. Some seminars may be recorded for the Scottish Parliament's podcast series. Speakers will be asked in advance if they are happy for their talk to be recorded.

Outcomes from previous seminars

Since October 2016, SPICe has hosted 20 Brexit seminars which have been attended by over 800 people. Previous speakers have subsequently been invited to be a witness to provide evidence to the Parliament's committees. Speakers have also developed links with SPICe to provide information for research briefings and providing peer-reviews of SPICe research outputs.

How to make an application 

Academics who wish to be considered should fully complete and submit the application form and submit this to email address by Friday 3 August

Expressions of interest are invited from researchers from all disciplines and from researchers at all stages of their careers, including doctoral students and early career researchers working in the areas outlined.

All applications will be reviewed. Successful applicants will be invited to deliver their presentation at the relevant Scottish Parliament breakfast seminar

Using a maximum of 200 words in the box provided, describe your presentation proposal. Ensure that you highlight how the presentation is:

  • Of importance to the people of Scotland
  • Evidence-based
  • Reliable and robust
  • Objective and non-partisan (not party political) 
  • Accessible (written in plain English)

If you have any questions, please contact the SPICe mailbox


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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.

Healthy Sleep: Restorative Yoga

Wednesday 18 July 2018 or Thursday 19 July 2018
17.30 to 18.30, Large Rehearsal Room, Students' Association

Join instructor Rayna Rogowsky for this Restorative Yoga class as part of ‘Healthy Sleep’ month.

Designed to relax and soothe, this 1-hour class will include breathing exercises, gentle movement to release restless energy, gentle inversions, and extended lying-down poses for relaxation.

Should you wish to use a mat, pillow, or blanket, please bring your own. You can expect to come away from this class feeling relaxed and a little sleepy.

Microsoft Word: Creating Electronic Forms

Thursday 26 July 2018
15.10 to 17.00, Swallowgate PC Classroom, School of Classics, Butts Wynd

Learn skills to create featured computer-fillable and online forms. This course is aimed the users who want to create Word documents with form fields for entering text and/or data electronically.

NOTE: This is not intended for those wanting to generating PDF forms.

We will also touch on the Form app in Office 365 that can be used to create online forms and surveys.

It is highly recommended that you have a good facility with using tables in Word, skills covered in the Controlling Document Design course (next held on Thursday 23 August).

Active August: Outdoor Fitness

Monday 6 August 2018 to Monday 27 August 2018
17.30 to 18.30, University Sport Centre

Join instructor Callum Knox for this series of four 1-hour sessions focusing on bodyweight-based exercises designed to increase your levels of aerobic fitness, stamina, strength and mobility.

Taking place outside, classes may include individual, pair, or group games featuring squats, push-ups, sit-ups, high-knee sprints, burpees - the list is endless!

Each session will be different but all are guaranteed to be a great workout whilst allowing you to have fun at the same time. Participants of all levels of fitness welcome.

Meet at the University Sports Centre, St Leonards Road. Classes will take place on Mondays 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th August from 17.30-18.30.

As this is a series, participants are expected to attend all classes. Not doing so may impact your priority rating for future courses.

Workplace Health: The science behind how germs are spread

Tuesday 14 August 2018 to Thursday 16 August 2018
09.30 to 12.30, Biology Teaching Lab 142, Medical and Biological Sciences Building, North Haugh

Become a microbiologist for two mornings and carry out scientific experiments in one of our University laboratories, guided by trained professionals, including Biology's Dr David Hughes and Dr Diane Munday. Carry out a series of fun and interactive experiments designed to demonstrate how you can minimise your risk of catching and spreading germs!

With the new semester upon us, learn simple tips and tricks to help protect your team from winter infections, thus reducing workplace absence and creating a healthier workplace for yourself and your team.

Learn about the science behind ….

·        How infections spread within a workplace
·        Why antibiotics don’t work when you have a cold

This will be run over two mornings, and participants will need to attend both sessions. Prior to the workshop, participants will be sent a test kit and instructions to enable them to swab (anonymously), everyday objects. The swabs will then be used in the laboratory and their secrets revealed!



Mandatory courses for PGRs who teach

The University requires that all PhD students who teach (e.g. tutoring, lab demonstrating, marking) must complete a formal course of training provided by CAPOD before they begin teaching.  If you are hoping to teach in semester one you will need to sign up to one pair of workshops as noted below.

You can request a place on these workshops using the Personal Development Management System (PDMS) – be sure to select Research postgraduates from the Audience drop-down menu.  Note that you must attend one Tutoring and one Assessment workshop (and complete the online Diversity in the Workplace course).  If you cannot attend the workshops for your Faculty, you can attend the others.  You only need to do the workshops once during your time at St Andrews.  All workshops run from 1-5pm.

  • Tutoring and Demonstrating: An introduction (cross-Faculty) – Thurs 30th August 2018, 1-5pm
  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct: An introduction (cross-Faculty) – Fri 31st August 2018, 1-5pm
  • Tutoring in the Arts: An introduction – Tues 11th September 2018, 1-5pm
  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct (Arts): An introduction – Wed 12th September 2018, 1-5pm
  • Tutoring & Demonstrating in the Sciences: An introduction – Thurs 13th September 2018, 1-5pm
  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct (Science): An introduction – Fri 14th September 2018, 1-5pm

There are “catch-up” sessions for students arriving later in the semester who will be teaching in semester 1.  These workshops are for students from all Faculties.

  • Tutoring and Demonstrating: An introduction (cross-Faculty) – Fri 28th September 2018, 1-5pm
  • Assessment and Academic Misconduct: An introduction (cross-Faculty) – Tue 2nd October 2018, 1-5pm

Note that these are the only dates in semester 1 that the mandatory courses will be run.  After that the next round of workshops will be 22nd & 23rd (Arts) and 24th & 25th (Science) January 2019.

For more information on the full range of support available to you as a postgraduate teacher, see:



Applying to Demonstrate for the School of Biology

If you wish to be a demonstrator for the School of Biology, you can apply online using the application form found here.

As part of the application process, you must complete the two mandatory training workshops run by CAPOD, and complete the training in feedback and assessment session run by the School of Biology. Full details of the necessary training and how to book places on the CAPOD courses can be found here but in short all demonstrators must complete:

Please ensure that you forward copies of your completion certificates for these workshops to to enable the School’s records to be updated. You can access your certificates by:

Details of how to apply for a place on the School of Biology Training in Feedback and Assessment course will be made available in later this summer via the School of Biology Newsletter.

If you have any questions please contact the Lead Demonstrator, Dr Grant Brown:





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

Contacting the newsletter editor:
Do you have any information that you would like people in the School to know about in the Friday Newsletter? Or do you have any news items which should be published to the School of Biology web site for public information? Items could be about events, new appointments, publications, grants, research news, or any other interesting work-related stories. Please send items to indicating if you think they should be published to the Newsletter, and/or as news items to the School of Biology public web site. The deadline for the Newsletter is Friday morning of the current week.

The current Newsletter also appears on a public web page, and earlier posts may be reviewed online as a monthly digest.

Head of School: Professor Clare Peddie
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