The School of Psychology and Neuroscience is located in St Mary's Quad in the heart of the ancient town of St Andrews. Although housed in historic buildings, the School prides itself on the fact its research environment was rated as equal first in the UK in REF 2021. The School has received significant investment in research infrastructure totalling over £1 million.
Research and teaching is facilitated by a team of administrative and technical professional staff which include the School Manager, software developers, IT support, mechatronics and mechanical engineers. The School is proud to be supporting the Technician Commitment Initiative.
The workshop facilities consists of a main workshop for IT and electronics, a basement mechanical and wood workshop, and a programmer’s office. Equipment includes:
- machine tools
- milling machines
- CNC machine
- 3D printer
- electronic test equipment
- AV equipment
- IT systems including CAD design
The School is supported by six (full-time and part-time) workshop technicians who provide technical support in the areas of mechatronics, ICT support, and software and web development.
The technicians are directly involved in supporting teaching, research and administration within the School, and maintain a range of research and teaching equipment, lab facilities and IT systems.
Technicians also design, develop and construct a broad range of bespoke and highly specialised hardware and software for research projects used in laboratories, research field stations and local schools. This has varied from neurological amplifiers to remote controlled puzzle boxes used in the rain forests of Africa.
The University has recently signed up to the Technician Commitment Initiative, and members of the workshop sit on the University's Technician Commitment Engagement Group.
Please feel free to contact the workshop with any queries by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Psychology building hosts three computing classrooms and two seminar rooms along with smaller meeting rooms available for tutorials. The Carnegie wing of the Bute Building hosts a lecture theatre and wet lab teaching space. The Jeeves human laboratories are also available for Honours teaching.
The School has enhanced the diversity of the wet lab facilities based in the cellular and developmental neuroscience group with the creation of two new integrative labs for drosophila and zebrafish work. This expands the species range and techniques significantly by enabling the study of a single organism from genetics right through to behaviour.
The School boasts state-of-the-art wet lab and histology facilities, equipped to undertake up-to-date molecular and protein analyses. The cellular and developmental neuroscience group also houses multiple sets of electrophysiology stations.
An investment of £350k has created two integrative laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art molecular and imaging equipment. The School also boasts a separate imaging suite, which houses advanced multi-photon and fluorescent microscopes.
Researchers within the School conduct fMRI and simultaneous EEG-fMRI experiments using the facilities at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, through the cross-university Scottish Imaging Network: A Platform for Scientific Excellence (SINAPSE) pooling initiative.
The School also has dedicated EEG laboratories as well as a TMS system.
Specialised equipment for vision research includes:
- stereoscopic displays
- eye-movement trackers
- 3-D scanner
- thermal imagers
- computing facilities with software for studying face perception.
The School has individual and group testing areas, including computer clusters and a social immersion laboratory, in which participants are surrounded by audio and video stimuli.
The Living Links to Human Evolution Research Centre, opened in 2008. This is a University of St Andrews primate research centre, housed in Edinburgh Zoo. Living Links was created through a £1.6 million research grant from the Scottish Funding Council and provides facilities for studying primate behaviour and cognition.
The School has recently invested £500k in the Budongo Research Unit (BRU), facilitating work on chimpanzees. The following interview with Professor Josep Call outlines the work being carried out at the BRU.
The School also studies primate behaviour at the Keeling Center, Texas, and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig.
The School houses a dedicated child development laboratory (ABC Lab), comprising testing suites, meeting areas and offices. The lab has been refurbished to provide high-quality facilities for the origins of mind research group. The lab also has a lab manager and is utilised by members of the origins of mind and cellular and developmental neuroscience research groups.
The facility enables researchers to study a wide range of topics in child social and cognitive development, including prosocial behaviour, tool use, episodic memory development and theory of mind.
Due to its close links with the community through participant recruitment, the lab also hosts several public engagement activities throughout the year. Research in this area is also carried out at sites such as the Dundee Science Centre, St Andrews Aquarium and several local schools and nurseries.
The School continues to invest in and develop both the Living Links to Human Evolution Research Centre and Budongo Research Unit at Edinburgh Zoo, providing facilities for studying non-human primate cognition. Members of the origins of mind research group have also benefitted from a very close collaborative relationship with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
Whilst internal infrastructure is a vital part of the School’s annual investment, several researchers undertake fieldwork both nationally and internationally. The School's fieldwork site portfolio is diverse and spans developmental psychology, primate behaviour and experimental neuroscience research areas.
Primate behavioural analysis represents the majority of the School's fieldwork, with researchers undertaking studies in the following locations:
- Chimfunshi chimpanzee sanctuary located in north-western Zambia (the oldest and largest sanctuary of its kind in the world)
- Budongo Conservation Field Station, Uganda (14 year long commitment to work at this site)
- Bugoma Primate Conservation Project, Uganda
- Bwindi Mountain Gorilla Project, Uganda
- Bossou-Nimba Chimpanzee Research Project, Guinea
Developmental psychology work centres around work in a range of schools and educational institutions in Samoa, including:
- two sites on the island of Upolu (Leone and Fagali'i),
- two sites in Savai’i (Faga and Lalomalava),
- Republic of Vanuatu
- Pretoria, South Africa
Experimental neuroscience work is partly undertaken at seabird breeding sites in the UK (Isle of May National Nature Reserve and Fidra Island Firth of Forth), and in Belgium and the Netherlands.