Case studies

Research at St Andrews impacts the world, from engaging the public in history and literature to helping drive policies around climate change. Find out what goes on behind the scenes, including the people making the discoveries, through our featured case studies. 


Research into Old English in contemporary poetry has raised public awareness of a linguistically complex area of literary heritage.

Virtual reality reconstructions of historic Scottish sites have been created to give a better understanding of the past.

Research into the life and works of Robert Burns reveals new insights that has led to an explosion of public interest.


Improved tracking technology for monitoring marine animals has resulted in better conservation of endangered species and ocean prediction.

Sonar research is helping to protect our oceans by influencing government policy and changing public perceptions of marine culture heritage.

Statisticians at St Andrews have developed distance sampling survey methods and software which have allowed governmental bodies and NGOs to make better decisions about the management and conservation of diverse wildlife populations.

Health and welfare

Research has led to the creation of a compact light source which provides a safe and convenient way to treat skin cancer and acne.

Discovery of a new biomarker allows researchers to quantify tuberculosis-causing bacteria in 98% less time.

Public understanding

Research led to the creation of the ‘Living Links’ research centre for the study of primate behaviour and for public activities and education.

Research has led to more accurate representations of the Roman army, soldiers and gladiators in media, museums and reenactments.