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Research pooling and the University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews is an enthusiastic supporter of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) strategy of developing research pooling across Scottish HEIs. Pooling has research excellence at its core. The aim is to develop a radically new research landscape in Scotland with powerful well-resourced research communities, attractive to leading researchers from around the world, and producing world-class research fundamental to building a flourishing knowledge economy. Key features of pooling are (a) agreement and coordination of a pan-Scottish research strategy within defined individual research areas, (b) sharing of major facilities and equipment; and (c) joint doctoral training programmes that will attract PhD students from across the UK and around the world. St Andrews has taken a leading role from the development of the concept of pooling through to inception and operation. Funding from SFC has been matched by the HEIs and other sources (eg OST) amounting to a very significant investment. St Andrews is a partner in the following research pools.

Research Alliances

Scottish Universities Physics Alliance

Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) logo

Six Scottish Universities (Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Glasgow, Paisley, St Andrews, and Strathclyde) have come together to form a research alliance in Physics. The aim of the initiative, launched in 2005, is to place Scotland at the forefront of research in Physics through an agreed national strategy, an inter-institutional management structure, and co-ordinated promotion and pursuit of excellence. SUPA will develop as a world leader in Physics, creating the largest group of Physics researchers in the UK with a single "front door" for potential staff, sponsors, and industrial collaborators.  Key SUPA areas in St Andrews are Astronomy, Condensed Matter Physics, Photonics and Biophysics.

EaStChem / ScotChem

Edinburgh and St Andrews Research School of Chemistry

The Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews have established a joint Research School of Chemistry, EaStCHEM, funded by the Scottish Funding Council, The Office of Science and Technology and the parent Universities. EaStChem, launched in 2005, is the premier Research School for Chemistry in Scotland, as one of three initiatives funded under the umbrella of ScotChem that includes the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde (WestChem), Heriot Watt, Aberdeen and Dundee Universities. Key research areas in St Andrews are Chemical Biology, Energy Materials, Organic and Inorganic Synthesis, Homogeneous Catalysis, Solid State Chemistry and Surface Science.

Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES)

Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society (SAGES) logo

SAGES pools world-leading expertise from nine universities across Scotland, creating an alliance that will link new discoveries at the forefront of earth and environmental science with the needs of society as we respond to the challenges of global climate change. SAGES includes the Universities of Aberdeen, Abertay Dundee, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paisley, St Andrews, Stirling as well as the UHI Millennium Institute / Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC). Launched in 2007, SAGES will focus research in three key questions (i) landscape dynamics: how does the land surface respond to environmental change? (ii) terrestrial carbon cycle: what are the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the terrestrial biosphere and how are they changing? (iii) atmosphere, oceans and climate: how are these linked and how will they drive, or respond to, global change? The Environmental Change Research Group in the School of Geography and Geosciences at St Andrews are contributing new initiatives to all three themes.

Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE)

Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) logo

SIRE is the outcome of a substantial investment in Economics research in Scotland by the Scottish Funding Council and ten participating universities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Glasgow, Napier, Paisley, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde). It builds on the successful collaboration in the Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics, founded in 1989. St Andrews heads a major area of research centred on macroeconomics and is integral to a number of other major research themes that are evolving as part of this new Institute such as on the economics of the family and the economics of climate change.

Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA)

Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) logo

SULSA was established in 2007 to ensure that Scotland remains one of the world's leading centres for Life Sciences research. By pooling the research excellence across Scotland and giving those investigators carrying out the best research access to state-of-the-art facilities and complementary expertise, SULSA will enable Life Sciences investigators in Scotland to retain their competitive edge. This is being achieved through a coordinated strategy. This partnership agreement between the very strong integrated, research focussed departments based within the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Strathclyde to build on the advances that have already been made in the sector to improve human health and strengthen economic development.

Scottish Imaging Network: A Platform for Scientific Excellence (SINAPSE)

Scottish Imaging Network: A Platform for Scientific Excellence (SINAPSE) logo

SINAPSE is a consortium of six Scottish universities; Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St. Andrews, and Stirling. It was established in 2008 with funding from the Scottish Funding Council, the Chief Scientific Office and the Universities. The aim of this world-class consortium is to create a strong dynamic network for a shared environment for strategic research development in brain imaging. The focus is primarily on the technologies of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and electrophysiology (EEG). The network has increased the number of key research staff and students within Scotland and it allows the sharing of skills and education via e-learning, seminars and other key events.

Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA)

Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) logo

SICSA, established in 2008 with funding from the Scottish Funding Council and the contributing Universities is a collaboration aimed at working together to consolidate and develop Scotland's position as an international research leader in informatics and computer science (ICS). Research at the Universities of Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Napier, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Stirling and Strathclyde covers virtually all areas of computer science and informatics from low-level hardware design, through networking and middleware, to wetware, artificial intelligence, human computer interaction and social informatics. We are world leaders in both theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline and have a strong interdisciplinary tradition involving maths, engineering, psychology, the humanities and the social sciences.

The Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR)

The Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) logo

SIPR is a collaborative initiative between thirteen of Scotland's universities and the Scottish police service. Members of SIPR undertake high quality, independent research of relevance to policing in Scotland, and engage in a range of knowledge transfer activities in order to strengthen the evidence base on which policing policy and practice are developed. The consortium of Higher Education Institutions involved in SIPR are the Universities of Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paisley, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde, and Glasgow Caledonian University, Robert Gordon University, Napier University and Bell College.

The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) 

The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS)‌‌

The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) is a consortium of organisations engaged in marine science and represents the majority of Scotland's marine research capacity. Alongside the core consortium members, MASTS has established a subscribing Associate Membership that includes Government, HEIs and Charitable bodies. Private industry has also expressed an interest in Associate membership. The Universities of Edinburgh, Dundee, & West of Scotland have joined, together with Scottish Natural Heritage and the St Abbs Marine Station. MASTS maintains a Graduate School of ~50 PhD students and has established MAST-Scotland as a not for profit guarantee company with charitable status to increase its operational flexibility and add value for its members.
MASTS has established a science structure that aligns with Scotland's Marine Science Strategy, and is recognised nationally and at an international level as an important co-ordinating body and as being representative of the marine science community in Scotland. MASTS has established three major research themes under which to organise the research of the MASTS community, and these themes also strongly reflect the Marine Policy of the Scottish Government:
  • Dynamics and properties of marine systems
  • Productive seas 
  • Marine biodiversity, function and services
Major research topics within MASTS include: The Coastal Zone, Properties and Dynamics; The Deep Sea; Marine Stressors; Energy (renewable and oil & gas); Fisheries Science; Sustainable Aquaculture; Marine Planning and Governance;  Marine Biogeochemistry; Technology, Platforms and Sensors; and Numerical Hydrodynamic Modelling.
The MASTS Directorate is based in St Andrews and includes Prof David Paterson (Executive Director), Dr Mark James (Operations Director) & Dr Emma Defew (Programme Coordinator).
For further details please visit or contact us on or 01334 467200.