Stirling’s academic pioneers win top prize

Stirling University's Institute of Aquaculture has been awarded the UK's top academic honour

THE Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling University is to receive the UK’s most prestigious academic honour, the Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

The accolade – part of the UK honours system – was announced during a special reception at St James’s Palace last night and will be officially presented at Buckingham Palace in February.

Introduced in 1994, the Queen’s Anniversary Prize recognises outstanding work that shows quality and innovation, and delivers real benefit to the wider world through education and training.

The latest recognition celebrates the Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) and its pioneering work in the world’s fastest growing food production sector in a bid to tackle global hunger.

It is a timely announcement, as the IoA prepares to mark its 40th anniversary next year with a major redevelopment of its facilities, funded under the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

Professor Selina Stead, head of the IoA, and Professor Malcolm MacLeod, the University’s senior deputy principal, attended the announcement at St James’s Palace.

Professor Selina Stead

Professor Stead said: ‘We are absolutely delighted that the Institute of Aquaculture is to receive the Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

‘This is important recognition of the collaborative and interdisciplinary work our team has taken over the past 40 years – with governments, regulatory bodies, industry, fish farmers and supply chains – to tackle global problems of food security, hunger and sustainability.

‘Over the coming years, with investment through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, we will build upon these successes and further enhance our research and teaching offering to ensure that the Institute of Aquaculture remains a global leader in its field.’

This is the second time that Stirling has won the award – with the Institute for Social Marketing presented it in 2014.

Principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Stirling, Professor Gerry McCormac, said: ‘Everyone here at the University is thrilled to have won this highly prestigious honour in recognition of the internationally renowned research and teaching led by the Institute of Aquaculture.

‘Our experts are working to tackle global problems of food security, hunger and sustainability through aquaculture – and have a global reputation for teaching, world-class research, technological innovation and consultancy within the sector.

‘This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our team in the Institute, as well as within the wider university.’

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize, granted every two years, is managed by the Royal Anniversary Trust, established to create a national programme of educational activities and other events marking the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s accession in 1992, and in appreciation of her many years of service as head of state.

Sir Damon Buffini, chair of the trust, said: ‘The criteria are demanding and look for outstanding excellence in the chosen field, for innovation and for evidence of real public benefit.

‘Competition is strong and the award is a mark of high quality in education and training which is widely recognised internationally as well as in the UK.’