Penguins, beer and economic development…

Professor Paul Hare from our Accountancy, Economics & Finance Department spent two weeks in July in the Falkland Islands, working on a project for the EU concerned with evaluating the last two aid programmes in the Falklands funded by the EU. He writes for us below about his time there.

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Climbing the learning ladder

Though you might come to Heriot-Watt as an undergrad, the journey doesn’t have to stop there. Several of our undergrad and masters students go on to further study or research with the University, and even begin a career here!

Gordon Jack is currently working within the Pre-Sessional English Admissions team in SoSS. Indeed, he is no stranger to the university, having studied at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level here.

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SoSS Psychology students “Research the Headlines”

Alan Gow from our Psychology department, has written for us on “Research the Headlines”, a fascinating blog project enabling students to develop their critical thinking skills and ability to disseminate their growing knowledge. Well done to the students involved in showcasing their work!

In our teaching, we want to ensure that our students not only get a firm grasp of their topic, but that they develop a range of skills that might be relevant after they graduate. For students in the 4th Year course Psychology of Ageing, one of the pieces of coursework helped them to develop their abilities in communicating their specialised knowledge. Their task was to describe an original research report exploring how lifestyle affects brain health in a manner accessible to non-experts, as well as evaluating the media coverage of the research. At the end of June, Research the Headlines showcased some of that work.

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What can Blackpool donkeys teach us about exercise

Neil Gibson, Director of Sport, Performance and Health at Oriam: Scotland’s sports performance centre, and Programme Director within the School of Social Sciences recently published a paper looking at optimising recovery between intense periods of work. Here he explains how exercise and interdisciplinary research might help us organise and optimise how allowing people to choose their own recovery lengths might be something worth considering.

Director of Performance, Sport and Health for Oriam

High intensity training is in vogue. It’s being prescribed in CrossFit gyms to exercise classes and interventions designed to help people battle diabetes and manage their weight. But what exactly is it? Generally speaking, the ‘exercise’ part is prescribed using resistance training (lifting weights or moving your body in space), cycling, running or rowing either outside or on specially designed ergometers. The intensity, which is how hard the exercise is or is perceived to be, is often individualised in an attempt to make the stimulus more effective, as is the length of each repetition, from 30 seconds to four minutes. It is fair to say that there has been a reasonable amount of research done around how best to prescribe these bouts of exercise, however, in contrast, relatively little regarding how best to schedule recovery periods. Whether we are involved in periods of intense work in our jobs or during exercise, how we recover is paramount to how effective we are likely to be.
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10 Fun Facts About Our Beloved City!

Are you thinking of studying in Edinburgh? Is Clearing the route you are taking into University? Seize the opportunity with both hands and choose Edinburgh as your city to study in. As proud ‘Dunediners’ (the old name for Edinburgh is Dunedin) the SoSS Recruitment and Marketing team have created some fun little-known-facts about the city they live, learn and work in. If this is the city you choose to study in, Edinburgh is brilliant and here are some reasons why!

1: Edinburgh hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1972: in the Usher Hall (which is a beautiful venue on Lothian Road).

2: Edinburgh appears in Grand Theft Auto! (Rockstar North have their Head Office here) and they featured the two bridges: the Forth Rail Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge in GTA: San Andreas, we wonder if they will update this with the new third bridge the Queensferry Crossing…?

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The brain before the body

Dr Anna Sedda, Assistant Professor in our Psychology Department, recently published a paper on the importance of working with the mind as well as the body when managing recovery from spinal cord injury. Here she talks through the role of the brain in our perceptions of the body and its abilities.

You are your body. What a silly sentence, right? Of course we have a physical body that belongs to us and we use to drink coffee or, if you are not as lazy as myself, to go for a walk. The interesting thing is that our body is not only “physical”: we do also have a mental representation of it. This cognitive function is called body representation, and is ruled by our brain activity. Even more importantly, this body representation contributes to a great deal to our self-identity.
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LINCS launches languages app

An exciting new application has been launched by our Languages and Intercultural Studies department, enabling new migrants to learn the language of their host country and familiarise themselves with culture-specific vocabulary and concepts; thereby potentially removing some barriers to integration. The Moving Languages app is the result of an EU-funded project led by Finnish organisation Learnmera Oy, with LINCS at Heriot-Watt as one of the partners.

Free to download on iOS and Android, the app is user-friendly, versatile and comprehensive, providing a gamified language- and culture-learning tool. It contains 4000+ illustrated vocabulary items for easy concept recognition, grammar exercises, flashcards, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, culture, administration, health and immigration tabs, dialogues with audio, audio spelling and comprehension tests and many other features. The app covers topics that are essential during the first steps of living in the host country.

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Banning disposable plastics – not a simple solution

Professor Kate Sang, Professor of Gender and Employment Studies and Disability in SoSS’ Business Management Department, was recently recruited to the Scottish Government expert panel on single use plastics. in this blog, she argues that “ban plastic straws” is a simplistic and potentially ineffectual tool in the fight against ocean pollution, which may harm and disadvantage disabled people.

Following the broadcast of Blue Planet 2, there has been an increasing interest amongst the general public on how to reduce ocean plastics. Images of a turtle with a plastic straw stuck in his or her nostril, a seahorse carrying a cotton bud and marine mammals caught in fishing nets have understandably upset viewers. We can see increased efforts on behalf of communities to clear up their beaches, and charities such as Surfers against Sewage have seen increased interest in their work. Emma Shepherd reported in The Guardian that school children have been so moved by images of marine life in distress that they are putting pressure on their parents to change their use single use plastics.

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SoSS Graduations 2018 – Celebrating Success Day 3

We’ve enjoyed sharing stories of our SoSS Graduation Prizewinners this week, and reflecting on the excitement of last week’s ceremonies.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing photos and videos of the graduates across all our four departments – so follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Today is the last in our Prizewinner series, but very much not the least. Both today’s featured students are from our Languages and Intercultural Studies Department. Anna Spence and Hana Smith, who have both graduated with first class degrees in Interpreting and Translating.

Anna Spence

Anna Spence came to Heriot-Watt University with no knowledge of British Sign Language, but is leaving with a first class MA (Hons) in Languages (Interpreting and Translating), having studied both German and BSL. She has also won the Thomas Braidwood Award, which is given to a student who has shown outstanding commitment to achieving excellence in BSL. Anna has participated in many opportunities to practice her interpreting and translating skills during her time at Heriot-Watt, including the CIUTI 2018 Annual Conference, and our own annual Multilingual Debate. In this short video, she talks about her studies and future plans.

Hana Smith

Hana Smith also graduated last week with a first class MA (Hons) in Languages (Interpreting and Translating), having studied French and Spanish. Hana had the honour of being selected to receive this year’s Fiona Watson Memorial Award. The Award keeps alive the memory and work of Fiona Watson, an alumni of Heriot-Watt who graduated with a first class honours degree graduate in languages. Fiona who was one of 22 peacekeepers killed in a terrorist attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003, while she was working as a Political Adviser to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.

The Award supports an outstanding languages student to take up an internship at the UN – which is what Hana is going on to do. We wish Hana well with this incredible opportunity and know she will go on to make a difference in the world with the languages skills she has developed at Heriot-Watt. Well done Hana.

SoSS Graduations 2018 – Celebrating Success Day 2

It was a great privilege to be involved in the SoSS graduations last week; to see our students looking so smart, with proud families by their side. All of our graduates have done so well, and we enjoyed hearing their stories of what they’re going to go on to do next (with the hope that we see quite a few back for post-grad studies!)

Yesterday we profiled two of our Accountancy, Economics and Finance prize-winning graduates, and today it’s the turn of Ammara Imtiaz, a Psychology graduate, and Yadah Maposa, who graduated in Business Law last week.

Ammara Imtiaz

Ammara Imtiaz, SoSS Graduate, who won the British Psychological Society prize this year!

Ammara graduated last week with a BSc Psychology with Human Health with Honours of the First Class – well done, Ammara! She also received the British Psychological Society Undergraduate Award, which is given by the BPS to the student with the highest overall average. She spoke to our Marketing Officer, Daniel, about her time and studies at Heriot-Watt, and her surprise at receiving the award!


Yadah Maposa

Yadah Maposa, who graduated last week with a Master of Arts in International Business Management with Business Law with Honours of the First Class

We love hearing about the different ways in which SoSS students intend to go out there and change the world. And in this, Yadah Maposa definitely fits the bill. Yadah graduated last week with a first class MA in International Business Management with Business Law. She also won the Lord Penrose prize, which is awarded to the student with the highest mark in a Business Law programme. Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to get Yadah’s video up here, but this is what she told us:

“My name’s Yadah Maposa and I studied International Business Management with Business Law and I’m also this year’s prizewinner for the Lord Penrose Prize, which I’m so honoured to have received. After university, I plan to start an NGO in Africa. I’m from Zimbabwe, so I really want to help children in that area who have not had as many opportunities as I have had. I believe that this university and my degree have fully equipped me to take on that mission.”