Annual Review 2022
"...a tribute to the sustained hard work of our remarkable students and staff, and the quality of the research-led teaching which sets this university apart from so many others. " - Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE
Introduction by the Principal
2022 was a year of transition for St Andrews, beginning, as it did for most, with the final measured steps out of the wearying restrictions of the Covid pandemic, but ending with a tangible sense of momentum, and the pursuit of new ideas and ambitions true to the spirit of our Homeric motto.
In a year punctuated by achievement and significant challenge, St Andrews was again named the top university in the UK, this time in The Guardian University Guide 2023, a tribute to the sustained hard work of our remarkable students and staff, and the quality of the research-led teaching which sets this university apart from so many others.
We launched a refreshed University Strategy 2022-2027, and its themes of World-leading, Diverse, Entrepreneurial, Sustainable, and Digital, underpinned by an abiding commitment to Social Responsibility, provide the canvas for this review.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) – a detailed analysis of the research strengths of all UK universities published in May – found that St Andrews excelled in a number of key research areas, including Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Art History, Anthropology, and Modern Languages. More than 88% of our research across all St Andrews Schools was judged world-leading or internationally excellent.
In a diverse, international community like ours, events in other parts of the world can feel very close to home. We experience them acutely, and react instinctively, when our friends, colleagues, and neighbours are directly impacted. St Andrews students rallied for an end to the illegal war in Ukraine, hundreds forming a line on West Sands; they demonstrated for Women.Life.Freedom in Iran; they campaigned for a faster, fuller response to the climate crisis.
Like almost every one of the UK’s universities, and many of those overseas, we faced an acute squeeze on private sector student accommodation, but managed to find beds for every student who sought our help, and are redoubling our efforts in 2023 to provide additional beds and reassurance on this front. We met the global cost-of-living crisis with a series of creative measures including discounted food, travel, additional student support, and access to warm spaces.
As the year drew to a close, we announced plans to create a world-leading Business School by bringing together our Schools of Management, and Economics and Finance. The new Business School will have a permanent home at New College in St Andrews. In December, we appointed architects WilkinsonEyre to this flagship university development.
Throughout the year, we have enjoyed the continuing generous support and encouragement of our worldwide community of alumni and supporters. As our new Strategy says, great universities must constantly move forward. Momentum is everything. I hope this brief review offers not only a record of the year just past, but a sense of where St Andrews is going.
Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
St Andrews at a glance
• 10,468 students
• 8,459 undergraduates
• 2,009 postgraduates
• 128 countries
• 96.5% of students enter employment or further study after graduation
• 2,995 staff
• 4 faculties
• 22 schools
• 30 units
Income up 8% to £313.7m
• Funding grants down £3.9m to £44.2m (due to a reduction in supplemental Covid-19 funding)
• Donations and endowments up £9.6m to £24.5m
• Research income up 22% to £53.3m
• Investment (for scholarships, bursaries and widening access) up £1.1m to £5m
World-leading St Andrews
In 2022, the University was ranked number one in the UK in The Guardian Good University Guide 2023 for the first time in the Guide’s history. It is the University’s highest ever ranking in the Guide and the first time in more than two decades that any university has been placed above those of Oxford and Cambridge.
The Guardian coined the term ‘Stoxbridge’ to describe what it says may be the new world order in UK university rankings.
In The QS World University rankings, we are ranked 96th globally, which is in the top 7% of institutions ranked by the leading international HE league table.
And, in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, St Andrews was ranked top university in Scotland and second in the UK, as well as being named Scottish University of the Year.
In April, the Scottish Council on Global Affairs (SCOGA) was launched in Edinburgh, a collaboration between the universities of St Andrews, Glasgow and Edinburgh to provide a non- partisan hub for the sharing of Scotland’s world-leading expertise. The Council received backing from both Scottish and UK Government Ministers as well as from across the political spectrum and wider civil society.
Meanwhile, in May, the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) showed that more than 88% of research carried out by the University of St Andrews is world-leading or internationally excellent.
The REF – a detailed analysis of the research strengths of all UK universities – found that St Andrews particularly excelled in a number of key research areas, including Physics, Earth Sciences, Art History, Anthropology, Modern Languages, and Chemistry, a joint submission to REF with the University of Edinburgh.
Our world-leading research in 2022 included studies on how people use sound, smell, taste and sight to interact with books and manuscripts; dolphins showing classic markers of human Alzheimer’s disease; chimps mastering a computerised world to find virtual fruit; and an interdisciplinary project on how war is represented in art, drama, text and music.
Our Development team once again hosted the very successful Global Burns Night, an online event allowing alumni, students, staff and friends from around the world to honour Scotland’s national Bard and celebrate with us.
The Wardlaw Musum hosted the fifteenth-century Hardyng Map, the first detailed map of Scotland, on loan from the British Library.
More than 1000 people from across St Andrews gathered on the West Sands to form a powerful line in the sand as a visible display of opposition to the war in Ukraine.
The world-leading Laidlaw Music Centre was officially opened with a launch for invited guests, donors, and members of the local communityDr Leyla Hussein OBE was installed as the University’s 54th Rector, the first black woman to hold the position.
The University hosted a ‘watershed’ international summit bringing together leading brain health and dementia researchers from across the globe with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and other organisations to form a partnershiop that could see Scotland leading the world in finding a cure for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Professor Sally Mapstone, Prinicipal and Vice-Chancellor, was elected as Convenor of Universities Scotland, the body that represents all 19 of Scotland’s Higher Education institutions.
In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sally Mapstone was made a DBE, while Director of Sport and Exercise Stephen Stewart, mathematician Dr Isobel Falconer, and Student Services Assistant Director Claire Lavelle each received an MBE.
In a bumper three weeks of summer graduation, the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 celebrated alongside honorands Scottish football legend Sir Kenny Dalglish; former National Security Council Director and Assistant to the President of the United States, Dr Fiona Hill; British diplomat and former HM Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Russian Federation, Dame Anne Pringle; award-winning author Sebastian Faulks; and Mercury Music Prize nominee King Creosote.
Some of the world’s best-loved golfers were honoured in a special ceremony ahead of the 150th Open Championship in St Andrews. Jack Nicklaus was given freedom of the town while Sandy Lyle, Lee Trevino, Sir Bob Charles, José María Olazábal and Catriona Matthew all received honorary degrees from the University.
The Scotland Rowing Team lifted the much-coveted trophy at the first Home International Rowing Beach Sprints event, hosted by Scottish Rowing and the University of St Andrews. The dynamic new race format involves a combination of sprinting and agility on both land and water.
The University was named top university in the UK in The Guardian University Guide 2023, moving ahead of Oxford and Cambridge.
In The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, the University was ranked top university in Scotland and second in the UK, and also named Scottish University of the Year.
The University’s Entrepreneurship Centre at Eden Campus was officially launched by entrepreneur and business start-up strategy expert Hugh Chappell. The Centre provides start-up and spin-out opportunities, practical entrepreneurial training courses and events.
The SETI Post-Detection Hub was launched, acting as a coordinating centre for global expertise to prepare humanity in the event we find out we are not along in the cosmos. Bringing together diverse expertise across sciences and the humanities, the Hub will set out impact assessments and protocols to enable a responsible response to alien encounters.
The University announced plans to create a world-leading Business School by bringing together its highly ranked Schools of Economics and Finance, and Management, under one new structure, to eventually occupy a single site at the former Madras College.
The Kaleidoscope Alumni Network was launched by our Development team – a pioneering project to celebrate the ethnic and cultural diversity of our alumni around the world.
Diverse St Andrews
In April, St Andrews welcomed Dr Leyla Hussein OBE as she participated in the traditional ‘Rector’s Drag’ and formal installation as the 54th Rector of the University. Dr Hussein, the University’s first black female rector, is a psychotherapist specialising in supporting survivors of sexual abuse, and an international lecturer on female genital mutilation.
In May we announced the appointment of the University’s first Vice-Principal for People and Diversity, Dr Rebekah Widdowfield. Dr Widdowfield began working on an ambitious portfolio which challenges St Andrews to embrace the changes we must make to become the truly diverse, inclusive, and supportive institution our strategic vision describes.
In September we published the outcome of an independent consultation to review the University’s approach to race and ethnicity. The report provides an objective assessment on where progress has been made and where further work is required to support constructive change in practice and culture. This is part of our work towards a Diverse St Andrews and preparations for applying for a Bronze Award under the Race Equality Charter framework early in 2024. The Charter work is being informed by a survey, which was conducted across the University towards the end of 2022.
The University’s Staff Disability Policy was published, providing guidance for staff and managers on the undertaking of adjustments and compliance, with a review being carried out with key contacts. Our Carer Positive Employer award at the highest ‘Exemplary’ level was renewed.
2022 also marked the second anniversary of officially becoming a University of Sanctuary with a series of events including a lecture and community consultation.
The University and the Students’ Association launched the Student Mental Health Agreement 2022-2024, a joint project which seeks to improve student health and wellbeing. Following a survey, key priority areas were identified: improving awareness of and access to support services, promoting academic wellbeing, supporting our diverse community, and creating rewarding wellbeing training opportunities.
In December, our Development team launched the Kaleidoscope Alumni Network, a pioneering project to celebrate the ethnic and cultural diversity of our alumni around the world. It will promote discussion and connections among the University’s diverse alumni, staff, and student communities to inspire and effect change in society.
Also in December, our School of Physics and Astronomy was awarded a Silver Athena Swan Award, taking the total number of awards to 20. Institutionally, we hold a Bronze Award (and are currently preparing an application for a Silver Award), while one school has a Gold Award, two hold a Silver, and 16 a Bronze Award.
Digital St Andrews
Digital is a new theme for the University Strategy 2022-27 and will bring about transformational change at our 600-year-old institution.
We are committed to broadening our digital education, enhancing the experience of our on-campus students, while bringing a St Andrews education to a much wider global community. We will also accelerate our research agenda using digital methods, renewing investment in our people and in specialist support.
Pre-Covid, St Andrews almost exclusively offered a traditional approach to in-person postgraduate education, with limited provision for part-time study and online study. Throughout the pandemic, like many institutions, we pivoted quickly to deliver high-quality education online, while continuing to take pride in our small-group teaching and the individual approach for our students.
Despite the difficulties, students saw the benefits that online delivery can bring, including the flexibility to learn where and when suits them, and access to high-quality digital resources which they can revisit whenever they need.
Post-Covid, we are embracing the learnings of the pandemic years, and refreshing our approach to accessing postgraduate study at St Andrews.
We are building ‘designed for online’ programmes where students are no longer required to join us in St Andrews, reducing the financial and personal costs of studying away from home and increasing the opportunity to stay in employment. These carefully constructed programmes enable self-paced study which empowers students to be successful while meeting existing commitments.
In 2022 we launched a range of tailored online courses including Health Professions Education, Data Science, Data Literacy for Social and Environmental Justice, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and International Education. There are options across PgCert, PgDip and MSc level.
Although our off-campus students may not be in St Andrews, they are still very much a part of our community, with access to support from academic staff, Student Services, and even one-to-one virtual music lessons from our world- leading Laidlaw Music Centre staff.
Our Development team provides several digital initiatives to our worldwide alumni community to help them keep in touch and continue to benefit from the St Andrews connection. This includes SaintConnect, our e-mentoring platform, which matches undergraduates with alumni working in an industry or sector in which they are interested, offering advice, support for their future careers and a series of global online community events.
Sustainable St Andrews
Eden Campus is at the forefront of the University’s strategic goal to be Net Zero by 2035 and being carbon neutral for energy is a significant step towards this goal.
In May, the Campus’ one-megawatt ground solar photovoltaic (PV) development was unveiled by Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Kate Forbes MSP. With a planned extension of the district heating network – which already pipes hot water from Eden Campus biomass plant to 48 University buildings and 3000 student rooms in St Andrews – and the solar farm, the expectation is that Eden Campus will be a carbon- neutral working environment within the next five years.
In June, it was announced that the University is leading on a transformative new programme, endorsed bythe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to address the effects of climate change on the ocean. Our Global Ocean Decade Programme for Blue Carbon (GO-BC) is one of four major programmes unveiled and will focus on the role of blue carbon ecosystems across estuarine, coastal, and open ocean environments for better ocean sustainability.
Meanwhile, our innovative hydrogen train project successfully completed its final phase of testing. This project has provided valuable insights for the Scottish Government and industrial partners to meet ambitious Net Zero carbon targets. We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government, scaling up hydrogen use for transportation alongside other applications across Scottish society.
Staff and students took part in planting new sections of the St Andrews Forest, as well as the Meadows in the Making project. These are creating new habitats in and around St Andrews to support wildlife and biodiversity. The new Forest locations at Kinkell and Cambo were planted with native broadleaved trees and form part of the Queen’s Green Canopy. The free staff Go E-bike scheme was extended to Eden Campus, as well as the Gateway building, the Scottish Oceans Institute, College Gate and the Observatory Workshop. The bikes can be used for work trips or daily commuting.
Looking further afield, the University welcomed a delegation of academics from Ghana as part of the British Council-funded Innovation for African Universities programme, which aims to stimulate the bioscience sector across Sub-Saharan Africa, helping it develop ground-breaking solutions to issues including food and energy production.
In November, we unveiled the winner of the 2022 St Andrews Prize for the Environment – Misión Tiburón. The community-based project received US $100,000 to protect and restore blue carbon sinks in the Hammerhead Shark Sanctuary in Costa Rica.
Entrepreneurial St Andrews
Entrepreneurial St Andrews is rapidly gaining prominence as a core activity in the University, enabling regeneration locally and transformation nationally.
As such, the University is investing in Eden Campus to establish a regional focus for innovation. The Entrepreneurship Centre was officially launched in October, with angel investor Hugh Chappell giving a keynote speech to mark the opening of the new centre at Walter Bower House.
The Centre provides start-up and spin-out opportunities, practical entrepreneurial training courses, and a full calendar of events for the University community and non-University members, including Lunch & Learn workshops, regular pitching sessions and a Speaker Series. The Centre also provides support to University spin-outs.
One such spin-out is X-Genix Ltd, led by Professor Rebecca Goss from the School of Chemistry, which won the 2022 Converge Challenge, Scotland’s leading entrepreneurial development competition for aspiring academic entrepreneurs.
Professor Goss and X-Genix, which involves precision molecule editing to enable accelerated drug discovery, received £50,000 in equity-free cash and £19,750 of in-kind business support from Converge’s industry partners, as well as business training and pitch coaching. Dr Ross Gillanders, from the School of Physics and Astronomy, was also a finalist with his Lightwater Sensors enterprise.
There was good news, too, for SolOLED, a tech spin-out company from the University that develops emitter materials for solution-processed organic light- emitting diodes (SP-OLEDs), vital in every day consumer electronics such as TVs and monitors. SolOLED received a £237,000 funding boost from Scottish Enterprise and CENSIS.
In August the Royal Academy of Engineering awarded one of its five prestigious Young Engineer of the Year prizes to Dr Robert Hammond, Lecturer in Infection and Global Health in the School of Medicine, in recognition of his work on a tool which rapidly identifies that antibiotics are effective against infections.
Dr Gosia Mitka, Associate Dean Education (Arts and Divinity), and Dr Shruti Narayanswamy, our Entrepreneurial Education Developer at the Centre for Educational Enhancement and Development (CEED), won prizes at the 2022 National Enterprise Educator Awards organised by Enterprise Educators UK. The awards recognise excellence within enterprise and entrepreneurship education in UK higher and further education. Dr Mitka won in the ‘Pioneer in Enterprise Education’ category and Dr Narayanswamy was awarded ‘Rising Star in Enterprise Education’.
Socially Responsible St Andrews
In 2022, the University Community Fund supported 32 local projects, to the sum of £56,908. These included Craigrothie Village Hall’s Drop-In Tuesday coffee and cake sessions; enhancing outdoor space at Cupar Kids Club, including chairs suitable for disabled users; and an enclosed children’s park at Lochgelly United Amateur Football Club for children to play safely while attending matches.
In January, the Principal’s Office launched an initiative entitled Scotland’s Future Series. Staff and students were encouraged to apply for funding to support projects that enhance discussion and debate on issues pertinent to Scotland’s future. The panel approved 15 projects during 2022, including the Scotland’s Future Series podcast, featuring conversations on issues of international significance including the war in Ukraine and the political situation in Iran, as well as University initiatives such as the University Community Fund and cost-of-living support.
In February, the St Andrews community gathered in solidarity with all those affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. St Salvator’s Quad was lit up blue and yellow and the crowd heard from speakers including students from Ukraine studying in St Andrews and University Chaplain Revd Dr Donald MacEwan.
The following month more than 1000 people from across St Andrews gathered on West Sands to form a powerful line in the sand as a visible display of opposition to the war in Ukraine and the aggression of the Russian government, as a response to President Zelensky’s call for worldwide rallies. Later in the year, one of Ukraine’s leading MPs, Lesia Vasylenko, visited the University and met with Ukrainian students and took part in a public event with the Head of the School of International Relations and Professor of Strategic Studies, Phillips O’Brien.
In October, around 300 staff members, students and members of the local community gathered on Lower College Lawn to take part in a rally and vigil in support of women and protesters in Iran.
Students taking part in the annual Raisin Monday foam fight in October donated five boxes of food items to the local food bank as their ‘payment’ to academic parents for their mentoring and support.
The University also achieved a Fairtrade University award in recognition of its commitment to ethical and sustainable consumption.
In November, our cost-of-living taskforce, comprising students and staff, announced a series
of measures to help staff and students. We partnered with bus company Stagecoach to provide bus travel for staff – and students not eligible for the Scottish Government’s free travel for the under-22s – at a discount of 75%. We also boosted our student discretionary funds by more than £1.5 million.
The Students’ Association produced a comprehensive guide with links to sources of support, advice, discounts, and practical tips for managing budgets and staying warm. All cafés in University buildings began offering a subsidised 50% discount on hot and cold meal deals.
In summer, St Andrews was awash with celebrations as the Classes of 2022, 2021 and 2020 gathered for three weeks of graduations. Over 12 days there were 26 ceremonies with 5090 students from more than 80 countries, 22 honorands, 15 garden parties, seven Principal’s Medals, four pipers and 88,002 fudge doughnuts and pastries. In winter, we also hosted two days of graduations. Picture shows football legend Sir Kenny Dalglish, who was awarded a Doctor of Laws in summer for his contribution to football, charity and wider society.
People make St Andrews
Highlighting just a few of the personal, professional and team achievements of our staff and students in 2022:
Pictured: Top teachers were recognised by colleagues and students at the Teaching Excellence Awards 2022. Winners from 2020 and 2021 were also invited to the ceremony, the first since the pandemic.
Karen Dryburgh, Security Officer in Estates, became the first woman to carry one of the University maces at graduation.
A collective of piano scholars and students took part in a rare relay performance at the University’s Laidlaw Music Centre, lasting four hours and featuring four grand pianos.
An anthem by Sir James Macmillan, Professor of Theology and Music in the School of Divinity, was sung at the Queen’s funeral service. The anthem, Who Shall Separate Us?, was specially commissioned for the event.
Professor Rebecca Goss from the School of Chemistry, won the 2022 Converge Challenge with her spin-out enterprise X-Genix Ltd, which involves precision molecule editing to enable accelerated drug discovery.
Saints Golf, the student golf first team, were crowned champions in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) National, bringing the BUCS Match Play Team Golf Championship cup back to the Home of Golf for the first time since 2017.
Professor Jo Sharp was appointed Geographer Royal for Scotland, to promote geography in Scotland, champion Scottish geography internationally and develop ‘geographical thinking’ within public life.
Research and projects at St Andrews
Just a snapshot of some our world-leading research, from dolphins to chimps and an encyclopaedia of theology.
A team at St Mary’s College (the School of Divinity) is building a free-to-access, online encyclopaedia of theology, a peer-reviewed academic resource that engages with the best of theological scholarship, incorporating all major religious traditions and aiming to become the definitive resource of its field.
Dr Laura Maitland’s research on injuries sustained by civilian victims of blasts and ballistics incidents in Afghanistan could be key to providing standardised surgical responses to any future major trauma incidents, including acts of terror and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Chimpanzees can find their way through a computerised world to find virtual fruit using touchscreen technology, according to new research led by the School of Psychology and Neuroscience.
Dolphins have a unique sense of taste that allows them to identify family and friends without seeing or hearing them, a study by a team at our Scottish Oceans Institute found.
School of English lecturer and author Dina Nayeri, a former refugee, published a book entitled The Waiting Place which tells the stories of ten young people, aged 5-17, in a refugee camp in Greece. Dina visited schools across the UK distributing free copies of her book and talking with children, fostering empathy for displaced people from an early age.