Deputy First Minister visits University of Glasgow research station

Published: 18 February 2013

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP visited the University of Glasgow’s centre for ecology and environmental sciences, at Rowardennan, Loch Lomond, for the launch of the ambitious European project IBIS.

Today (Monday 18 February) Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP visited the University of Glasgow’s centre for ecology and environmental sciences, at Rowardennan, Loch Lomond, for the launch of the ambitious European project IBIS.

Academics from the University of Glasgow welcomed the Deputy First Minister to the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (SCENE) where they explained its role in the EU INTERREG IVA-funded IBIS project and the major £3m expansion of the facility.

Nicola Sturgeon SCENE visit

‌IBIS is an £8m collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast and the Loughs Agency, aimed at protecting aquatic resources across Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. IBIS develops a common approach to the delivery of high priority training, research and knowledge sharing, to promote freshwater and marine resource management and policy, and to protect the biodiversity that these ecosystems support.

The IBIS project, alongside donations received by the University, funds a major addition to SCENE’s facilities. The Deputy First Minister inspected the first phase of SCENE’s redevelopment – the research wing. In November last year, construction work began on a new phase to expand facilities for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. The new expansion project will create a new lecture theatre, teaching laboratory, specialist stores and accommodation for 45 students and teachers.

During her visit, the Deputy First Minister heard from Professor Colin Adams of the University of Glasgow, the director of SCENE, how the expansion will be a springboard for new research from academics at the University’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine.

Professor Adams said: “Exciting new projects that will be given a boost include work on the ecology of Lyme disease, the response of natural habitats to environmental change, how living organisms keep track of time, and the evolutionary processes which have led to high levels of diversity in freshwater systems.

“When SCENE was established 70 years ago there was no equivalent research centre in the UK. Generations of researchers from a wide range of disciplines have developed our understanding of Scotland’s diverse and fascinating natural environment and helped the centre build an enviable international reputation.

“When construction of our new facilities is completed next year we’ll be well-placed to ensure that we can maintain our high quality of research and train more graduates to work in skilled environmental jobs. We’ll also be able to increase our outreach activities to help school students, the public and visitors to Loch Lomond National Park develop a greater appreciation and understanding of Scotland’s precious natural resources.”

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The University of Glasgow has a global reputation for spearheading world class research.

“I recognise the distinct contribution being made by the University to the European-funded £8 million IBIS project, in partnership with other institutions from Ireland and Northern Ireland.

"It is important that we capitalise on Scotland's strengths. This investment reinforces our reputation as a dynamic and innovative nation.”

Lorraine McCourt, Joint Technical Secretariat Director at the Special EU Programmes Body, said: “We can see here at first hand how, by using EU funding, the IBIS project partners are collaborating in 12 doctoral and 34 masters projects to deliver a total of 70 researcher-years of applied study, 16 Continuing Professional Development courses and 12 Knowledge Transfer workshops by 2015. This will create an important legacy of expertise in sustainable aquatic resources management on a cross-border basis throughout Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.” 


For more information contact Ross Barker in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 8593 or email


Notes to Editors:

The expansion of SCENE is part-sponsored by IBIS, which stands for Integrated Aquatic Resources Management Between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and by donations received by the University. IBIS is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the University of Glasgow.

SCENE was established by the University in 1946 and is Scotland’s foremost field centre for ecology and environmental sciences. Over the years, SCENE has offered world-class undergraduate and postgraduate education. Researchers have made major contributions to the understanding of ecosystems of relevance to both the local Scottish environment and to current global biology.

Currently, SCENE offers residential accommodation for visiting groups training in ecological subjects and high-quality accommodation for researchers.  Training facilities include a well equipped lecture and laboratory space, teaching aids and field sampling equipment. In-house boat handlers and a variety of craft provide access to Loch Lomond and research facilities include wet and dry laboratory space, aquarium systems and access to a wide range of freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems.

The expansion of SCENE’s facilities is being carried out by Clark Contracts using sustainable materials to create an energy-efficient space. The expansion project follows an initial phase of construction in 2007 which put in place the current research wing.

For more information on SCENE, visit

For more information on the IBIS Project, visit

The European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme is designed to support cross border co-operation, social cohesion and economic development between regions of the EU. The Northern Ireland/Ireland programme is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and covers all of Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland. It aims to address the economic and social disadvantage that can result from the existence of a border.

For more information go to

First published: 18 February 2013