Docs@The Byre: Celebrating the Cinematic Documentary

Documentaries don’t just inform us about the world. They inspire, delight, and immerse us in the world.  They engage and exhilarate with their stories, characters, images, and sounds. They take us places we haven’t even imagined of going. And yet, documentary gets a bad rap. People treat it like the broccoli of the film kingdom: good for you but not necessarily pleasurable— more talking heads for the telly than a spectacle at the cinema. By showing compelling documentaries on the big screen and holding conversations with documentary professionals and scholars, Docs@TheByre sets the record straight.  After all, documentaries may have something to teach us but there’s also a lot we can learn about documentary— and should learn in this age of ‘post-truth’.

Location: Byre Studio

Free but ticketed – see the full list of events below


Wednesday, 6 February, 5pm: Donkeyote (Chico Pereira/ 2017/Germany-UK-Spain / 86min)

Manolo has a simple life in Southern Spain and two loves: his animals, in particular his donkey Gorrión (“Sparrow”), and wandering through nature. Against the advice of his doctor, he decides to plan one last walk in the US, the brutal 2200 mile Trail of Tears. But not without his donkey. Overcoming the small obstacle of shipping a donkey, Manolo’s chronic arthritis, a history of heart attacks, and Gorrión’s fear of water are just a few matters to take care of. As their adventure continues, Manolo’s wondrous friendship with his animals finds a beautiful equilibrium. Will they find the American West? More importantly, will they be able to see life as it is, and not as it should be?

WINNER: Best Documentary – Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017

NOMINATED: Best Feature – BAFTA Scotland 2017

Q&A with Flore Cosquer (Scottish Documentary Institute)


Wednesday, 27 March, 5pm: Time Trial (Finlay Pretsell/ 2018/UK/82min)

Time Trial gives us an exhilarating and terrifying place in the race, providing an immersive experience as close to actually competing as you will ever see on film. David Millar, shrouded in darkness, declares an intention to rise again. A sensory ride through the thrill and hardship of professional cycling. We are hurtled off a hillside, details blurring like watercolours. The euphoria and the fatigue, the highs and the lows. It’s as if it were ourselves struggling through the bumpy roads of France. David bluntly and fearlessly narrates his last season in the saddle, intimate and immediate, along with the intricate relationships of cyclist, road crew, fellow competitors, manic fans, and the media circus surrounding it all.

WINNER: Best Editing-Documentary – RiverRun International Film Festival 2018

NOMINATED: Best Documentary – Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018

Q&A with Finlay Pretsell (Director)


Wednesday, 24 April, 5pm: Piano to Zanskar (Michal Sulima/ 2018/UK/86min)

Retired piano tuner Desmond O’Keeffe embarks on a quest to bring an upright piano to a primary school in the isolated village of Lingshed, located in the Himalayas, 14,000 feet about sea level. If successful, it will be the highest piano delivery in history. Join Desmond, his companions, plus some yaks and ponies on this delightful, beautiful, and occasionally harrowing journey.

NOMINATED: Audience Award – Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018

Q&A with Michal Sulima (Director) and Jarek Kotomski (Producer)


Wednesday, 22 May, 5pm: Syrian Stories: Female Voice (Various/2017/UK-Syria/62 min)

Women in Syria have not only borne the brunt of the country’s lengthy civil war, they have been marginalised and rendered invisible, despite their huge contribution to the struggle. Yet, few of the stories are told by them. In this collection of short films presented by the Scottish Documentary Institute in collaboration with the British Council and Bidayyat, female Syrian filmmakers share their experience and perspective being a refugee in neighbouring countries: Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Q&A with Programme Mentor, Noe Mendelle (Scottish Documentary Institute)

What Difference Does It Make? Philosophy’s Impact Beyond Philosophy

2nd CEPPA Graduate Conference in Moral and Political Philosophy  

8-10 February 2019 in St Andrews, Edgecliffe 104

The second CEPPA Graduate Conference provides a platform for early-career moral and political philosophers to discuss their work in a constructive and friendly environment.

The conference is open to all, and we especially encourage you to attend if you are not studying philosophy at university but are interested in moral and political philosophy nonetheless.

This year, the theme of our conference focuses on the question what impact philosophy can and should have beyond academia. We are asking our speakers to explain how society might benefit from better understanding their topic, and how their research can make a difference.

We are especially delighted to have Carrie Jenkins (University of British Columbia) delivering a talk on how to be a public philosopher. Everyone interested in making an impact with philosophy is very welcome to attend.

For more information, please see the full schedule.

The Carnegie Trust’s New Research Workshop Funding scheme

The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland is piloting a new scheme during academic year 2018-19: Carnegie Research Workshop. The Trust expects to fund up to three workshops during this initial phase.

This scheme aims to support the advancement of new research ideas and the exchange of skills and expertise by funding the organisation and delivery of research workshop programmes addressing issues at the forefront of current scientific, technological, environmental, intellectual, cultural or societal developments. Proposed workshops should focus on a topic of key relevance both to Scotland and globally with the aim of enabling the Scottish academic community to develop and strengthen its international leadership position.

By instigating sustained and focused discussion between researchers, the Carnegie Research Workshops will facilitate the exploration of topics that have both substantial importance and clear common ground for further collaborative work with new national and international partners.

Download the workshop brief and regulations.

Application method

Interested researchers should first submit an Expression of Interest through the Trust’s online application portal, available from 1st November 2018. There is no set deadline to submit an Expression of Interest but we invite potential applicants to contact the Trust before applying to discuss their workshop idea with the Trust.

The Ethics of Engagement: Research, Knowledge Exchange and the Military Sector

11am-1.30 pm, 11th December, 2018 in The Byre Studio

Organised by Alice König on behalf of the Visualising War Research Group.

The aim: This short workshop will bring together interested academics to debate the opportunities, challenges, goals and ethical issues involved in building collaborative relationships between researchers and military personnel/organisations/campaign groups. We will also discuss knowledge-exchange and research-outreach on military matters more generally (e.g. the glorification of war, the promotion of peace). Participants will have the opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas, without any pressure to find consensus. The discussion will open with short presentations by three academic staff (Dr Kenneth Mavor, Dr Laura Mills, and Dr Roddy Brett) with recent experience of knowledge-exchange/research-outreach in military contexts or on military topics. One aim of the workshop is to support researchers conducting/negotiating knowledge-exchange partnerships at present; another is to help researchers to think creatively and ethically about impact opportunities in the future.

This workshop is open to PGR and PGT students as well as academic staff. A light lunch will be provided.

To book, please sign up here.

To register dietary requirements, please contact

The deadline for registration is 5pm, Monday 3rd December.

SFC Official Development Assistance GCRF 2018-20 internal call

This call is open for applications for projects spanning 1-3 years.

St Andrews SFC ODA GCRF Guidance & Application Form 2018-19

Please send completed application forms to by Thursday 8th November 2018.

The University has recently secured funding through the Scottish Funding Council for FY 2018-19 as part of a 3-year strategy for longer-term projects to support cutting-edge research that promotes the economic development and well-being of countries on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

The OECD DAC list is available on:
The University is committed to supporting projects that are intended to make a real difference to the lives of people in ODA countries, particularly in countries on the Least Developed, Low Income and Lower Middle Income DAC list[1].

The aim is to develop strong and enduring partnerships between the University and developing-country researchers to enhance the research and innovation capacity of both and to deliver substantial impact on improved social welfare, economic development, and environmental sustainability.

The funding will support projects spanning 1-3 years. Projects must have incremental milestones with associated budgets, which must include yearly milestones for projects over 12 months, as funding will be distributed on a yearly basis. This funding will be open to new and existing applicants to SFC GCRF funding from all disciplines; interdisciplinary applications and proposals led by post-doctoral researchers seeking to establish St-Andrews and Scotland-wide collaborations will be particularly welcome. Projects are expected to be in the region of £5-60k for 2018-19, but we anticipate that the majority of awards will be at the lower end of the range.

Applications are welcome from researchers who may not previously have considered the applicability of their work to development issues.

 Priority umbrella themes are:

  • Energy and innovation
  • Global health and inequality
  • Sustainability and environmental change

Sustainable livelihoods, promoting justice and humanitarian action, and secure and sustainable food systems are relevant to each theme and, in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) priorities, cross-cutting issues of gender equity and rapid urbanization should also be considered.

Acceptable use of funds includes supporting:

  • Capacity and capability building in the UK and developing countries (including strengthening partnership with DAC countries across Scotland).
  • Visiting fellowships for colleagues from DAC listed countries (including those from academic, third sector, commercial and policy-focused institutions)
  • Challenge-led interdisciplinary and collaborative research activity
  • Pump-priming activities to under-pin GCRF bids to other funders, including relationship building
  • Generating impact from research both within and beyond the sector
  • Rapid response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need
  • PhD studentships supporting scholars from countries on the DAC list can be outlined in the longer-term proposals but will not be made available until 2019 at the earliest.

Activities should align with the GCRF Strategy and BEIS ODA Statement of Intent which were published at the end of June 2017:

The UK Aid Strategy recognised that research and innovation has a critical role to play in tackling global challenges which most significantly impact upon developing countries. The report identifies the following major drivers of today’s development challenges:

  • The youth bulge
  • Urbanisation
  • Global health security
  • Fragility and conflict
  • Climate change

Funding will prioritise those areas that have the strongest pathways to impact and where there is the strongest demonstrable expertise to deliver maximum benefits to the global poor. Applications should therefore include anticipated outcomes and project aims and explain how these are directly and primarily relevant to addressing the problems of developing countries.

We encourage applicants, especially those applying for the first time to GRCRF funding, to seek advice from members of the St Andrews Global Challenge Forum by contacting in the first instance.

The deadlines for applications is Thursday 8th November 2018 although rapid response applications can be made at a later date provided the spend date of 30th June 2019 can be met. Please email applications to

All spend on the grant must be completed by 30th June 2019.

The fund is not intended to support the following costs:

  • Buy-out of time or salary costs for permanent academic staff
  • Estates and indirect costs or other overheads
  • Short falls from FEC funded research
  • PhD student fees
  • Publisher costs associated with Open Access

[1] DAC_List_ODA_Recipients2018to2020_flows_En

Arclight in Rwanda

Arclight and a traditional ophthalmoscope

The Global Health Team from the School of Medicine recently completed a national eye care training and distribution exercise in Rwanda utilizing the Arclight solar powered ophthalmoscope. The team, led by Dr Andrew Blaikie (Senior Lecturer and Consultant Ophthalmologist), delivered the training in collaboration with the Rwandan Ophthalmic Clinical Officers & Cataract Surgeons Society. The University of St Andrews KE & Impact fund and the Gelsenkirchen Rotary Club of Germany funded the initiative.

The Arclight is a low-cost solar-powered direct ophthalmoscope developed by William J. Williams, an optometrist and Honorary Research Fellow in the Global Health Team. The latest Mk 3 version of the device was distributed and along with new simulation training eyes marked a double first for the Arclight team and Rwandan eye care.

Arclight SIM eyes

All 130 of the clinical officers in Rwanda received an Arclight device and vision-testing tools along with a training package delivered in the five main regions of the country. Six Rwandan clinical officers attended a ‘training the trainers’ session on day one. The newly trained trainers then successfully led the education programme while being supported by the Global Health Arclight Team.

Trained Arclight Rwandan trainers

We anticipate the initiative to impact positively on eye care in the country as the ophthalmic clinical officers serve the entire population of the 12 million people living in Rwanda and perform over 500,000 consultations per year.

The team also met a number of leaders in health and eye care in Rwanda including the Assistant Minister of Health, the Vice Principal of the University of Rwanda, the country director for ‘Vision for a Nation’, the Dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences, the Vice-President of the College of Ophthalmologists and the lead for the Rwandan International Institute of Ophthalmology.

Based on the success of this initiative, future training and distribution exercises are being planned in Rwanda in collaboration with the School of Medicine and the College of Allied Health Sciences.

For information on the research associated with the project click here.

Advanced Manufacturing in Fife

As part of our campaign to assist Advanced Manufacturing in Fife, Fife Council Economic Development, Centre for Engineering Education and Development (CeeD) and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Services are inviting you to join us for an Introduction to Industry 4.0 on Tuesday 11th September 2018 from 8:15am to 10:45am at The Enterprise Hub Fife, 1st Floor, 1 Falkland Gate, Glenrothes, KY7 5NS.

The world of manufacturing is experiencing rapid advances in digital technologies that are transforming the way we design, build and sell our products and services. New business models are creating opportunities for businesses to improve productivity and profitability.

Industry 4.0, 4IR, Smart Manufacturing, Manufacturing 4.0. Whatever term you’re familiar with, they all mean the same thing: the integration of traditional manufacturing processes with digital technologies to connect products, people, plant, business and supply chains together.

To ensure Scottish businesses are well placed to grow and earn higher income from this revolution a large amount of support has been made available to them through Scottish Enterprise and newly created Innovation Centres. This event is designed to introduce companies to the topic and make them aware of the support that they can access.

To register

KE & Impact Fund 2018-19

The University of St Andrews KE & Impact Fund is open to University of St Andrews academic staff.

The fund targets projects based on research conducted (solely or jointly) which enhance the institution’s achieved impact.

The funding prioritises activities that would not be eligible or covered by follow-on grant funding, RCUK Impact Accelerator Accounts or other similar sources of funding.

Calls are open to all disciplines and interdisciplinary projects are welcomed.

(a) Main KE & Impact Awards, including PhD Internships

Suggested applications from £2,500 to £12,500
Deadlines for proposals:

  • 3 October 2018
  • 13 March 2019

(b) Small KE & Impact Awards

Suggested applications from £500 to £2,500
Deadlines for proposals:

  • 3 October 2018
  • 21 November 2018
  • 23 January 2019
  • 13 March 2019
  • 1 May 2019
  • 19 June 2019
    Contingency and rapid response requests are welcome at any point.

KE and Impact Fund Application Guidance & Application
Useful tips for applications

Completed applications should be submitted by the School/Departmental Director of Impact with a statement of support to

Resistance to root knot nematodes in rice

Crossing of rice varieties in the breeding process

Asia is the main rice-growing region of the world and is responsible for about 90% of global rice production. Rice is the staple food for more than 50% of the population in Asia, a figure that can reach up to 70% for Southern regions of this continent including least developed countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. Prof. John Jones in the School of Biology and colleagues from the James Hutton Institute are working on the development of rice cultivars resistant to the rice root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne graminicola, a damaging pathogen which is increasing in prevalence and importance due to climate change and evolution of agricultural practices. Along with researchers from France and Vietnam, they are working to identify informative sequence differences that will be used to develop markers that are genetically associated with nematode resistance. Markers generated in this project will be fed into Vietnamese rice breeding programmes to ensure that the developed cultivars are relevant in a local context to promote economic development for the local growers by decreasing the yield losses caused by the pathogenic nematode and by decreasing pest control costs.