RSE Saltire Early Career Fellowship

Wednesday 12 January 2022

In November 2021, The Royal Society of Edinburgh, in collaboration with the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish Government, announced the successful awardees of the RSE Saltire Early Career Fellowships.  

The purpose of this award is to provide PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and Early Career Researchers with a 3-12 month opportunity to focus on a research project of their choice in a university or research institute in another country, thereby supporting career development and high-quality research production through European connections and collaboration via inbound/outbound research placements. 

The University was delighted to note that four early career researchers and four PhD students based at St Andrews were among recipients of this highly competitive programme. The following awardees have benefitted from a RSE Saltire Early Career Fellowship and have shared their thoughts:

Dr Fiona Macfarlane – Research Fellow, School of Mathematics and Statistics: 

I am very grateful to have been awarded an RSE Saltire Early Career Fellowship to research “Multiscale mathematical modelling of spatial eco-evolutionary cancer dynamics” in collaboration with researchers within the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the Politecnico di Torino in Italy. Growing tumours consist of cell populations that may exhibit a variety of phenotypes allowing for invasive traits to be selected, resulting in evolution of the tumour and potential resistance to treatment. We aim to develop mathematical models to describe these growth and selection processes to help us understand further the potential mechanisms that underpin the progression of the disease and to identify potential targets for treatment.”



Mary Abed Al Ahad – PhD candidate in Geography, School of Geography and Sustainable Development

“Hello, I am Mary Abed Al Ahad, a 3rd year PhD student in Geography at the University of St Andrews and one of the RSE Saltire Early Career Fellowship awardees. I applied for the fellowship to spend a 3-month research stay at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany. I intend to carry out research on the effect of air pollution on hospital admissions and GP visits in the UK by ethnicity and nativity and produce an article to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. I am very excited to start my fellowship in end of March 2022 and looking forward for the networking, research, and communication skills that will be offered to me as part of this exchange fellowship at the Max Planck Institute.”




Dr Stephanie O’Rourke – Senior Lecturer in Art History (Specialising in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art): 

“The Saltire Early Career Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh allows me to build a new collaborative partnership with historians and scientists at UCC in Ireland. Together, we are working on a project to enhance people’s understanding of the history of the southern Irish landscape and its potential future in a period of climate crisis. It’s an exciting opportunity to learn from colleagues in Cork and to forge research links between Ireland and Scotland that I hope will last many years.”




Dr Craig Smeaton – Research Fellow, School of Geography and Sustainable Development:  

“I am excited to begin my RSE fellowship at the world leading Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany. While in Germany I will be working with Prof. Gesine Mollenhauer to understand the lateral transport of organic carbon across Scottish fjord sediments using state of the art compound specific radiocarbon analysis which is currently not possible in the UK. By improving our understanding of the lateral transport of organic carbon we will be able to better constrain the role these sediments play in the global carbon cycle and how they may aid in long-term global climate regulation.”



More information about the RSE Saltire Early Career Fellowship can be found here

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