SAGES pools world-leading expertise in geoscience and environmental science from across Scotland’s research base, creating a multi-disciplinary alliance at the forefront of earth and environmental research. We are a partnership between the Universities of Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, Stirling, SAMS UHI, SUERC and the West of Scotland.
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The 2016 SAGES Graduate School Retreat took place at the imposing and remote Burn near Edzell in Angus between the 28th and the 30th of November. We were joined by 10 postgraduate students from across the SAGES partners. Students had a very diverse background with 7 different nationalities including Italy, Ghana, Pakistan, Germany, Brazil, England and Scotland! Research topics ranged from volcanic eruptions under ice to food security in regions of drought. Our research students were welcomed with a wine reception and dinner by Graduate School convenor John Howe who was joined by Prof Frank Rennie from UHI and Peter Redstone and Martin Bloxham from Barefoot Thinking Company.
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The majority of the day was taken up by a fascinating course ‘The Challenge of Science Leadership’ led by the Barefoot team of Peter and Martin. The course involved the introduction of a tool kit of thinking tools such as Thinking Styles, Mind Mapping and Strategic Thinking. Groups were set the challenge of tackling big issues such as reducing childhood obesity and promoting science and technology for children. The day concluded with an entertaining and engaging after dinner talk from Frank Rennie on an ‘unconventional career in geosciences’ Frank told the lively story of his journey through the geosciences from bird watching on the outer Hebrides to Bhutan rural development projects to even escaping a military coup in Nicaragua!
The final day saw the group out in the fresh air of the Glen Esk and a mad dash to the Hill of Rowan capped by the Maule Monument. All too soon the group had to return to the station of Montrose and catch the trains back home.
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The event was a great success with new friends made, new networks established and a promise of further SAGES post graduate events to be announced in 2017.