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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Kenny MacAskill full of praise for Dundee’s state-of-art forensic lab

August 1 2013

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has hailed the Dundee forensic science laboratory as one of the best in the world. Speaking during a visit to the site at West Victoria Dock, he said: “Forensic services are a crucial part of the fight against crime in Scotland as criminal investigation becomes ever-more sophisticated. “This state-of-the-art laboratory is one of the best in the world and provides an excellent facility for Scottish Police Authority staff to carry out investigations and analysis to the very highest standard.” The Dundee lab, where almost 100 forensic experts are based, is essential to the delivery of justice across Scotland, he added. The justice secretary, who earlier visited Dundee Sheriff Court, was welcomed by Tom Nelson, director of the forensic service. The laboratory was Scotland’s first purpose-built forensic science laboratory in almost 15 years, and it had to modernise to meet the national needs of Scottish policing and procurator fiscals. “Scottish policing wanted greater consistency and resilience to provide fast results in day-to-day volume crimes such as house breaking and car crime, as well as expert support on less common serious and violent crime,” Mr Nelson said. Dundee’s new High Volume Processing Unit, which dedicated laboratory resources to volume crime cases, has produced significant results. Now 95% of DNA samples are being processed in less than 20 days, up from 80% in 2012. The director said this provides quicker intelligence results for the police in their investigation of crimes that affect the majority of the public. He continued: “This is an exciting time for Forensic Services in Scotland. “We are investing almost £6 million on new equipment that will be used to improve our service delivery and resilience and will put us at the cutting edge of forensic science in the UK.” He said every scene examiner in Scotland will now have a rugged toughbook to record key information at an examination site, which can then be viewed by the scientists back in the lab. “By maximising the benefits of this new technology we can provide rapid results to our customers, increasing their potential of identifying the perpetrator of a crime quicker.”


VIDEO: Abertay University unveils state-of-the-art labs

May 30 2017

A  set of £3.5 million science laboratories has been unveiled at Dundee's  Abertay University. The labs have four distinct areas to support the teaching and research of the school of science, engineering and technology, which also includes forensics and biomedical sciences. The facilities, boasting Scotland's only 'food consumer experience', were officially opened by Professor Dame Anne Glover, an honorary graduate of the university. She said: "This is a wonderful refurbished building, which is for teaching and research around food and drink, forensics and other areas. "Its been beautifully designed and I think it will be very inspiring for both students and teachers." The consumer experience lab is  made up of 12 climatically controlled booths for the sensory analysis of food. In addition to providing a teaching and learning space, the labs will also be able to support external business projects such as food testing and product development. A preparation and serving room is linked to a kitchen, while a waiting room can be used for consumer experience testing, student tutorials and small group working. Meanwhile, a large teaching area with two labs will be used by forensic science and biomedical science divisions. Professor Carl Schaschke, head of the school of science, engineering and technology, said: "I am delighted that our new laboratories have been designed to place our current and our future students at the forefront of cutting-edge science and technology. "The opening of these labs coincides with the results of the latest Guardian league tables out just two weeks ago that places our food and drink programmes as the top in Scotland and ninth overall in the UK. "In addition to being used by our undergraduate and postgraduate students, the labs have been designed to enable our staff to work in partnership with business." As well as work areas, the new labs include a relaxed social area with an 84-inch screen and seating.


Dundee University aims to create more than 1,000 jobs as part of Tay Cities Deal

April 13 2018

The City of Discovery could become a world leader in forensic science under ambitious plans put forward by Dundee University as part of the Tay Cities Deal. UK and Scottish Government ministers are expected to sign off on the £1.8 billion package within a matter of weeks. The investment is expected to bring thousands of new jobs to Dundee and the surrounding area over the next decade. Around 50 projects were included in the Tay Cities Deal bid document. Although most of the focus has been on the development of decommissioning in Dundee, The Courier can now reveal details of  ambitious proposals by Dundee University that would see more than 1,000 new posts created in life sciences and forensic medicine on the back of more than £100 million of investment. Bosses are seeking £64 million to grow the city's biomedical cluster, creating around 400 new scientific or medical technology-related jobs as well as another 240 in the construction sector. If granted, the money would pay for new business incubation space as well as a new floor at the elective diagnostic and treatment centre at Ninewells Hospital. This would provide space for an integrated healthcare simulation training and MedTech innovation facility. The university is also asking for £43 million to capitalise on its UK-leading forensic science sector. The JustTech programme aims to turn Dundee into a world-leader in forensic science, creating around 500 new jobs over 10 years. A supporting document produced by the university states: "The project leverages our burgeoning reputation in forensic science research to create a new economic cluster doer the Tay Cities Region. "Operating in a fast growing global sector and with ever wider translational opportunities we will harness the economic benefits of new knowledge, working with start-ups, SMEs and corporations. "This will be a unique opportunity to create from the ground floor a new model for the translation of research into a myriad of new technological applications with global impact." It continues: "The global market in traditional forensic science provision has more than doubled since 2012 and will reach an estimated £19 billion by 2020. "Forensic science research and development at the University of Dundee is poised to step onto the global stage." The University also anticipates the development of the forensic science sector will attract new investment to Tayside. A Dundee University spokesman said: "The Tay Cities Deal has the potential to attract significant investment and create new jobs here at the University of Dundee.” A 20-year economic strategy and the Tay Cities Deal bid document were submitted to the UK and Scottish Governments in March last year. It is estimated up to 10,000 jobs could be created by the Tay Cities Deal if all its proposals succeed.  


Abertay students craft seaweed beer and fava bean vodka to mark new £3.5m science labs

May 25 2017

Abertay University students made seaweed beer and fava bean vodka as the institution  prepares to unveil  new £3.5m science labs, which will be used for the development of food and drink. Next week the university will officially open the new facilities, to be used by their division of food and drink - named best in Scotland by the Guardian Good University Guide 2018. The investment includes the only consumer experience laboratory in Scotland to provide industry-quality climatically controlled booths for sensory analysis of food. Fourth year student Kirstie McKillop has already taken advantage of the new labs to carry out testing of her seaweed-infused beer. The 26-year-old, who is studying Food and Consumer Science, said: “I’m using the new labs to do some sensory evaluation and cut my product down to the most popular type of beer. “I’m really pleased with how it’s going and it’s great to have access to such modern facilities.” Fellow fourth year Fiona Park’s final year project to make a distilled spirit out lentils, peas and fava beans was inspired by sustainability. The 21-year-old from Glasgow said: “I’m trying to focus on the use of sustainable raw materials that are better for the environment and legumes don’t need the same fertilizers used for more traditional sources like potatoes.” "Abertay sets you up so well because you cover, food, law, marketing and lots of other subjects, so you get so much great experience to pull from that can be used in any industry. Classmate Emma Webber, 21, is keen to break into food writing and has already been part of a team that wrote recipes for the BBC Good Food Magazine and This Morning TV show. She used the lab’s specialist lighting function to test participants comparing crisps. She said: “There are five different brands, all of them ready salted, and I’m looking at the whole process from the type of potato, the variety each brand uses and the thickness and texture. “Participants gave feedback and try to guess which crisps are being used.” The new labs will also be used for Abertay's Biomedical and Forensic Science courses.


Forensic lab puts Dundee at forefront of high-tech crime fighting

June 13 2010

The new £23.3 million police forensics lab in Dundee was officially opened on June 7, providing class-leading facilities for more than 130 crime analysis specialists. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill launched the five-storey Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) centre, which will be used by over 100 forensic science experts and 30 IT staff. The building is on the city's modern Dundee One site, near the Apex Hotel and the City Quay shopping and flats development. Boasting the latest in crime-fighting technology, the centre features a photographic studio, chemistry, biology and drugs labs, fingerprint and scene examination units, a DNA robot and the Scottish DNA database. The staff have been moved from Tayside Police headquarters on Bell Street, which had become unfit for purpose. The centre has been named Rushton Court after the late Dr Donald Rushton, a pioneering forensic pathologist and one of the first to introduce the techniques to police work in Dundee. Mr MacAskill said the building would assist in the "crucial role" played by the SPSA in tackling crime in Scotland. "I am proud of the excellent work done by SPSA's expert forensic scientists," he said. "Scotland's forensic scientists are at the forefront of new techniques in the use of DNA to identify individuals and provide the police with leads to investigate. "DNA is a fantastic tool which can solve crimes of all levels. It is more important than ever that we provide these scientists with the tools and facilities they need to support police forces across the length and breadth of Scotland." Mr MacAskill toured the building with director of forensics services Tom Nelson and SPSA convener Vic Emery.AdaptableMr Nelson said, "For years our forensic science experts have been working in spaces that were cramped and overcrowded. "The new facility provides our experts with a bespoke working environment that fits their specific needs but is also adaptable to changing demands." Dr Rushton's widow Gillian Rushton was at a ceremony on level four of the building, where Mr MacAskill unveiled a plaque to open the centre. She said, "I think the naming of the building is most appropriate as he did bring forensic science to Dundee. "But it is important to mention he had a very good team working alongside him." All of the labs have air pressure controls to minimise the risk of contamination, and environmental conditions will be monitored to support the temperature-sensitive equipment. A section has been provided for scientists to carry out blood spatter experiments, allowing them to reconstruct events establishing possible "crime story" patterns. Specialist rooms are included for the examination of large items like doors and vehicles. They are fitted with black magnetic walls and infrared lighting, making possible detailed examination that would not be available at a crime scene. A wet examination room lets fingerprints be analysed on plastics, while general search labs are included for body fluid and DNA work. Staff at the centre explained it will now be possible to deal with two major crime incidents while keeping day-to-day work going.The Courier was given exclusive access to the labs. To read our impressions click here, and to view a photo tour of the building click here.


Dundee University develops cutting-edge forensic toolkit

October 10 2015

Crime scene detectives are to benefit from an award-winning new forensic toolkit that can determine the age of fingerprints and detect traces of steel on bone. The development from Dundee University has been deemed so cutting edge that the students who worked on it were awarded a gold medal at the finals of an international competition in Boston. Members of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team designed the ground-breaking kit to also include a biosensitive spray that can reveal traces of bodily fluids. The iGEM contest is a world-renowned challenge which asks students from top universities to tackle a real world problem by designing and building a new device or system from biological parts. Despite advances in forensic science spawning numerous high profile TV shows and movies very few techniques with a sound scientific basis have been brought forward in the last 30 years. It is hoped the toolkit which had the input of world-leading researchers working at the University’s Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification will now be picked up to improve efficiency when detecting and analysing evidence. Niamh Nic Daeid, Professor of Forensic Science said: “This is a fantastic project and the great benefit for the forensic community, apart from tackling some important challenges, is that the project is starting out with a strong scientific foundation and building the applications from there, whereas in many contemporary forensic science methods the science is still lacking behind the applications. “We need to develop a stronger scientific base across much of forensic science and this is an important contribution.” The Dundee iGEM team has a strong record of success in the competition, having won a succession of prizes in recent years. They will show off their work and discuss its possible impact at the latest Caf Science in the city on Monday. The free event at Avery & Co, 34 South Tay Street starts at 7pm.


Dundee University to offer postgraduate degree in crime fiction

June 5 2017

Dundee University is to offer a new course that will provide budding crime writers with hands on training in forensic science. The MLitt in crime writing and forensic investigation course will not only explore crime fiction, but help writers achieve greater verisimilitude by teaching them about the history of forensic science and its application today, both when solving crimes and as evidence in court. The course will being in September this year and is being run as a collaboration between the university's School of Humanities and its world-leading Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification. Dr Aliki Varvogli, an expert on contemporary American fiction and the crime genre at Dundee University, said: "From the School of Humanities students there will be a course on creative writing that every creative writing student has to do and a second called Dissecting Writing specifically about the forensic crime novel. "Then there are courses on the history of detective work and the development of forensic investigation. People will learn about how they did things in the 19th century, in India, the US and elsewhere. “In the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification they will take a course where they will learn about forensic science and one of the most exciting things is they will learn about how forensic evidence is used in a court of law and how witnesses are called.” Dr Varvogli added the success of writers like Ian Rankin and Val McDermid has created more interest in crime fiction in Scotland than ever before. She said : “Crime fiction is the most popular genre in Scotland and the most borrowed books from libraries are crime novels.” And she said that like science fiction, the crime genre is becoming more accepted as serious literature by critics. Award-winning writers like Paul Auster have used genre tropes while Marlon James’ sprawling crime novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, which focuses on the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in Kingston, won the Booker Prize. “These distinctions (between genres) no longer matter," she said. The new course will be officially launched on June 14 with a seminar in the university's Dalhousie Building. As well as introducing the new course, the event also welcomes Professor Ian Burney (director of the Centre for the History of Science Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester) to talk about his recent book Murder and the Making of English CSI, and Dr Nicholas Duvall from Edinburgh University, who will respond to Professor Burney’s talk and discuss the Scottish perspective on crime and fiction. Dundee University has pioneered a number of unusual courses. In 2011, it broke new ground when it offered the UK’s first Masters degree in comics, building on “strong local traditions” in the comic book industry.


Cash boost for Dundee Science Centre

October 14 2014

Thousands of pounds is to be pumped into the Dundee Science Centre by the UK Government, The Courier can reveal. The educational site was the only science centre in the country to be awarded a grant of £40,000. The money will be used to fund a special community outreach programme designed to introduce adults to forensic science through the medium of murder mystery. Dundee’s world-leading Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification are helping organise the programme in conjunction with Strathclyde’s Centre for Forensic Science. Dundee University’s Professor Sue Black, said: “There were over 200 applications for these grants and there were two project grants given to Scotland and Dundee is the only science centre that was successful. “It is a real coup and they have done a tremendous job. “It is very exciting,” she added. Professor Niamh Nic Daeid has designed the murder mystery experience to turn people into budding “Miss Marples”. She said: “What we are looking to do is create a series of events over six weeks and those events are based loosely on a narrative of a murder mystery. “The different activities planned will engage the participants in various aspects of forensic science. “We want to make the science non-threatening by doing an explanation of the real-life aspects of the science. “But we will do it in a way that gets engagement from the participants because they have to use that information to solve the mystery.” Participants will get the chance to learn about DNA evidence and fingerprinting, and how those things can be used in murder investigations, Professor Nic Daeid said. “The way in which the six weeks are being planned out with our colleagues in the science centre is that the participants will find out about the circumstances behind the murder. “They will then get information and a workshop on fingerprints how to gather them and use them as well as an opportunity to try gathering their own. “They will use that to narrow down the pool of suspects they have been given. DNA will be treated in a similar way with participants getting the chance to learn about DNA and take their own samples before the case is moved to a trial.” Laura Wilkie, festivals and development manager at the Dundee Science Centre, said she was delighted to have been awarded the funds and to be working with the two universities. She said: “We are very excited to work with Sue and her team and hope that the course, which is designed to develop skills, knowledge, confidence and team building as well as raising the profile of local scientific developments, will be a great opportunity for different adults in Dundee and Fife.” She added that any adults interested in taking part in the project, which starts next month, should contact the science centre.

Business news

Michelin Dundee holds an Inspiring Females event for secondary school pupils

October 27 2017

Michelin Dundee held its fourth annual Inspiring Females event at its Baldovie Road site today. Youngsters from eight secondary schools in Dundee will meet successful women from the worlds of forensic science, law, the emergency services, as well as the NHS and healthcare. Students were able to listen and talk to a host of role models including Alison Henderson, CEO of the Dundee and Angus Chamber, Laura McDowall, lawyer and partner at Blackadders and Dr Lucina Hackman, a forensic scientist. The event was aimed at encouraging young girls to think about their future careers and be inspired by the successful women who live and work locally.