Dundee University Numero Uno

Bonnie Dundee

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is one of the top universities in Europe for research.

And according to the most recent assessment, Dundee is the No 1 University for quality of research in Biological Sciences.

More recent assessments place Dundee 39th in the whole wide World as judged by ‘citations-per-paper’.

‘The State of Innovation’ report by Clarivate Analytics ranks Dundee this year, as the most influential scientific research institution in the world for pharmaceuticals for 2006-16.

With all this under it’s wee belt, The University of Dundee can be very proud of itself.





I too am very proud – 3 of my children are past and present students of this innovative university. Jake studied Mechanical Engineering, graduating with a First this year. He had started Architecture at Robert Gordon University, in Aberdeen. Then part way through 2nd year decided to switch to engineering – with no qualifications in physics and not having studied maths for over 3 years. It was a hard slog for him but he dug deep and he did it.

Graduation 2017 University of Dundee














Iona studied Mental Health Nursing (she switched to mental health from general adult nursing in her first year and hasn’t looked back). Iona firmly believes that the excellent training she received from Grant and others in the Mental Health Nursing team has helped her to cope with the demands of her present job in West London. In West London, resources are scarce – much worse than in Scotland. Thank goodness that health is a devolved matter and the NHS in Scotland is in better shape than England … for now. Recent feedback from the doctor in charge of her department validates the valuable skills learnt by Iona at Dundee. He said other nurses on the ward should bring their standards up to Iona’s level.  A favourable reflection on Iona and on Iona’s training.

Graduation 2016














Alannah is studying biological sciences. She started Dundee Uni full of beans. At the start of 3rd year something wasn’t right. she was tired and seemed to have a series of colds and flu one after the other.  Her studies were affected. Her netball and basketball had ground to a halt. Eventually her extreme fatigue was investigated after a large lump was visible in her neck. Glandular Fever was diagnosed after a week or two of blood tests then awaiting the results.

The University was very supportive. Dr Land in particular ensured that Alannah was granted leave to withdraw temporarily.

A whole year on (this time last year was the actual diagnosis), and Alannah is almost back to her old self. Yes it’s taken a year. For months my poor child lived on the sofa, wraithe-like, remote from her normal world, losing touch with friends and reality. This bundle of joyous dynamite couldn’t even walk 100 metres up the road. Compare this to the athlete that trained for 2 university teams, as well as the weekly matches … AND strength and conditioning training in between times and the dichotomy is even more stark.

Fast forward and here she is studying for the 3rd year exams (oh and she changed course to neuroscience/biomedical science after re-starting 3rd year). She is getting up at 6.30am and revising solidly through until after I’ve gone to bed. She will only take 5 minute breaks except for the times when she hits a wall and has to go out for a (half mile) walk to clear the head. She is pale and tired but determined .. and anxious, and worried and swings between thinking she’s doing ok to thinking she’s going to fail. But she is amazing.

Alannah came into Perth with me the other day to pick something up. she brought her notes to read in the car. As we were walking to Debenhams, she was reading her notes. as we were waiting to pick up the package, she was reading her notes. She brings her notes to the table at meal times. She reminds me of me when I was studying Philosophy at St Andrews … intense.

There is a double edges sword here. While I’m proud of how hard she’s working, there comes a time, usually at bedtime when Alannah wants to teach me all she’s learnt that day. Let me tell you, it is not a recommended pre-sleep ritual.  I am being taught all about neuro-transmitters, de-polarisation, glucose, glucagon, pre-synaptic this and post synaptic that … I was a nurse and a midwife in a past life, so I am familiar with many of the terms she is using to teach me what she has learnt. Her teaching sessions are peppered with, …”and the really cool thing about this amino acid is …”

and “… it’s amazing how one tiny molecule is responsible for … how cool is that?”

Anyway, regardless of any festive frenzy elsewhere, there will be no putting up of the Christmas tree until the last exam, which is on Monday 11th. Then Christmas can begin for her and for us. If she doesn’t do well in these exams it will not be for want of studying.

Dundee University Netball Team













Not forgetting my eldest child, Shannon who has been self-supporting since she was 18. Shannon hasn’t been down the university route (yet). A combination of lack of support at school, combined with her urge to get away from Perth and explore. So at the ripe old age of 26 (soon to be 27) she has lived in Edinburgh, New Zealand and now Vancouver. In between she’s travelled extensively in Asia and beyond. So she’s doing her thing.

Shannon in Vancouver










This post is nothing to do with holiday accommodation or tourism. I just needed to get a few things off my chest.

The take home message is:

I am not a smug parent, and I do not normally go on about how amazing my kids are. I make no apology here.

Thank you to Dundee University – a brilliant seat of learning

Life Sciences at Dundee are the dogs bollocks

Tay Railbridge