Science -- Your Future, Scotland's Future
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Dorothy McMurrich, retiring SCI-FUN Director

SCI-FUN Director retires
after twenty years

John Martin, Deputy Head of the College of Science & Engineering, writes:

After nearly twenty years of service, Dorothy McMurrich has retired from the role of Director of the SCI-FUN Scottish Science & Technology Roadshow with effect from 1 August 2007.  Over this time, Dorothy has built up the organisation from small scale, voluntary beginnings into a professionally delivered roadshow reaching anything up to 100 schools and 20,000 students in a year.  Its principal aim has always been to support and encourage interest in science in schools, particularly at the secondary 2  level when students are making critical course choices which are make or break for future scientific education and/or careers.  We much appreciate the excellent feedback which SCI-FUN receives from teachers and students and we take it as a significant measure of Dorothy’s success that something like 80% of host schools request return visits.  Her commitment to SCI-FUN has been remarkable and she has fought for the interests of SCI-FUN with great determination.  I believe the sectors concerned with science outreach, both for schools and the wider public engagement agenda, have every reason to be grateful to Dorothy for her energetic commitment over many years.

In recent years a serious mismatch has developed between the strong levels of demand for SCI-FUN and the funding support that we have been able to raise.  Eventually, the widening deficit has reached a level that the University of Edinburgh is no longer able to sustain alone.  Recognising the broad benefits of SCI-FUN to science education in Scotland, we have initiated discussions with the Scottish Executive and a number of other organisations to establish whether a new consortium model can be created to provide support for secondary science, building on the inspiration of SCI-FUN and of other outreach activities offered by members of the consortium.  If this plan is successful, it will create a successor to SCI-FUN which may involve significant changes in the way the activity is managed, but with the potential to offer even more varied and exciting programmes.

This change of gear may be regarded as a natural break-point in the life of SCI-FUN, and the sort of time when management changes can most naturally occur.  Dorothy has undoubtedly “done her bit” for SCI-FUN and it is now time for others to take up the reins.   Although her role with SCI-FUN has ceased, she has indicated a keen interest in the future of “her baby” and a willingness to help in any way she can with the transitional arrangements.

The role of Director of SCI-FUN will now pass to the previous Deputy Director, Brian Cameron.  Brian will lead the team activity for the 2007/8 session which will run from October 2007 to March 2008.  The experienced team will include Peter Reid as Development Officer, Stuart Dunbar as Roadshow Manager and Mark Reynolds as Technician, together with two new Science Presenters to be appointed shortly.

I’m sure that our friends and colleagues in schools will be interested in the progress of discussions on future arrangements which may follow on from the current SCI-FUN, and we will endeavour to keep you all in touch as matters develop.

Likewise I’m sure that friends and colleagues will join me in thanking Dorothy for all her efforts and in offering her every good wish for, as she put it herself, “the start to the rest of my life”.
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