Scottish Government Blogs

January 27, 2015
by SG Admin
Comments Off

“Should auld acquaintance, unite in song, and upload a video onliiiiiine…”

Emma Pollock - PR & Marketing Manager – International – @emma_catherine

Our national Bard is the topic of conversation for the International Marketing team from November / December onwards as we plan for Burns Night – the final of our trio of Scotland’s Winter Festivals – and it seems that our friends around the world also look ahead to Rabbie’s birthday to brighten up an otherwise gloomy January.

Our Burns Night campaign promotes the influence of the man himself in the present day – from the cultural tradition of Burns Suppers, to the current research projects from the Centre of Glasgow University, our activity encompasses his legacy at home and abroad.

But as Scotland’s Winter Festivals reaches its eighth year, it’s not enough for people to simply be talking all things Rabbie, we want them to sing for their (Burns) supper!

We launched an online challenge for people around the globe to celebrate Robert Burns, with their own version of one of his most famous poems, Auld Lang Syne.  We teamed up with Whisky Kiss to provide a backing track (recorded by P-Diddy’s DJ – fact), and invited our global chums to send in their own videos.  And they certainly did.

Continue Reading →

January 22, 2015
by Fiona Comrie
Comments Off

Food Standards Scotland Board appointed

Maureen Watt, Minister for Public Health, on Tuesday announced the appointment of the board members of Food Standards Scotland. These appointments follow the appointment in November last year of Ross Finnie as Chair of the body. The Board will be working in a ‘shadow’ basis in the run-up to vesting day.

The Board members are Mr George Brechin, Ms Marieke Dwarshuis, Mrs Heather Kelman, Dr Carrie Ruxton, Dr Susan Walker, Dr Anne Maree Wallace, and Ms Louise Welsh.

Ms Watt said:

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of the first board of Food Standards Scotland, and particularly pleased to see that we have attracted such a high number of talented women to these non-executive roles. The appointments bring a range of expertise and backgrounds that demonstrate our commitment to protecting consumers and improving the health of the Scottish public, and will put Food Standards Scotland in a strong position as it establishes itself as a trusted authority that puts science and evidence at the heart of what it does.“

Ross Finnie said:

“I am very pleased that such a strong team has been appointed to the Board of Food Standards Scotland. I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues and although we remain a “Shadow Board” until the new body starts officially on 1 April 2015 we will begin working in the next week or so to ensure that Food Standards Scotland is ready to meet the challenge set out in the Minister’s statement”

For Board member biographies please see the Appointed for Scotland website:


January 21, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
Comments Off

MRV Alba na Mara: Survey 0115A update II

In the past week the west coast sea loch Nephrops TV survey being carried out in Loch Linnhe has been severely hampered by poor weather, resulting in reduced working days on a couple of occasions. The half landing in Oban was brought forward a day to Monday  12th January, optimising the potential for working on the 13th as the forecast looked more favourable for working that day. In addition one day was spent at anchor at Craignure, Mull due to the ongoing gales. The sea conditions prohibited working outside of Loch Linnhe and so habitat mapping, burrow abundance work and comparative trials between the  TV sledge and drop frame were carried out on the days where work could be undertaken. On Saturday 17th the weather turned very cold which resulted in a lot of snow and calm sea conditions, which has provided ideal opportunities to continue with the survey. Despite the difficulties the weather has created, the survey has been progressing well, meeting many of the objectives, gathering a great deal of data about the distribution of the sediment around the loch’s edge and allowed several trials of new equipment  to be undertaken.

MRV Alba na Mara: Survey 0115A Programme

MRV Alba na Mara: Survey 0115A update

January 21, 2015
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
Comments Off

ICES opens ASC Call for papers

Today, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) opens the Call for papers for its Annual Science Conference (ASC) 2015.

ICES Annual Science Conference(ASC), 21–25 September, Copenhagen, Denmark, is an exciting week-long forum that brings the international marine science community together to share innovative science with policymakers and stakeholders. Scientists, policy- and decision-makers, students, and stakeholders are invited to join the discussions on science for sustainable seas.

One of the important and unique features of ICES is its capability to cover the entire spectrum from monitoring to data provision to science and advice. The ASC reflects this range in the 20 theme sessions that will take place at this year’s conference.

Hypoxia, seafloor habitat mapping, basin-scale dynamics, ecosystem monitoring, science-industry partnerships, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), and sustainable approaches to aquaculture are among the topics that welcome abstract submissions.

“ICES relies on coordinated contributions from an international network. As we all work together on the implementation of our Strategic Plan, your participation at the conference is very important. The ICES network is open to all and the ASC represents a great opportunity to strengthen partnerships”, says Yvonne Walther, Chair of the Science Committee within ICES.

Paul Connolly, ICES President continues: “The ASC offers a perfect meeting place for scientists, presenting the latest state-of-the-art knowledge, and policy-managers and stakeholders, who are dependent on this scientific information in their daily work.”

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 April 2015.

To read more about ICES ASC 2015 and abstract submission, visit the ICES ASC website.

For further information, please contact:

Terhi Minkkinen, Communications Officer
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Tel. +45 33 38 67 16

January 21, 2015
by Ruth Allen
Comments Off

Vacancy: Sea Fisheries Programme Manager (Closes 17th February)

We are currently seeking applications for the Sea Fisheries Programme Manager within Marine Scotland Science based at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen.

Sea Fisheries is one of the cornerstones of Scottish life, heritage and coastal communities.  It is of primary interest to both Government (for which our data aids in international negotiations) and the many marine industries which utilise Scottish waters.  The delivery of a sustainable marine ecosystem, including viable fish stocks which can be used for human food, requires a strong evidence base.  We have an exciting opportunity for the Sea Fisheries Programme Manager, based at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen.

January 21, 2015
by Ruth Allen
Comments Off

Erin’s aiming for success in Birmingham

Erin Warner

Erin Warner

In September last year, we told you about Erin Warner from South Uist, who enjoyed a six week placement with Marine Scotland Science (MMS), through the Nuffield Science Bursary Programme.

We’re delighted to be able to share that Erin has been selected to represent Scotland at the Big Bang competition which will be held in Birmingham in March this year.

Good luck, Erin!

More links:



January 16, 2015
by Fiona Comrie
Comments Off

Food (Scotland) Act 2015

The Food (Scotland) Bill to set up a stand-alone food safety, standards and nutrition body in Scotland has passed into law. The Bill had passed through parliamentary scrutiny at Stage 3 of the process on 9th December and received Royal Assent from Her Majesty the Queen on 13th Jan. This step creates the Food (Scotland) Act 2015 and paves the way for Food Standards Scotland as a Legal Entity (we can have our own bank account now!). For more information on the process of receiving Royal Assent, visit the Scottish Parliament website:

Attaining Royal Assent was the final hurdle in the primary legislation process towards a new food body for Scotland and marks the end of a mammoth task for our Bill team, headed by Morris Fraser. The process can seem complex, but there is much comfort in knowing the high-level of scrutiny which Bills are subject to before being passed into law. The smoothness with which the Bill proceeded through the Parliament is a credit to Morris and his colleagues in Scottish Government Legal Directorate.

The race is on now to have Food Standards Scotland ship-shape for vesting day on 1 April 2015. There is still plenty to keep the programme team busy, but the organisation is taking shape before our eyes. Food Standards Agency colleagues in Scotland will move to a new building next month, new contact details will be issued and a new website will launch with Food Standards Scotland on day 1. Keep your eyes on the blog for more information over the next ten weeks!

January 16, 2015
by SG Admin
Comments Off

Healthier eating – it’s easy, right?

Claire Prentice – Senior Marketing Manager – Healthier @clarabelle23

We are all well and truly back to work and Christmas already feels like a (very) distant memory. The only sign of great fun had are credit card bills and a somewhat expanded waistline. So, for many of us, this is the time of year to kick start a new healthy eating plan, stay off the booze, or maybe sign up for a 10k (May is ages away right?).

But is it really that easy to eat more healthily? For many families in Scotland, the answer up until now has been no, not really. There’s a belief that cooking a meal from scratch with fresh ingredients is expensive, complicated and time consuming. Many simply don’t know how to cook or – and I can identify with this one –  struggle with fussy kids at mealtimes. These are just some of the challenges we know that Scotland’s families face. With this in mind, we’ve created our ‘Eat Better Feel Better’ campaign, to help mums and dads shop, cook and eat more healthily. We’ve got a brilliant website packed full of recipes, tips, offers and cook-along videos to support people step-by-step. It’s mobile friendly so handy in the supermarket. Continue Reading →

January 16, 2015
by blog administrator
Comments Off

Represent Scotland on the European and Economic Social Committee (EESC)

An opportunity to join the UK Delegation to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) for its new, five-year mandate starting in October 2015 has arisen. We are now looking for three suitable candidates to recommend to the UK Government.

The EESC is an advisory body to the EU institutions and comprises representatives from each EU Member State. The Committee provides a platform for employers, employees, trade unionists and the Third Sector to express their views on EU issues and legislative proposals to the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Membership of the EESC involves a considerable time commitment. A more active member can devote more than 100 days a year to EESC business, with meetings being held in Brussels. While members do not receive a salary, travelling expenses and a daily allowance for attending meetings are paid.

If you want to apply to be considered for nomination by the Scottish Government, please contact the European Relations Unit ( for an application form. All applications must be completed and returned to the European Relations Unit by 5pm on 23 January 2015.

Applications will be considered according to whether candidates:

  • cover a wide range of interests;
  • have sufficient experience to play an active role in the work of the EESC;
  • represent different social and economic groups; and
  • have close and continuing ties to the areas of activity they represent.

As the Scottish Government is only responsible for nominating 3 of the UK’s 24 representatives to the EESC, it will not be possible to put forward all prospective candidates for membership. You may therefore wish to consider applying directly to the UK Government. Further information about the UK Government EESC nominations process is available here.

Further information about the EESC is available at the EESC website.