St Andrews VIP Conference 2023-24, Semester One

May Norwood
Tuesday 13 February 2024

This semester’s VIP conference took place on the 13th of November 2023 at Upper and Lower College Hall, St Salvator’s Quadrangle, one of the most iconic locations in the University of St Andrews. Surrounded by impressive historical buildings, the many Vertically Integrated Project teams came together to share their work. The theme for this conference was sustainability, a topic we care about deeply in the Dolphin Acoustics VIP, as we know working towards a sustainable future will require responsible management of our oceans.

The conference was opened by VIP Director and Dolphin Acoustics supervisor Dr Julie Oswald, followed by two guest speakers. The first was Derek Watson, CEO of St Andrews Innovation, who spoke about the steps the University is taking towards sustainability, especially with flagship projects at Eden Campus. It was inspiring to hear about the concrete, practical measures the University is putting in place to reduce carbon emissions, ahead of government targets. The next speaker was Dr Gosia Mitka, associate Dean of Education in Arts and Divinity, who spoke about the importance of sustainability from an Arts perspective. As we in the Dolphin Acoustics VIP are all from Biology, Maths, and Computer Science, it was especially interesting to hear Dr Mitka’s talk and move beyond a solely science-focused view of sustainability.

After the talks, there was an ice-breaker activity which involved a sustainability-themed bingo. This activity was great for talking to people from other VIPs and learning how they and their projects relate to environmental issues. After the ice-breaker, we moved downstairs for the lunch and poster session. Lunch was vegan bento boxes in reusable containers. It was excellent to circulate and see the wide array of posters on display. All the VIPs have creative approaches to sharing their work, and seeing the colourful posters and reading about the other VIPs was very engaging.

Once everyone had eaten and had a chance to see all the posters, we moved back upstairs for the student presentations. All the presentation groups had thought deeply about the theme of sustainability, and this was reflected in the excellent array of talks.

VIP members Ayam Babu, May Norwood, and Jeen Riemer De Vries giving the Dolphin Acoustics presentation.

Finally, Dame Sally Mapstone, Principal of the University, came to present the poster prizes. We were so grateful to the Principal for taking the time to participate in the conference; it shows the value the university places in our VIPs. Congratulations to the first place winners Looking After Eden and Housing in St Andrews, and the runners up Biodiversity Literacy and the Mutual Aid Clinic. The quality of posters was very high and the prizes were well deserved! We look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for the next conference.


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