European student of the year finalist

Zoology graduate Eleanor Paish

Zoology graduate Eleanor Paish

12 September 2013

Aberystwyth Zoology graduate Eleanor Paish is a Biology Student of the Year finalist in the 2013 European Science Engineering & Technology (SET) Awards.

More than 500 students were nominated for the award from across Europe and Eleanor is one of only three selected to enter the final round.

The SET awards provide a showcase for educational excellence by publicly recognising the exceptional achievements of both students and universities. They are presented at a spectacular ceremony bringing together hundreds of technology students and academics, as well as senior figures from industry, government, science and the media.

Eleanor who graduated top of her IBERS class in zoology this summer, investigated how groups of animals make decisions: the “wisdom of crowds”.

Using tropical fish, she asked how one fish passes information to another – and how a group of fish decides what to do.  She is now planning to publish her findings.

“Eleanor is an excellent ambassador for the biosciences and has done extremely well to make the finals - I am delighted at her success” said Dr Rupert Marshall, Lecturer in Animal Behaviour at IBERS, who supervised Eleanor’s project and nominated her for the Award.

“Eleanor’s achievement reflects the quality of research-led teaching in zoology at Aberystwyth University – I wish her the very best of luck in the final”.

Zoology is one of the most popular degree schemes in the Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences at Aberystwyth (IBERS). All IBERS students have an opportunity to conduct a research project in their final year.

Eleanor’s short video introducing her research can be seen on YouTube and has already attracted over 100 views - did you know that fish can have personalities? Watch the video here:

Eleanor now faces an interview by a panel of experts in London at the end of September, followed by the winner being announced at a glittering awards dinner.

Aberystwyth University’s aquarium is just one of the facilities that will be available to visit at the upcoming Open Days on 14 September and 19 & 26 October.

The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University, was established in April 2008 following the merger of IGER ( Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research), formerly part of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with Aberystwyth University. IBERS continues to receive strategic investment for research from the BBSRC and benefits from financial support from the Welsh Government, DEFRA and the European Union.

Around 350 research, teaching and support staff conduct basic, strategic and applied research in biology from the level of genes and other molecules to the impact of climate change and bio-energy on sustainable agriculture and land use.