Interview with new Physics and Astronomy Head of School – Professor Jim Dunlop

Prof Jim Dunlop

As he starts his appointment of Head of School, we chatted to Prof Jim Dunlop about his vision for the School, his early career ambitions (which were far from physics!), and his advice for students.

By Luke Mitchell and Caroline Keir


Taking on the role of Head of School brings with it a whole host of challenges that he is wary of, yet eager to tackle head on. A twin focus will be improving the student and staff experience. “For students this will include improving facilities and creating a sense of community.  For staff it will be working to remove unnecessary administration so that they  can focus more on research and teaching, and to allocate more time to students.” He is also keenly aware of the importance communication plays in leading the School’s work towards a unified goal “it is important to ensure students and staff understand why we are doing what we are doing.” Continue reading “Interview with new Physics and Astronomy Head of School – Professor Jim Dunlop”

Gaining transferrable skills in order to prosper

Students who are involved in running Prosper

Duncan Harris, 4th year Physics & Music student, shares his experience with student run social finance fund, Prosper.


Going into the third year of my Physics and Music degree I began to look for ways to use the skills I had been learning on my course for something beyond the realm of quantum mechanics. A friend pointed me in the direction of Prosper Social Finance, I applied to join and have been involved ever since.

Prosper is the UK’s first student run social finance fund, started by some students here at Edinburgh a couple of years ago. We take on student analysts and train them in the fundamentals of financial analysis, stock markets and sustainability assessment methods whilst they research companies who might be suitable for our fund. This culminates in a stock pitch to our panel of industry experts who select the best stocks to invest in with money from the University. We invest with a longer term view, holding our investments for 5 years after which we sell and take any of the profits and distribute them to social enterprises and charities in Edinburgh.

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Make your voice heard

Students chatting over a table

If you want to get a broader understanding of how universities work, have ideas for improvement, and are a good communicator, then you might be interested in becoming a Student Representative.

Student Representatives (or ‘Reps’) gather views from fellow students on various aspects of studies and University life in general. They communicate this feedback to staff members, suggest solutions, and where possible, work together with staff to bring about change.

Continue reading “Make your voice heard”