Giving back to support the future of others

Published on 14 July 2023

Scholarships and bursaries are a lifeline for many students who struggle financially during their academic careers. Thanks to the generosity of alumni like David Peattie, students at the University can access these life-changing opportunities.

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David Peattie

“It's really important for me to give back to the University that gave me so much. The University of Dundee transformed my life through the education and the skills that I learned there,” David explained.

David studied Mechanical Engineering and Economics at the University in the 1970s before going on to a successful career in engineering. “I started the David Peattie Bursary because I wanted to help undergraduate students from challenging backgrounds living in Scotland to access an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering,” he continued.

David recently extended his support to launch the David Peattie Prize, which is open to all final-year undergraduate students studying Biomedical, Civil or Mechanical Engineering.

“For the last six years, I've been the head of the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, responsible for cleaning up 17 of our former civil nuclear sites around the UK, in Wales, England and Scotland. I’m especially keen to see student honours projects that strongly contribute to sustainable development,” he said.

Kaine Bisset was awarded the first David Peattie Prize in 2022. “Winning was both greatly encouraging and satisfying because it made all the time and effort spent working on my honours project so worthwhile. The award

has a permanent place on my CV and will remain one of the best parts of my university career.”

Students receiving the David Peattie Bursary or Prize also have opportunities for mentoring support, where David shares his valuable knowledge and expertise. And he is keen to share his experiences with students more widely.

“In November 2022, I returned to campus for the first time since I graduated in 1976 to give a guest lecture to students at the School of Science and Engineering as part of the Industrial Seminar Series. It took place in the lecture theatre where I once sat as a student over 50 years ago!” he said.

David was presented with The Bridge Alumni Award for Outstanding Support of Fundraising at his lecture. The award recognises his generosity and commitment to supporting students at the University and was presented by the Dean of Science and Engineering, Professor José Fiadeiro.

David said of the award, “It was a wonderful honour and a great privilege to be the recipient of the award because of its recognition of my small contribution to help students who are in a similar situation to that which I was in all those years ago.”

“The bursary has really helped with my studies. I have four young children at home and have had to work part-time whilst studying. The bursary enabled me to take some unpaid leave during exam times to allow me to focus on studying.”

Joseph Fordyce David Peattie Bursary recipient

Joe Fordyce in graduation gown stood next to pillar outside caird hall

Joseph Fordyce

David's time at Dundee

“When I was leaving school, I was very keen to study both engineering and economics. The University of Dundee was one of the very few universities in the whole of the UK that offered a joint honours degree in both engineering and economics, and that's why I chose Dundee.

“As well as the excellent education I received, I have to say the mid-70s was a wonderful time for music and the music scene was as vibrant in Dundee as it was across many other UK cities. So, the bands, the music, the people I got to see as a student in the mid-70s were unforgettable and gave me some of my happiest memories of all my life.”

Kaine Bisset and his mum stood outside Caird hall on Graduation day

Kaine Bisset and his mum stood outside Caird hall on Graduation day

Story category Alumni