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Student-Led Think Tank Celebrates First Publication

Founded in 2022, the Political Institute of Action Research (PIAR) is a fairly new “student-run think-tank” started by Svenja Schulz and Hayden Siratt. They aim to provide St Andrews students with the opportunity to research specific issues close to them, St Andrews, and Fife and recommend policy consequent to their findings. PIAR has three aims: research, charity, and careers offering volunteering and fundraising opportunities and bridging the gap between academia and the private and public sector. 


Over the Martinmas semester, research teams completed five reports covering a range of important issues. On 9 February they celebrated their first publication.


The first report was titled ‘The Future of Academia: The Convergence of AI and the Modern Classroom.’ Here, the team investigated the best means of incorporating ever-evolving AI into classrooms and assessments while accounting for ethical and societal concerns. This paper concludes by recommending “a balanced approach” and consistent evaluation of the capacities of AI.


‘Covid-19 University Experiences: Coping, Resilience, and Burnout. ‘A University of St Andrews Case Study.’’ was the next report. This study demonstrates the necessity of resources to effectively assist students, advocating for policy changes at government and institutional levels.


The third study was headed ‘Museums Without Borders: A Preliminary Exploration into the Concept of Peripheral Museums and their Accessibility.’ Differing in its preliminary nature from the other reports, this study does not issue recommendations but still has some fascinating insights into the diverse narratives, community engagement strategies, and socio-cultural impacts of smaller, less funded, and less touristic museums.


Additionally, PIAR published ‘Mapping the Impacts of Socio-Economic Background on Sport Participation: ‘A University of St Andrews Case Study.’’ This report recommends solutions and targeted interventions to their conclusion that socio-economic background does influence student motivation and ability to participate in sports.


Finally, in the publication was “Raising the Green Standard: Evaluating the University of St Andrews’ Sustainability Measures.” By contrasting the University’s sustainability measures with those of other universities, this research team came to three clear recommendations.


These fascinating reports, each edited by Nina Harbison, and a strong sense of teamwork and accomplishment were celebrated at The Rusacks on 9 February. PIAR, deservedly, received massive congratulations to everyone involved and the think-tank anticipates further success with its future publications. Illustration by Lauren McAndrew


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