Awards that reward

For us and our donors the most rewarding aspect of SIET’s work is the achievements of the awardees.

From excellence in need they make the change to excellence in the world.

And, invariably, the talented people we give to give something back, be it socially, culturally or scientifically.

Here are just a few examples.

From excellence in need they make the change to excellence in the world.

“I owe a very large debt of thanks to the Trust for assisting me in my studies and career progression”

Mark Blyth

Political Scientist

The William R. Rhodes '57 Professor of International Economics; The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University, USA

"The Trust transformed my life. I graduated from Strathclyde University in 1990 and was admitted to Columbia University in NYC for my PhD the following year. I was awarded my fees but was given no stipend for living expenses. The Trust stepped into that breech and helped finance my first year of studies. I then picked up internal funding and never looked back.

From a Dundee council house to the Ivy League is possible. But what made it actual was the faith placed in my abilities by the Trust, for which I am forever grateful."

Carol McLeod

Forensic Scientist

Lead Scientist for Sexual Offences at SPA Forensic Services. Currently working with the CMO Taskforce which was created to drive forward improvements in the Forensic Medical services provided for victims of rape and sexual assault in Scotland.

“I owe so much to the SIET. I have a career that I am passionate about and can never thank them enough for allowing me to take the first step on that path."

"My ambition, since I was 12 years old, was to be a Forensic Scientist after watching a TV programme about a murder that was solved by blood pattern analysis.

In 1996 I was delighted to be accepted onto the MSc Forensic Science course at Strathclyde University. I applied to the SIET for help in paying towards my course fees. This meant I could go on to achieve the qualification vital to getting a job interview. It also afforded me the opportunity to do a four month placement in the Marion County Forensic laboratory in Indianapolis.

I started my career in 1998 when I was employed by the then Strathclyde Police Forensic laboratory and have never looked back.”

Tobias Wojciechowski, PhD

Senior Scientists, Institute for Bio- and Geosciences (Plant Sciences), Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

"The Scottish International Education Trust enabled me to visit American Society Plant Biologists (ASPB) in Seattle in 2005. This international conference was my first, introducing me to the wider scientific plant community and subsequently creating the foundation of my international career.

After finishing my PhD at the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) and the University of Reading, I became a postdoctoral research fellow at Purdue University, Indiana, USA.
Currently, I work as a senior researcher at a multidisciplinary research centre with 6,000 employees in Germany focussing on roots of tropical and temperate cereals, as well as cassava - an important storage root in tropical regions.

My international career is still reflected in past and current agricultural projects in the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia. I am a guest lecturer at the King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) and am going to take up guest scientist position at the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) in Thailand this year."

"It is wonderful that SIET is still ongoing and providing these fantastic, and often life changing opportunities for people from all walks and areas of life.”

Cecilia Weston

Conductor of award winning film scores

Cecilia’s conducting career has seen her span genres and disciplines. She has become known particularly for her work in the film world, including many award winning Hollywood scores, thanks to her close working collaboration with the composer Craig Armstrong, OBE. She has always been passionate about the extraordinary transformative capacity of music, and to this end is involved in many projects as Educator, both in the UK and in Europe, with all age groups.

Cecilia received a grant in the late 1990’s after a rare invitation from Maestro Claudio Abbado, to observe/study conducting under his wing with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, for two months.

“The award I received from SIET came at a pivotal moment in my conducting career. I had been lucky enough to have won several scholarships to study with the legendary Ilya Musin at the St Petersburg Conservatoire and with other famous teachers/conductors, but the opportunity to observe first hand with possibly the most celebrated and respected conductor of his generation, was to be a profound learning experience and springboard for my development, not only as a musician but as a human being.  What an eye opener and life changing experience, to learn about the workings of a great orchestra, and also to assimilate how a truly great artist shares and communicates through the language of conducting - facilitating the beauty and magic of music - but also the multi-faceted other skills involved in such a role.

It is wonderful that SIET is still ongoing and providing these fantastic, and often life changing opportunities for people from all walks and areas of life.”

“I’m very aware of the SIET and appreciated what you did for me all those years ago, as my family had nothing, not even the money to buy me a saxophone.”

Professor, Dr. Tommy Smith, OBE, DMus, DUniv, DLitt, hon FRIAS


“I’m very aware of the SIET and appreciated what you did for me all those years ago, as my family had nothing, not even the money to buy me a saxophone (that came from the Prince’s Trust) so thank you again.

In 1995 he formed the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and oversaw its development into an international class ensemble. Then, recognising that Scotland was producing an outstanding
crop of young jazz musicians, he formed the Tommy Smith Youth Jazz Orchestra in 2002, and in 2009 founded the first National Jazz Degree Programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 

“ The award that I received from SIET came at a critical time in my development as a composer.”

Tom Harrold


When Tom first contacted SIET in 2014 his stated aim was “to become one of the leading composers of my generation”.

With an award from the Trust he was helped to take a Masters in Composition at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Today he is an award winning Scottish composer whose music has been performed worldwide.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra describes him as “one of Scotland’s most important living composers.”

“The award that I received from SIET came at a critical time in my development as a composer. I was just finishing my undergraduate degree at the Royal Northern College of Music, and whilst I was enjoying success as a composer, I knew that I had to continue onto a Masters degree to get two more years of performances, teaching and other invaluable opportunities offered by a conservatoire course. I am sure that had I not continued onto the Masters degree, I would not be doing what I am today so I am indebted to SIET for their generous and crucial financial support.”

Marsaili Fraser

After graduating with a First Class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University in 1998, Marsaili spent a year of postgraduate study in Budapest, Hungary, with support from the SIET, graduating with distinction from the Central European University.

“The grant from SIET helped finance a fascinating and life-changing year studying nationalism and ethnic politics with students and faculty from across former Communist Europe and Central Asia. During that year, the conflict in Kosovo was raging and I first visited Bosnia, a country recovering from a dreadful war that western powers had allowed to happen. Later, I went on to work for organisations implementing the peace agreement in Bosnia, including the EU’s diplomatic service.

I’m very grateful for the Trust’s support. SIET’s mission to support Scottish students to study abroad is more important now than ever as Brexit denies countless students the opportunity to participate in the Erasmus study abroad programme”.

Catherine Marshall

Renewable Energy Consultant and Purchasing Manager, France

“The SIET helped with the funding, laying the foundations of what I am and do today; contracting plant & equipment for utility scale renewable energy projects and making them competitive with traditional forms of energy.”

"The SIET helped me with a lightbulb moment.  After graduating in 2000 from the University of Strathclyde in Mechanical Engineering and starting a career in automotive in the UK, I realised I wanted to contribute to reducing society's carbon emissions by helping to develop renewable energy.  In 2002 I took a year out to complete a European Master in Renewable Energy, organised by the Association of European Renewable Energy Research Centers (EUREC).  This was a semester each of studying in Nice, France and Athens, Greece, followed by an internship with a renewable energy developer in Avignon, France. 

I was so grateful for the help from SIET and am still fortunate to work at the same company in France, having learned (and I hope contributed) so much along the way.  I now have a young Franco-Scottish family who I also hope to encourage to learn in different cultures.  Thank you SIET."

Colin Brown, Head of Unit,  Legal aspects of trade and sustainable development and investment, Directorate General for Trade, European Commission; Guest Lecturer (European External Economic Relations Law), Law School, University of Edinburgh.

“Without that funding it is unlikely that I would have been able to take up that opportunity. I am therefore very conscious of the difference an award from the Trust can make to a recipient’s life.”


“The award from SIET came at a crucial moment for me. It allowed me to study for an LLM in European Law at the College of Europe in Bruges. Without the support of SIET those studies would have been impossible. They opened the door for my career at the European Commission, where I have played, over the past 20 years, a part in developing EU trade policy. SIET’s support for European studies is something which I think is key, given the relevance of the EU for Scotland, whatever the form that takes, and something which I hope can be continued for the future”.

James Chalmers Regius Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow

James received funding from the Scottish International Education Trust towards the cost of studying for a master’s degree in the United States in 1998-99 at a critical time in his educational development.

“Without that funding it is unlikely that I would have been able to take up that opportunity. I would most likely never have begun an academic career, much less reached the position I now hold. I am therefore very conscious of the difference which an award from the Trust can make to a recipient’s life.”