A LEADING Scottish university is to expand the work of its renowned centre for the study of terrorism after a donation of more than £1 million.

St Andrews University in Fife said the move followed a financial gift from the Worldwide Support for Development (WSD), chaired by Japanese philanthropist Dr Haruhisa Handa.

The university said the research unit will take on the name of its benefactor, becoming the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence.

The money will expand the work of the centre and provide bursaries for less well off students.

The centre is Europe's oldest for the study of terrorism and for almost 20 years has led a programme which conducts analysis of terrorism and other forms of political violence.

St Andrews principal, Professor Louise Richardson, said: "This is a generous and far-sighted gift which will expand the work of the centre and help us continue to bring the brightest students and scholars to St Andrews, regardless of economic circumstance.

"Terrorism is a complex and fast evolving phenomenon which affects lives all over the world. It has never been more important to invest in the highest quality of research in order to understand and counter the threat and enhance human security.

"Dr Handa's contribution ensures St Andrews and Scotland will continue to be pre-eminent in this field of research."

The donation is a further boost to a £100m philanthropic fundraising campaign, launched by the university to mark its 600th anniversary in 2013.

The centre will stage a major conference in Scotland, attended by the world's leading scholars in terrorism and political violence.

The research unit has 23 permanent and honorary academic research staff and 17 PhD students.