AN American couple have donated 225,000 US dollars (£171,000) to studies focused on Robert Burns.

Frank and Susan Shaw, from Atlanta, Georgia, gave the cash to Glasgow University's Centre for Robert Burns Studies. 

The couple fund a scholarship at the institution and this donation is the latest in a series of financial gifts to the university. 

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The couple said: "We are lucky to have built a great friendship with the team at the Centre for Robert Burns Studies.

"It has been wonderful to be part of supporting the great scholarship and educational excellence of the work being undertaken on Burns in Glasgow.

"Our latest gift seeks to support the continued research excellence in this field and help ensure new scholars in Burns studies are also supported in their work."

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Shaw, who runs a website on Scotland's national bard titled Robert Burns Lives!, maintains a keen interest in his Scottish heritage.

The healthcare company owner can trace his ancestry to Jura and is a past president of the St Andrews Society of Atlanta.

His wife is a former corporate secretary at the Coca-Cola Company.

Professor Gerard Carruthers, co-director of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies, said: "The huge generosity of the Shaw family enables both support for younger scholars and the advancement of cutting-edge research in Burns."