Scotland’s International Environment Centre Annual Review 2023

Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC) is a pioneering collaboration established as part of the £214 million Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal. By creating an ‘innovation community’ in the Forth Valley, SIEC is pioneering the development of a net zero regional economy and acting as a global exemplar of low-carbon growth.

Our annual review reflects SIEC’s highlights and key achievements from 2023.

From the air view of Forth Valley and Clackmannanshire


Concluding its second year, Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC) is making headway in its mission to pioneer innovative responses to the global climate emergency, as an enabler of productivity and inclusive growth. Funded as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, SIEC is working in partnership with communities, industry, and policymakers to position the Forth Valley as a global exemplar of a Net Zero economic region.

To succeed, we need to do things differently; collaborating in new ways to leave an indelible legacy within our communities. Instilling this culture shift is no easy feat but its success will empower the next generation with the skills and mindset to respond to the challenges of a climate-changed world.

I was greatly encouraged by the creative ideas put forward by participants of SIEC’s Young Pathfinders 2023 Climate Competition. The winning submission, from Ben Moore and Ross McInally at Alloa Academy, was rightly celebrated in the Scottish Parliament as the sort of inspired thinking that’s needed, and I look forward to seeing further imaginative proposals from the programme’s third cohort.

That creative challenge is also at the heart of thinking behind the Futures Institute at Dollar Academy (FIDA), a pioneering new approach to learning - open to all schoolchildren in Scotland - which the University of Stirling will help to develop thanks to a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the school and SIEC. Together with our MoU with Developing Young Workforce, the first progressive procurement agreement of its kind as part of any City Region Deal in Scotland, SIEC is demonstrating how by working together, we can foster genuinely inclusive opportunities for employability and skills development.

Climate change remains one of the world’s most pressing problems, requiring a host of solutions from groundbreaking research to practical business support. That’s why SIEC is working in partnership with the Scottish Business Climate Collaboration to deliver free net zero training for businesses in Stirling, using funding leveraged from the UK Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund through Stirling Council, while University of Stirling researchers continue to drive forward the world-leading systems that will catalyse a just transition, including SIEC’s flagship Scotland Hydro Nation Chair and Forth-ERA projects.

As 2023 drew to a close, local authority leaders across the Forth Valley planted some of the first trees of the Forth Climate Forest, a SIEC-hosted initiative that will facilitate the planting of around 16.4 million new trees within the next decade. The new trees will help prevent the extremes of flooding and temperatures, purify our air, and absorb carbon from the atmosphere, delivering long-term ecological, climate and social benefits across Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Falkirk.

Taken together, these projects are laying the foundations for SIEC’s aspiration to make the Forth Valley an international exemplar of inclusive, low-carbon growth. We look forward to building on this progress to deliver increasing benefits for our communities and stakeholders in the years to come.

Dr John Rogers, Executive Director of Research, Innovation, and Business Engagement
University of Stirling

A Year in Numbers

Highlights of 2023

Our research, innovation, and partnerships

Net zero support for business: supporting businesses in the region to set and achieve their Net Zero goals.

Forth Environmental Resilience Array: developing catchment-wide data modelling to enable low carbon opportunities.

Young Pathfinders: equipping the next generation to thrive in a climate-changed world.

Scotland’s Hydro Nation Chair: Bringing Scotland’s water sector together to drive #NetZero.

Forth Valley Connectivity Commission: unlocking access to jobs, learning and services through enhanced transport provision.

Forth Climate Forest: supporting ecology, sustainability and wellbeing through planting 16.4 million. new trees.

DANUBIUS Implementation Phase: demonstrating how modelling river-sea continuums can support adaptation and resilience to climate change.

MOT4Rivers: exploring how pollution and climate change are impacting freshwater ecosystems

MERLIN: transforming ecosystem restoration through mainstreaming nature-based solutions