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Innovation is the answer to making net zero a reality, Minister hears

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Derek Mackay MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, with professor Gerry McCormac, Principal of the University of Stirling

A senior Scottish Government minister has heard how University of Stirling research and innovation can help realise the Scottish Government’s target of net zero emissions.

Derek Mackay MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, heard how Scotland’s International Environment Centre will pioneer the approaches necessary to achieve economic growth that is both sustainable and inclusive.

Mr Mackay visited the University at the beginning of Scottish Climate Week, which will see a programme of events raising awareness of positive actions being taking to address the global climate emergency.

Funded through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, Scotland’s International Environment Centre will transform the relationship between environmental management, policy making and business, positioning the protection and enhancement of natural resources as a driver of clean, inclusive growth.

A coherent programme of activity will establish the Forth Valley as a national and global exemplar that demonstrates how the transition to zero carbon emissions can be achieved at regional scale. The programme will include establishing a full catchment, river and estuary monitoring array using in-situ, airborne and satellite sensor technologies linked to real-time, high speed data processing. This will provide a unique facility for system scale environmental management and regulation, with multiple business, policy and public uses.

To ensure that the opportunities created are accessible to all, the programme will prioritise the creation of an innovative skills ecosystem to equip current and future generations for the demands of a zero carbon economy, delivered through strategic partnership between the University and Forth Valley College.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said:

“The climate emergency is one of the most significant global challenges that we face. Fresh thinking and innovation is required if we are to make an effective transition to carbon neutral way of life.

“Scotland’s International Environment Centre is a key part of the solution, developing the economic, policy and regulatory responses to unlock economic growth that is both inclusive and sustainable”.

Announced in May 2018, the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal – funded by the Scottish and UK Governments – will unlock the potential to drive economic growth, well-being, productivity and prosperity.

The Deal provides £22 million for Scotland’s International Environment Centre, alongside £17 million for an Aquaculture Innovation Hub, placing research and innovation at the heart of efforts to ensure the world has a secure, sustainable supply of food.


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