Stirling professor appointed Scotland Hydro Nation Chair

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Loch Leven

A University of Stirling professor has been appointed as Scotland Hydro Nation Chair – which will see him lead a £3.5 million initiative to position the country as a global leader in water research.

Andrew Tyler, a Professor of Environmental Science in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, will lead the new initiative – a partnership involving Scottish Water and the Scottish Funding Council – which will act as a catalyst for academic research and innovation.

Funded by Scottish Water, the Chair will lead the creation of collaborative partnerships across the sector, to deliver solutions for sustainable water management in Scotland – an area that Professor Tyler has been working and conducting research in for many years. Notably, Professor Tyler is currently leading the multi-million-pound Forth Environmental Resilience Array project – a partnership between the University and BT Group to create a “living laboratory” to capture, process and share environmental data from across Forth Valley using EE’s 5G network.

Professor Andrew Tyler

Professor Andrew Tyler has been appointed Scotland Hydro Nation Chair.

George Ponton, Head of Research and Innovation at Scottish Water, said: “We are delighted that Professor Andrew Tyler has been appointed as the Scotland Hydro Nation Chair. Professor Tyler’s excellent work in establishing the Forth Environmental Resilience Array demonstrates the scale and ambition that the chair position requires. We look forward to working closely with him in building the research and innovation programme to enable delivery of our strategic ambitions and to enhance the reputation and impact of Scotland’s water research capabilities.”

Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “The University is incredibly proud to be chosen as the host institution for the Scotland Hydro Nation Chair and Professor Andrew Tyler is the ideal person to take this project forward – the University congratulates him on this prestigious appointment.

“Professor Tyler has vast experience, knowledge and expertise from working and conducting research in this area – and will be pivotal in bringing together researchers, industry, regulators and citizens to promote Scotland as a global leader in water research, tackle the climate emergency, and promote a green recovery.”

Research expertise

The University’s leadership and research expertise will play a key role in the Hydro Nation partnership, supporting the ambitions for Scotland to transition to a net zero economy.

The Hydro Nation Chair will complement the existing relevant research and innovation initiatives and infrastructure in Scotland and play a leading role in maximising Scotland’s academic water impact, international reputation and engagement with wider sectors to deliver the knowledge and capability required to enable transformative change and to attain net zero carbon emissions by 2040. New research and innovation will include the recycling of waste-water and consider ways of enhancing the natural environment. Importantly, it will also work towards ensuring that people across Scotland will continue to enjoy access to high-quality drinking water.

The announcement comes just days after Professor Tyler was elected as a Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, which recognises leading thinkers and experts from Scotland and across the world whose work has a significant impact on our nation.

Best practice

Professor Tyler said: “I feel deeply honoured to be appointed to this new and unique role and look forward to working with Scottish Water, the Scottish Funding Council and partners across Scotland and beyond to develop relationships and encourage new investment with a view to enhancing technology, research and innovation relating to sustainable water management.

“The Hydro Nation partnership can improve health and wellbeing, support economic development and tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies, while promoting a green recovery that can become a global exemplar of best practice for sustainable water management.”

The University of Stirling was chosen to host the Scotland Hydro Nation Chair following a competitive bid process involving a number of Scottish universities. Funding to support the position, and its associated activities, will be spread over six years from April 2021, in the first instance. An open and transparent recruitment process was undertaken to appoint the Chair.

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