Stirling welcomes international delegations

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The University of Stirling welcomed two international delegations to campus last week, coinciding with the launch of Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC).

The University hosted members of a global research not-for-profit organisation, as well as partners in forestLAB – an international research hub – as the SIEC was officially launched at Forth Valley College in Alloa, on Thursday, November 11, 2021.

Atree delegation meets the Principal and other university figures

L- R Dr Vagelis Spyrakos, Dr Lee Zhuang, Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Dr Nitin Pandit, Karishma Shelar and Dr Jen Dickie

Director of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Dr Nitin Pandit, and senior policy analyst Karishma Shelar were met by Stirling Principal, Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, and Executive Director of Internationalisation and Partnerships, Dr Lee Zhuang, as well as colleagues from the division of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

Dr Zhuang said: “We were delighted to be able to invite the ATREE delegation over to Stirling for a long overdue meeting, postponed from 2019. 

“In its interdisciplinary approach to research, as well as its focus on conservation and sustainability, ATREE complements Stirling’s drive to tackle pressing ecological and environmental issues in partnership and across disciplines.

“We were pleased to discuss several areas of potential research collaboration: in water quality, energy, natural resource management and biodiversity, as well as equality issues, green issues and housing.”

forestLAN delegation with University dignatories at the SIEC launch

L-R Professor Sir Gerry McCormac; Professor Kate Abernethy; Professor Alfred Ngomanda; Dr. Aurélie Flore Koumba Pambo; Dr John Rogers, Executive Director of Research, Innovation and Business Engagement at the University of Stirling, at the launch of the SIEC

Also visiting the University campus, before attending the launch of the SIEC, were members of forestLAB – a flagship SIEC project.

Launched in collaboration with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (London School of Economics) and the African Conservation Development Group (ACDG), forestLAB will provide policymakers, investors and development practitioners with the data and tools required to create world-class models of natural ecosystems management that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. 

forestLAB builds on the University of Stirling’s long partnership with researchers and policy makers in the central African country of Gabon, and its research lead is the Faculty of Natural Science’s Professor Kate Abernethy. She welcomed the director of Gabon’s national research centre CENAREST, Professor Alfred Ngomanda, and the Gabon Ambassador to the UN for Climate Change Dr Aurélie Flore Koumba Pambo, alongside the Head of Biological and Environmental Sciences (BES), Dr Kirsty Park.

Professor Abernethy said: “After over 40 years of collaborative research, this is the first time we have welcomed a high-level delegation from Gabon to our campus in Stirling. It was wonderful to see so many synergies between our shared goals for the new forestLAB initiative and the other research and teaching that is going on in SIEC and in BES.”

Dr Park added: “We all have high hopes for reinforcing future staff and student exchange opportunities and building forestLAB into the future.”

Part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, the SIEC is a collaboration that will create an innovation community in the Forth Valley and act as a global exemplar of low-carbon growth.

Find out more about Scotland’s International Environment Centre