Energy is a core research theme at the University of the Highlands & Islands (UHI), and the Energy Research Group (ERG) has been established within the research office to help co-ordinate research activities undertaken across UHI. Our main role is to provide strategic direction and practical support to the energy research activities of the UHI Academic Partners.
Contact us - Email the Research Office
You can view the energy related skills and courses available at the specialst UHI energy centers by clicking on the tab above - UHI energy skills map.
The team is establishing itself to be the focal point for connecting the UHI academic partners involved in research and training in the wide-ranging field of ‘Energy’. The team focus on a range of job tasks around the core objectives of profile raising, capacity building and relationship management. In particular we aim to;
- play a role in helping to plan and co-ordinate renewable energy related activities across UHI and helping UHI partners to win funds for their projects
- help to establish research groups and support their capacity building.
- liaise with HIE and sponsoring universities on energy
- establish an accurate, updated record of UHI activity and expertise
- develop relationships with energy stakeholders across the Highlands and Islands and out with; academic institutions, business and business groups, research institutions, government and non-government organisations and other interested parties
- gather and disseminate intelligence on trends and opportunities for grants and contracts through engagement with industry, academia and government
- promote UHI’s capacities, successes and reputation as an effective supplier and partner.
- organise workshops, seminars and a major biennial conference on renewable energy in the Highlands and Islands.
UHI has the practical hands on experience, the breadth of expertise and the world-class facilities for global delivery to support any energy research or training queries.
The Highland and islands is our campus and if something is happening in the Highlands and Islands, UHI has a presence there. But we’re not a blue sky or ivory tower university. We’re very much an applied university - as well as being at the cutting edge, our research centers are also at the applied stage, engaging with industry and looking at the challenges being faced at the moment, not just in the future.
UHI is home to a number of specialist centers offering access to modern design and manufacturing facilities suitable for a range of business needs. We recognise Computer Aided Design skills are increasingly important as businesses design and develop their own solutions and modify existing products and systems to meet their requirements. As well as training UHI can support rapid prototyping, essential if a full-size physical 3D model is required before manufacturing is carried out. With offshore energy equipment already being manufactured in local yards in Burntisland and Stornoway, manufacturing for challenging environments is a key strength throughout the region. New developments such as the Engineering, Technology, and Energy Centre in Thurso offer a range of specialist skills programmes, and are equipped with some of the most up-to- date energy related systems offering first class hands-on training.
All of this necessitates a close relationships with employers across the region, other universities in Scotland and bodies like Interface to ensure business opportunities do not pass us by and that our students have the opportunity to be involved in R&D projects.
Extensive monitoring of key RSS feeds, websites and news media complements more specialized methods of gathering information such as subscription to the electronic version of Research Professional.
Alongside the research and consulting work we are keenly aware of the needs of the sector - the below mapping gives an indication of where our courses map to the supply chain needs of employers:
As well as operating at the cutting edge of pioneering technology, UHI also leads the way in environmental and sustainable research. We believe this dual approach argues that far from being conflicting concepts, industry and the environment need to work together - "environmental interaction rather than impact".
While industry is very focused on the engineering side – getting ‘metal wet’ – we also look at the environment issues in tandem. If you’re not able to identify the cause of an environmental change people often automatically aportion blame. If you don’t deal with the engineering and environment issues at the same time you can end up with a fantastic piece of engineering but one that doesn’t survive in real situations, or that the communtiy can be hostile towards - you have to tackle these issues at the same time.
Environmental science is not a barrier. Scientists are keen to see renewables work and get the balance right. We need to have all these issues on the radar to meet the Scottish Government targets for 2020 and tackling the issues in tandem is the way to ensure we achieve anything approaching these targets.
UHI has specialst expertise in environmental monitoring, surveying, impact reporting, pipeline planning, risk management, modelling and marine archaeology to help businesses and projects teams realise their ambition.
As the regional university we are working with local industry and businesses to address the energy opportunities and challenges that our region faces, and share the knowledge both locally and globally. With its long history of conventional power generation, complemented by the increasing profusion of renewables generation, the Highlands and Islands are at the forefront of the development of the new energy future.
With change comes the issues of re-training & adaptation and we are well placed to handle this as we operate across the further and higher education spectrum. Our wide area network links our 13 academic partner campuses and their local learning centres. Information technology such as social media, virtual learning environments and high quality video-conferencing, link lecturers with students and students with students. Video-conferencing is central to our delivery model and we use more in one year than the whole of the UK university system. It is a means of preserving a social dimension to learning, whilst linking geographically-separated students in a common social space.
We aspire to create a 365 day university, where learners can journey to their qualification by a variety of routes, and leave with the breadth of expertise needed for today’s multi-disciplined projects being developed across the Highlands and Islands, particularly within the renewable energy sector. Communities need not only education but information to stand any chance of keeping control of their own environment and this needs to be in a local and international context so issues can be fully understood.