Marine, Environmental Science and Engineering
The University of the Highlands and Islands is at the forefront of research into climate change, marine science, and renewable energy, with much of our work addressing the social, cultural and environmental impacts of development. Below is a summary of some of the areas we are involved in, with links to the relevant pages for more detail on the work of our researchers.
At our Centre for Mountain Studies, based at Perth College UHI, an international group of scientists is undertaking research in Scotland, Europe, and at the global level. A major focus is on policies for sustainable mountain development, and providing the evidence base for these. The centre hosts the UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Mountain Development and its world-class research underpins the MSc Managing Sustainable Mountain Development.
Marine environment research is the focus for the Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI (SAMS UHI) in Oban, where 90% of research was judged to be 'internationally recognised' in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). SAMS UHI scientists are working on a range of projects within four departments: ecology; biogeochemistry and earth science; microbial and molecular; and physics, sea ice and technology. The Environmental Research Institute (ERI) also works in this area focussing on; renewable energy, it's impacts on the marine environment; Tidal resource & wave climate assessment; tidal stream monitoring and modelling; Currents, sedimentation and associated ecological change. NAFC Marine Centre UHI is conducting research in fisheries science to contribute to the assessment, management and sustainable harvesting of important marine species, commercially important finfish and shellfish species, marine planning, policy and advice.
The Environmental Research Institute (ERI), based at North Highland College UHI in Thurso, is involved in research to address environmental issues and advance understanding of the sustainable use of the earth's natural resources. ERI's research priorities include: renewable energy; climate change; ecology; biogeochemistry; emerging contaminants; biotechnology; and bio resources. renewable energy - it's impacts on the marine environment; Tidal resource & wave climate assessment; ecology; emerging contaminants; tidal stream monitoring and modelling; Currents, sedimentation and associated ecological change.
The university is uniquely placed to make an important contribution to global research into new energy sources. Located in an environment that boasts internationally important landscapes and seascapes, and can be considered the primary European geography for renewable energy developments. The university has world-class facilities and multi-disciplinary research teams who are focusing on, and providing solutions to, the big energy challenges of our time. Our research teams have a special depth of understanding of the key issues surrounding the interface between energy generation and natural environments; be they marine, coastal or terrestrial.
The Agronomy Institute at Orkney College UHI provides a research facility for the development of plants and plant-based products, focusing particularly on the Highlands, Western Isles and Northern Isles. The institute has a wide portfolio of research covering: cereals; biomass for fuel crops; plants for high value extracts; fruits and berries; and biodiversity.
We have an impressive track-record of collaboration with commercial companies which includes distilleries, bakeries, watermills, breweries, a wine company, pharmaceutical and natural products companies, a housing association and a seed company. As a result of commercialisation activities with several of these companies, the Institute also has experience of developing and managing supply chains.
Rivers and Lochs Institute
The based at Inverness College UHI, the Rivers and Lochs Institute works to develop integrated, multidisciplinary research projects to more rapidly advance understanding of Scottish freshwater ecosystem and to research the nature and extent of freshwater biodiversity in lochs and rivers in Scotland. We work with local rivers trusts, fisheries boards, landowners, industry and the public sector to provide scientific support to managers to protect and conserve biodiversity conservation and ensure its exploitation is sustainable.
NAFC Marine Centre UHI is conducting research in fisheries science to contribute to the assessment, management and sustainable harvesting of important marine species, commercially important finfish and shellfish species. Marine Planning, Policy and Advice Section is relevant to how resources are utilised within regulatory frameworks and environmental impacts. NAFCMC is the site and lead partner in the collaborative, a project testing the commercial viability of a mussel hatchery in Scotland.
Aquaculture; sustainability, welfare, environment and stock improvement
With research centres across the North and West coasts of Scotland, we are at the centre of the aquaculture industry with facilities and expertise directly on the water’s edge, enabling us to be very responsive to the needs of industry. We undertake interdisciplinary research covering stock health and welfare, sustainable aquafeeds, environment-aquaculture interface, stock improvement and management, socio-economic linkages and diversification of aquaculture practices.
UHI staff and students (sign-on required) can access a series of short seminars by MESE cluster researchers Professor Stuart Cunningham, Cathy Winterton and Dr. Mikey Ross.