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Scientists visits far north for leading research collaboration opportunities

Scientists from Japan and China recently visited Thurso to collaborate with environmental researchers and engineering professionals as part of academic exchange projects.

The Environmental Research Institute based at the University of the Highlands and Islands, North Highland College UHI campus, welcomed scientists from the Wild Bird Society of Japan, the University of Hokkaido and the Nature Conservation Society of Japan. Research fellow, Dr Elizabeth Masden, spearheaded the exchange and shared the ERI’s leading research on the impacts of wind farms and marine plastic litter on birds.

Dr Elizabeth Masden said, “It was a great opportunity to discuss environmental issues which are relevant both to Scotland and Japan and I’m positive about future collaboration opportunities. Onshore and offshore wind energy is rapidly expanding in northern Japan and our visitors were keen to learn about the situation in Scotland and the UK in terms of assessing potential cumulative impacts of increasing numbers of developments.”

On the same day, the North Highland College UHI’s, Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre department welcomed eleven engineering professionals from the Hunan Institute of Engineering in China. Organised by Perth College UHI, the engineering visitors were in Scotland as part of Research Collaboration and Academic Exchange Programme for Advanced Renewable Engineering and also spent time at Lews Castle College UHI and Perth College UHI.

While on their highland trip, they visited various renewable engineering projects such as MeyGen, Nigg Energy Park and observed offshore construction activities for Beatrice Offshore Wind.

Assistant Director for Learning and Teaching and Department Head for Engineering and Technology and the Built Environment, Alan Ogg said, “This was a fantastic staff development opportunity for the Hunan Institute of Engineering Creative Centre for Offshore Wind Power to witness first-hand the construction activities involved in the Beatrice Off-Shore Wind farm.”

Alan continued, “It was also an exciting opportunity for North Highland College UHI engineering teaching staff to engage with their counterparts from China and to demonstrate the innovative teaching methods using various technologies, software and equipment. We now have a member of staff teaching the Hunan students in China and we hope to build on this partnership”.  

The North Highland College UHI, Perth College UHI and Lews Castle College UHI are all academic partners of the University of the Highlands and Islands and offer various engineering courses from national certificate level to honours level.

For more information on the research projects undertaken at the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso, please visit: http://eri.ac.uk