£3.5m project aims to make Scotland a leading hydro nation

SCOTTISH Water and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) have teamed up to appoint The University of Stirling to lead a £3.5 million project to make Scotland a global leader in water research.

The initiative, which is funded by Scottish Water, has been tipped to be a catalyst for academic research and innovation led by the newly-created post of The Scotland Hydro Nation Chair.

The Chair, hosted by the University of Stirling, will provide the leadership to forge partnerships to deliver solutions for sustainable water management.

Scottish Water said the university’s leadership and research expertise will play a pivotal role in the Hydro Nation partnership, supporting Scotland’s aim to transition to a net zero economy. It was chosen following a competitive bid process involving a number of Scottish universities.

Funding to support the Hydro Nation Chair in Water post and its associated activities will be spread over six years from April 2021.

Professor Maggie Cusack, dean of the faculty of natural sciences at the University of Stirling, said, “We are proud to be host institution for Chair of this partnership that will use the expertise, technologies, services, and natural opportunities present in Scotland to attract new investment and position the country as a world-leading Hydro Nation. That ambition can only be achieved by bringing the research community together with industry, regulators, and citizens.

“By transforming our relationship with the environment and through responsible commercial leadership, the Hydro Nation partnership can improve health and wellbeing, support economic development, and tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies. The role it has in promoting a green recovery can be a global exemplar of best practice for sustainable water management.”

George Ponton, head of research and innovation at Scottish Water, added, “Scottish Water’s strategic plan has set challenging objectives to go beyond net zero emissions, deliver service excellence and great value for our customers. The Scotland Hydro Nation Chair will provide thought leadership and research excellence from across the academic sector to enable the transformation required to meet these ambitions. This is a great opportunity to build on the great reputation that the Scottish research community has and for Scotland to become internationally recognised as a leader in water research and innovation.”