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Appointment marks significant milestone for new Energy Futures Research Centre

A major step forward has been taken in the creation of a new Aberdeen based research centre which will play a crucial role in solving the national energy crisis.

Professor Hicham Idriss Professor Hicham Idriss has been appointed as Chair of the new Energy Futures Research Centre, that will conduct research into renewables and clean energy resources with a view to developing future alternative fuel supplies and sources.

Professor Idriss' appointment marks a significant milestone in the establishment of the facility that is jointly funded by the University of Aberdeen, The Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen City Council.

Formerly an Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of Auckland, New Zealand, where he was also a member of the Presidential Energy Panel of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Professor Idriss held previous positions in SABIC Industrial Complex for Research and Development and at the universities of Delaware and Illinois (Urbana) in the USA.  He has also worked with the 2007 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Professor Gerhard Ertl, at the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin.

He brings his internationally renowned research expertise in catalysis and surface science, to his role as Chair of the centre, which will significantly strengthen and complement the research capacities of the two universities within the area of renewable energy technologies. 

Professor Paul Mitchell Director of the College's Institute for Energy Technologies, University of Aberdeen and one of the Directors of the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) said: "The new Energy Futures Research Centre will focus on vital research into renewable and clean energy sources such as solar, marine and wind power and biofuels.  Further strengthening Aberdeen's position as the global energy capital, the aim of the centre is to develop alternative sources of clean energy in line with the government's energy research commitment which aims towards a low carbon future. 

"As Chair of the new centre, Professor Idriss will play a crucial role in driving forward the development of this project.  His strong knowledge within the area of renewable energy will be invaluable to the progression of what has the potential to become a world leading centre, bringing together an extremely high calibre of expertise from within both the University of Aberdeen and The Robert Gordon University."

Professor Peter Robertson, Vice-Principal for Research and Commercialisation at RGU and Director of AREG, said: "The appointment of Professor Idriss will heighten the renewables agenda in Aberdeen maintaining the city's international profile in energy sustainability research. I welcome the leadership of Aberdeen City Council in establishing this forward looking collaboration between the Council and the two universities."

£700,000 has been contributed to cover the first three years of the project, with Aberdeen City Council providing half of the funding from the Energising Aberdeen Fund.  The fund is part of the Energising Aberdeen programme, created to implement the recommendations of the Building Better Cities review conducted by the former Scottish Executive, which identified the economic, social and cultural importance of Scotland's main cities to national life. Both universities have contributed equally to the remainder of the funding.  AREG, an innovative private-public partnership set up to help identify and promote renewable energy opportunities in the Aberdeen city and shire region, played a key role in brokering the collaboration.  

Leader of Aberdeen City Council Cllr Kate Dean said: "The City of Aberdeen is delighted to support and welcome the key appointment of Professor Idriss and the establishment of an Energy Futures Research Centre.    This will see both Universities in Aberdeen working together on the future challenges and research themes which will enable renewable energy solutions to move into the mainstream."

PHOTO/INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: Professor Hicham Idriss is available for photo and interview opportunities today at the Fraser Noble Building, King's College Campus, University of Aberdeen.  Please contact Kelly Cromar, Communications Office on 01224 272960 to arrange.



Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Thursday 11th of September 2008

Ref: 241energychair
Contact: Kelly Cromar

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