Aberdeen academics recognised for multi-million pound contribution to local economy

The key role played by seven University of Aberdeen academics in adding millions of pounds to the local economy was recognised at an awards ceremony hosted by VisitAberdeenshire.

The group were among the Aberdeen Ambassador Network winners celebrated for bringing business visitors to the city.

Between them they organised seven of 15 conferences held in Aberdeen in 2017 credited for adding a combined total of £2.5million to the local economy.

University winners include John Scrimgeour, Director of the Aberdeen Institute of Energy, who was recognised for his contribution for the second year running, this time for the Collaboration in Oil & Gas Conference, Professor John Watson who developed the Subsea Digital Holographic Camera and brought experts in oceanography to the city and Professor David Lurie who organised the IDentIFY (Improving Diagnosis by Fast Field-Cycling MRI) conference to promote the development of research around the technology.

University Chaplain Reverend David Hutchinson received the award for facilitating the 2017 Conference of European University Chaplains, as did Professor Tim Ingold, Chair in Social Anthropology, who secured the 11th University of the Arctic Rectors Forum and Conference for the city, Professor James Prosser, Chair in Molecular & Cell Biology, who organised the 14th Symposium on Bacterial Genetics and Ecology and Professor Lora Heisler, Chair in Human Nutrition who led the Neurobiology of Obesity Symposium.

The Aberdeen Ambassador Network is designed to encourage and support professionals and academics to bring high-profile conferences to the region. It works in partnership with Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and the James Hutton Institute. The event was hosted by broadcaster Kirstin Gove.

Graeme Mackay, ambassador programme executive of VisitAberdeenshire said: “2017 has been one of the strongest years yet for the Aberdeen Ambassador Network which is fantastic. We have worked with a variety of conference organisers from many different industries which demonstrates the strength of our ambassador programme and our conference facilities in Aberdeen, but we still have the capacity to grow the network further, and this can only be achieved through engaging with our local academics and business leaders.

“There is an association for nearly everything, and we’re fortunate to have distinguished universities that specialise in medical science and research here on our doorstep, while our buoyant business sector has an array of thought-leaders which range from chartered accountants and engineers to haulage and farming. These are all industries which we have a strong representative in, and we should, as a region, be doing more to highlight our UK and global contribution to these individual industries by hosting conferences here in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

Laurie Scott, head of the Aberdeen Convention Bureau at VisitAberdeenshire said: “The work the Ambassador Network is delivering is important to the local economy as business visitors are among the highest spenders of any type of visitor, and through hosting these events we can attract large groups of delegates to the region.

Nikki Pearce, from the University of Aberdeen, said: “It’s great to see so many of our own Ambassadors rewarded for their efforts in bringing events to the city; CPD Services have worked with a range of the awardees from both Universities over the last year providing event management support, and I’m delighted the Network are able to recognise their efforts. 

“Aberdeen Ambassadors Network provides support for those involved in bidding for and organising these events and we are always keen to encourage others to consider bringing an event here.”