The University of Aberdeen is in the running for two awards at the upcoming Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards, which celebrate high-impact collaborations between academia, business, and policymakers.
Among those nominated as finalists are top climate scientist Pete Smith, who has been nominated as a finalist in the Knowledge Exchange Champion category, and Ed Blissitt, who is in the running for the Innovator of the Future Award.
Ed, who works for Motive Offshore Group Ltd based in Banff, has been nominated as a result of his involvement in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Dr Andy Starkey from the University’s School of Engineering, resulting in the development of a new product that has led to significant benefits to the business.
The product, which has been integrated into Motive’s next generation winch design to form the company’s first SmartWinch, is a novel data acquisition system which is capable of monitoring over 50 parameters in real-time, including wire length and tension. The system, which is unique to the offshore engineering industry, has played a key role in digitalising the company, resulting in a substantial growth in value. Its development has led to the company committing to the full digitalisation of all its products, as well as a host of other benefits including the creation of an innovation centre.
The KTP leading to the development of the SmartWinch technology has recently been awarded an ‘Outstanding’ rating by Innovate UK, the UK's Innovation Agency – the highest possible award.
Professor Pete Smith’s nomination comes as a result of his role in advising policymakers as part of First Minister’s Environmental Council, and as Science Director at Scotland’s ClimateXChange, which connects climate change research with Scottish policy needs across key challenge areas, as well as leading authorship roles for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
His roles in Scotland have included advising on key aspects of Scotland’s post-pandemic green recovery plan, energy strategy, and climate change adaptation programme, among other related national programmes.
Professor Smith, who is Professor of Soils and Global Change at the University’s Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, was a founding developer of the Cool Farm Tool, an online calculator which helps farmers calculate and tackle carbon emissions and which is used by tens of thousands of farmers and dozens of companies worldwide.
Professor Marion Campbell, Vice-Principal of Research at the University of Aberdeen, commented:
“These nominations underline the strength of our academic partnerships with business and with policy and demonstrate the results that can be achieved through these valuable collaborations.
“Through our knowledge transfer partnerships the University is making a real contribution to economic life in the north-east of Scotland and beyond, while our internationally renowned scientists are using their expertise to directly inform Scotland’s approach to climate change.
“I congratulate Pete Smith and Ed Blissitt on their nominations and wish them all the best for the finals on March 23.”